TEN years ago we organized the first Cebu Young Leaders Summit (CYLS) up in the mountains of Barangay Taptap, Cebu City.
We were a small rag-tag team of alumni of the Ayala Young Leaders Congress (AYLC) fueled with the dream that we could plant the seeds of creating a small community of young leaders who nurture, support each other and help build a better Cebu. We hoped to start a small program that would bring in youth leaders from schools and organizations in Cebu, so they could become stronger servant leaders, collaborate and connect with each other.
So up the mountains we went. We designed the program, found supporters and interested student leaders and organized the first CYLS in 2009 at the Cebu City Resource Management and Development Center. It was a refreshing place away from the city to start the program. And it truly was a refreshing start of the program.
On its first three runs, we ran CYLS every two years. Participants were a manageable handful of around 30+ per run. For some, it was their first time to meet other young leaders for a three-day program. It was inspiring to see the start of friendships that have lasted through the years.
Over recent years, our community has silently grown. Looking at the program and the community, the alumni just seemed to have creeped up on us. The community now has around 250+ alumni. That’s a lot of inspiring young servant leaders.
In the last four years, our alumni have taken over the program. Every year, we now gather at the Rafi Center for Leaders at Kool Adventure Camp–-still up in the mountains (true to our first few years)–-in a more exciting and inspiring home.
Annually, our CYLS alumni now take the lead in running the program--from facilitating, organizing and making sure that everything is running excellently and smoothly. We couldn’t be prouder of the “heartwork” they put into the program.
We recently concluded our 7th run of CYLS last month. We had 66 delegates this year. We had alumni from across the batches join us and when we took our photo together--all of us--and I was blown away at the thought that this was a group that grew over the last 10 years. That’s 10 years strong.
How time flies.
Our organizing team of the 7th CYLS is a “heartworking” team. I will never be tired of using “heartworking” to describe our alumni, as I see so much heart in the work that they do. When our organizing team put a lot of heartwork into the program, they also nurture heartworking alumni.
Heartwork--we see that now.
Our alumni of the 7th CYLS have thrown themselves right into service after CYLS. They are currently raising funds and donations for families and communities affected by the earthquakes in Mindanao. Within hours, they mobilized groups and organizations to help #ProjectMindanaONE.
I have a lot of worries about Cebu and what’s happening to the world around us. But as I look at our picture together and think of so many other young leaders all over the country doing their own share of heartwork, I realize that we are in good hands.