In its mission to spread environmental awareness and love for the outdoors, the Primer Group of Companies’ advocacy arm, Center for Outdoor Recreation and Expedition (CORE), held its second ever youth summer camp – This Side Out – last April 1 to 2 at Camp Stevenot in Los Baños, Laguna.
This year, CORE invited kids from the SOS Children’s Villages, a non-government organization which provides a long-term family-based care to children in need, to join in the camping adventure. Most of the children and young adults under their care are either orphaned or abandoned.
According to CORE Program Manager Kristine Villaflor, the children beneficiaries may have been averse to living life outside of their shelter. “But hopefully, they were able to see the outdoors in a different perspective and embrace it as a way of life,” she added.
Bird watching during the wee hours in the morning
In addition, aside from volunteers, CORE also opened the outdoor activity to the Primer Group employees, along with their sons and daughters to experience the great outdoors.
“We’d like our fellow KaPrimers and their families to experience not only the great outdoors but also to interact with the Group’s beneficiaries,” said Villaflor.
“This is so they could witness first-hand the work we do, and hopefully they would be motivated to spread the spirit of volunteerism among the Primer Group community,” she added.
The participants create their own Patrol Kitchen
This year’s activity was organized by the officers and members of the advocacy arm’s employee volunteerism program – CORE Movers, and it was jam-packed with outdoor knowledge, such as basic camping and first aid, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), shared by CORE partners, the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, Biodiversity Conservation Society, and the Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society Inc. (PNPCSI).
It also included topics that are usually covered by the Nature Class series such as trekking for flora and fauna knowledge, bird watching and a biodiversity seminar.
“I’d like to thank the KaPrimer volunteers and partners, including Recreational Outdoor Exchange (R.O.X.) of the Primer Group, who provided our equipment, tents, and financial assistance for the event,” Villaflor said.
Business Development Officer Joanna Queddeng and her nephew, Zarek Palomado, during the nature walk led by PNPCSI at the Makiling Botanic Gardens in Los Banos.
For her part, Business Development Officer and CORE Movers Communications and Documentation Officer Joanna Queddeng said organizing the event on top of her actual work duties was a challenge, but “it was all worth it.”
“As part of the organizing committee, I will always look back to how we managed to pull off an event like this. KaPrimers coming together for a single goal outside of work, was a memorable experience,” she said.
“Seeing how curious and passionate the kids were in all the activities, I was reminded to also have the same outlook – to always stay hungry for knowledge and new experiences, regardless of age,” she added.
During its debut last year, This Side Out catered to 60 former street children from the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), an organized Christian response against poverty and social injustice, at its community center in Magdalena, Laguna.
According to Villaflor, last year’s event succeeded in letting children who belonged to street-dwelling families gain a deeper appreciation of the outdoors that the team decided to make the youth summer camp an annual event.
Rommel Ventura, Area Operations Manager of the Primer Group who participated in the camping event, said it was refreshing for CORE to create a unique activity not only for the kids (target beneficiaries of the program, but for the employees and their children as well.
Area Operations Manager Rommel Ventura and his daughter learned the proper way to pitch tents
“It was quite touching to see how well my daughter and the other children of my fellow employees bonded with the SOS kids,” he shared. “I was able to spend quality time with the kids, and I got to know them better. I greatly appreciate how they changed from their former lives, and now, I see so much hope from them”.
Aileene Mayuga, Talent Acquisition Officer and a CORE Movers member, also thanked CORE for giving her an opportunity to become a volunteer. “The volunteers also learned a lot from this event,” she said.
“But of course, what touched me most was how we all connected with everyone; I guess it’s because we were all in an environment we’re not familiar with, and we only had each other to help one another,” she added.
For more information about CORE and its programs, visit the following: