*My Edsor article taken from the Philippine Daily Inquirer http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/149291/a-peace-camp-like-no-other
What happens when you combine red, blue, green and yellow? You get one of the biggest inter-school events of the year where students coming from the EDSA-Ortigas Consortium of Schools, namely Xavier School, Immaculate Conception Academy, La Salle Greenhills, and the Saint Pedro Poveda College, gather in Edsor—a two-day peace camp for grade school and high school student leaders.
Held last January 16 & 17 at Xavier School, this year’s Edsor was one like no other. This was evident right from the get-go as participants were greeted by Xavier’s amazing Lion and Dragon Dancers, followed by band performances by equally talented Xavier performers.
With the theme of this year’s Edsor on engaging people and dialogues for peace, the participants were broken down into smaller groups named after the different language translations of peace like “He Ping,” “Pace,” “Paix,” and “Kapayapaan,” to name a few.
After a few hours of “getting to know you activities,” the groups quickly headed to what would be one of the most challenging “Amazing Races” they’ve ever participated in with activities ranging from transferring water as quickly as they could to trying to stop a “staged” fighting scene.
“One step at a time,” was literally what the participants had to do as a plastic rope bound them the entire time, forcing them to move together as one cohesive unit.
In true Edsor spirit, the different Student Council presidents of the 4 schools came up with the first ever Edsor song.
And boy was it a beautiful sight to end Day 1 seeing the sea of red, green, yellow, blue shine bright as they sang the chorus that played, “Edsor, one for all, all for one, making peace, standing tall. Four as one, united and strong, together we strive, together we rise.”
Staring off Day 2 with Wu Shu
In keeping up with the unconventional activities of this year’s Edsor, Day 2 was kicked off with a Wu Shu session that quickly energized the participants as they tried to hold different Wu Shu positions that really tested their flexibility.
With everyone jumpy and excited after the Wu Shu session, participants were sent back to their respective small groups to learn more about the “Face to Faith” videoconferences they would be having.
After a few hours of orienting, going through conversation lectures, drills and mock videoconferences, the students were ready to share their opinions and interact with the students from Singapore, India and Indonesia through a videoconference.
Moreover, the videoconference itself was a perfect example of bridging the gaps between different races and cultures, as participants learned how to be open minded, to ask the right questions and most importantly, respect one another’s opinion and belief.
After every activity, the participants would gather in different rooms to reflect with their groupmates on what they had learned. This was an important part of the two-day experience as it was a chance for them to solidify what they learned and more importantly, get to know their groupmates better.
At the end of the day, several participants quickly dubbed this year’s Edsor as “one of the best experiences of their life,” as they said their goodbyes, exchanged contact information, and posed for pictures that they will definitely one day look back at years from now.
And as my favorite line from the Edsor song goes, “It’s never too late to make a change, with the smallest deed a difference can be made.”
For these future leaders, the story isn’t over. It’s now their turn to go back to their respective schools and communities, and share the insights they gained, and more importantly, live them out one small deed at a time for it’s never too late, and at the same time, never too early to make a change.