First PHILIPPINE United Youth Camp

DAVAO CITY FIFTY FOUR (54) campers and staff successfully completed the first Philippine United Youth Camp based at the Girl Scouts of the Philippines Training facilities in Toril, Davao City, Philippines, held on April 18 to 25, 1999.philippine1.jpg (19164 bytes)

The youths were composed of 16 boys and 28 girls out of which seven of them served as counselors and assistant counselors. Six full-time and four part-time staff members composed the administrative team. The UYC Camp Director was Edmond Macaraeg.philippine2.jpg (23603 bytes)

The campers learned among others: basic first aid, orienteering, map reading, outdoor cooking, basic electricity, basic carpentry (made a folding stool for them to take home), basics in computers (with hands-on), cooking and baking (all tasted of the chiffon cake they made), flower-card making (for them to take home also), and ball room dancing.

Evening activities included an Orientation Night, Novelty Olympics, Ball room dancing and Variety Show. Because of keen interest on biblical and spiritual matters, with developments in the church (as reflected by the flood of questions submitted by the campers); an unusual two consecutive evening sessions of such Open Forum (based on consensus) was held earlier in the week!

Another highlight of the camp was the boat trip across Davao Gulf into Samal Island for hike, map-making, ball games, outdoor cooking, swimming (on beautiful white sand beaches), tours, and overnight camp-out which was all blessed with good weather.philippine3.JPG (24920 bytes)

The latter part of the camp was graced by the visit of Aaron Dean who was on his way to Bangkok, Thailand. He had an informal chat with the campers and staff starting with his arrival at Samal Island Thursday evening. He also conducted a lecture and forum Friday back in camp. During Sabbath, he gave a sermon in the morning and held a Q&A in the afternoon. (For the sake of some brethren who attended Sabbath services in camp [total attendance then was 101], his messages were simultaneously translated into Cebuano using "wireless" FM equipment.) He also helped in the final awarding ceremonies.

With his digital camera, he immediately served as the "official" photographer upon arrival; almost instantly showing the full-color pictures at the back of his camera and later showing them as a large 7"x10"size full-color picture scrolling on his notebook computer screen for all the campers and staff to see!philippine4.JPG (22408 bytes)

Just when the campers were beginning to bond together, it was sadly time to break camp. But the goal of conducting a United Youth Camp for the youths in the Philippines for the first time had been successful. Campers and staff in the Philippines are very thankful to God and for the support of UCG through the Home Office. A two-week camp is being planned for next year. Under consideration also is a popular request to include a Mt. Apo climb (highest peak in the Philippines at 10,028 ft. not far from Davao City). The youths in the Church seem eager to please God and ready to face various challenges in life!

--Edmond Macaraeg