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An adventure in learning

When I saw the climber’s wall in the PowerPoint presentation of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi), I felt my disinterest mounting.

Roughing it up, sleeping in a tent is not my idea of fun. Trekking up hills, going up and down a mountain, sweating under a blazing sun are no, no, noes.

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Fun for me is swimming at the beach beneath an azure sky, going on a staycation in a posh hotel, hopping from one dining place to another, eating gourmet meals, watching a movie or a play, listening to taped music or a live band, dancing under a shimmering canopy of stars, reading a book, reciting poems out loud, visiting museums and art galleries, and doodling.

I was a skeptical participant who joined Project Synergy and Kool Adventure Camp (KAC) just to be with colleagues and get away from it all. As speakers gave us an orientation on the project and told us what to bring, I worried I would not have fun at all.

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But this sometimes jaded soul was in for a surprise. We flew from Manila to Cebu, then took a van to Rafi KAC Education Center in Barangay Cansomoroy in Balamban.

The center was a delight, located in an area filled with trees and shrubbery. Our living quarters and meals were superb, world-class.

Facilitators Anthony Terence P. Ocampo (Whitefire) and Ma. Dea Devaras (Malaya) were at the top of their game. They gave their all in the experiential learning activities they made us go through.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

First, what is Rafi? It stands for Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., a nonstock, nonprofit development organization serving primarily the Visayas and Mindanao. In its development work, Rafi has consistently aimed to uphold its vision of “Touching People, Shaping the Future” in the areas of Integrated Development, Microfinance and Entrepreneurship, Culture and Heritage, Education and Leadership, and Citizenship.

Second, what is KAC? Kool Adventure Camp is a flagship program of Rafi, under its Leadership and Citizenship focus areas. It is the first and only fully dedicated Adventure Education Center in the Philippines. It aims to equip organizations and individuals with the character, competence and citizenship attributes to be leaders of change, through powerful learning experiences.

KAC, which was started in 1999, has conducted over 400 adventure programs. Over 18,000 have participated in both youth and professional development programs.

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Project Synergy

The division of Makati was the first school division in the country to experience Project Synergy, Rafi’s free adventure program tailor-made for educators.

City Savings of Rafi donated P150,000 worth of supplies to Comembo Elementary School for Brigada Eskwela. That was how Benzon German, CES principal, stumbled upon the program, paving the way for the division to participate in Project Synergy. And, as they say, the rest is history.

So, with 29 other participants from the division of Makati, I took part in a recent Project Synergy in Cebu.

ILLUSTRATION BY STEPH BRAVO

ILLUSTRATION BY STEPH BRAVO

How did I find the experience?

It was different. We did not just sit and listen to lectures all day long. But there was a lot of learning in and outside the center.

It was invigorating. We were amid nature’s lush beauty and splendor. The KAC site is well planned and achingly beautiful.

It was challenging. The rope course challenge was well thought-out and insightful.

It reduced us to tears, but in a good way. The rope course challenge pushed us to our limits but we always had a choice if we wanted to go through it or not.

It was more than a feel-good experience. We discovered our internal beauty and passion.

It was life-transforming. The rope course challenge and other games upended our old mindsets and we had to come up with new mental maps.

You will never feel the same again if you undergo the experience because it will define you. KAC by Rafi is a whole new journey of discovering individual and group limits. It is empowering and inspiring.

But don’t take my word for it. You have to experience it for yourself.

If you are interested in the program, as an individual or organization, contact Rafi KAC at (032) 2609000 loc. 1001 or e-mail [email protected] Visit www.kac.rafi.org.ph. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will be worth your while.

The writer is a learning resource management development system supervisor at the Department of Education Makati.

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