This year, a new batch was welcomed in the growing family. Most of the 2017 graduates also made sure to be present in the last day of the camp.

It was July 25-27, 2017 when we witnessed another three exhausting but fun-filled learning days at the annual Shell-PhilDev Leadership Camp for scholars. This year, a new batch was welcomed in the growing family. Most of the 2017 graduates also made sure to be present in the last day of the camp.

There were new speakers, new topics, and new activities introduced. A number of Shell officers also devoted their time to share words of wisdom to the scholars. As in the previous camps, the experience was enlightening and fulfilling.

The camp design

Gerboy Ortega, Vice President for Human Resources of Shell Companies in the Philippines (SciP), shared with the scholars that SciP former Country Chairman Ed Chua wanted the scholarship of Shell and Philippine S&T Development Foundation – Manila, Inc. (PhilDev) to be different: “It’s not just financial support, but there’s also support in the holistic development – around leadership, self-awareness, preparation for career choices. That’s why we put together this camp.

“At the start, the focus is to help you with your personal leadership, to help you develop self-awareness, knowledge about your own talents, strengths, areas of improvement. The second year you attend, it’s about developing your ability to influence and lead others in the university. By the time you graduate, when you start looking for jobs, you’ll not just be competing with academic performers, but with student leaders. So, it’s important while you’re still in university, you’re not just honing your talents in your chosen discipline, but you’re also honing your leadership skills. For the third batch, those who are about to enter graduating year, the theme is about helping you make career choices and prepare you for those choices - whether it’s about pursuing your discipline, going into entrepreneurship, or working in an NGO.”

Words of wisdom

During the second day of the camp, Shell officers shared their insights and engaged with the scholars over lunch.

Chua expressed how happy he was to be there for the first time, sharing his life learnings and realizations to the scholars. He also emphasized how being part of the Shell-PhilDev family is an opportunity that the scholars should be grateful for.

In his speech, he shared how his perspective in life changed: “My focus was to get a good job in a good company and earn good money. But over time, you start realizing money will give you happiness in a short period of time. Think about this very well, because as you start working, you get lost in what is the objective in life. Sometimes, when you’re working, your objective is to be promoted. I’ve learned that is just a resultant. The objective is you do a great job whatever assignment you’re given. When you do a great job, the promotions and salary increases will follow and you will see others as part of your team, people who can help you deliver great results. I hope as you progress, this is something you remember.”

Talking about the Shell-PhilDev Scholarship, Chua shared that the focus is on science and technology because the country needs people who can start looking at innovation. Urging the scholars to keep innovating while keeping sustainability in mind, he said, “Make sure whatever you do is cognizant of the community, the people, the environment. Sustainability is very important.”

As he wished the scholars success, Chua ended his speech with powerful words: “I want you all to be successful – not necessarily being very rich. That’s not what success is all about, but success is being able to leave a legacy and touching many people’s lives.”

Culminating night

Just like in the previous years, the scholars did not fail to amaze the audience with their talents and creativity during the culminating night.

Amazed of the talents he witnessed, the newly installed Executive Director of PhilDev, Chips Guevarra, enjoyed the show, just like everyone in the audience. In his speech, he talked about the vision of PhilDev Chairman Diosdado Banatao for the Philippines: the eradication of poverty through three pillars – education, innovation, entrepreneurship. He also urged the scholars to keep holding on to their dreams and ensured Shell and PhilDev will be with them along the way.

Meanwhile, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) Executive Director Edgardo Veron Cruz could not help but be sentimental as he delivered his message to the scholars: “Many things have been said, many good things. As Gerboy said, we wanted this to be an extraordinary scholarship and I think we’ve done that. Thank you for your efforts, for being good students…” Moreover, he encouraged the scholars to study hard not only to get a good job, but also think about venturing into entrepreneurship.

As a form of appreciation, Veron Cruz personally handed customized pens as gifts to the graduates while Guevarra awarded tokens to those who created the best bookmarks showing their character profile.

Camp Master extraordinaire Jay Javier formally closed the camp, recognizing everyone’s efforts, crucial in the camp’s success.

Testimony of gratitude

Representatives from each batch also came up with their own testimonials. Here’s an excerpt from one of them:

Leo Villalba

Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, BS Electrical Engineering Batch 2 – 2015

This is our 3rd camp for Batch 2 and probably the last one. The greatest learning for me was from Mr. Jones Castro – about self, family, community, country, and leadership. It was reinforced with the lessons given to us by Shell.

I know more about myself through the Leadership Enhancement and Attitude Development Workshop. I’m more resilient in times when I’m down. For family, I became more connected to them even though we’re far apart. And it feels so good to be part of the wonderful family that is Shell-PhilDev… For country and leadership, I can’t forget what Sir Jay called us, “national treasures.” We, the young scholars of today are the leaders of tomorrow who will drive the economy forward.

Lastly, on behalf of Batch 2, we are thankful to Shell for this opportunity of bringing us scholars together once a year, to be equipped with the necessary skills and have a chance to enjoy moments together. To our PhilDev family, Ma’am Bernie, Ma’am Zen, Sir John, thank you for being there, meeting us at least once a year to listen to our stories.

One speaker told us, the world doesn’t owe us anything. Everything given to us is a gift. Indeed, Shell-PhilDev is a gift to us all – not just a gift, but a blessing.

The camp impact

Jody Saico – Central Luzon State University Dean (Office of Admissions): I find the camp very useful for our scholars because they learn many things – about themselves and their co-scholars. They are also able to blend themselves even though they come from different schools. Moreover, I think our scholars are more vocal now compared to when they first attended this camp.

Rubilyn Bartolata – Mindanao State University – Iligan Institue of Technology Administrative Assistant and Scholarship Coordinator: I’ve been with the scholars since the beginning of their Shell-PhilDev journey.

I’ve seen the importance of undergoing the Leadership Enhancement and Attitude Development (LEAD) Workshop before taking the other sessions in the camp. The student must know who he is and who makes up his support system.

For Batch 1 scholars, I’ve seen how they manage themselves. They still make wrong decisions, but they acknowledge their mistakes. Furthermore, they now know their environment and their influence in the university. They value their reputation.

I do believe we (chaperones) are here in this camp to know how to manage and guide the scholars whenever they would go to us to ask for help. We have a big role in their development. As for me, I treat them like my children already. I can say this camp is what makes the Shell-PhilDev Scholarship different from other scholarships.

By Rachael Nathanielsz

Article published on PSFI news magazine October 2017 issue

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