The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons with autism spectrum disorder. The ASP has been in the forefront of providing services and training to families living with autism.

05 May 2016

Siblings’ Circle Summer Camp 2016

The ASP Laguna Siblings Circle Summer Camp 2016 (SCSC), with the theme “PWA Siblings, Proud and Aware”, was held on 22-23 April 2016 at Word of Life, a Christian recreational center located in Brgy. Perez, Calauan, Laguna. Ms. Marivic Ramos served as camp director, Ms. Deborah Klaudine Sanchez as lead facilitator, Ms. Inah Cathes Lopez and Sir Reymart Encarnacion as assistant facilitators at SCSC 2016.

The camp encouraged siblings and cousins of children with autism to be outspoken about their special relatives, brothers and sisters. Three constant E’s are the main objectives of the camp: empower, express and enjoy. All were given the opportunity to express their awareness of the condition of their relatives, brothers and sisters and to discover more of its implications in their daily lives. It also gave them the opportunity to think back to the moments that they felt proud of them. The camp also allowed them to develop camaraderie and share learning experiences among themselves. Participants came from Laguna (San Pablo, Sta. Rosa, Pakil), Cavite (Carmona), Quezon (Infanta) and Pampanga (San Fernando).



The program started at 9:00 am with a prayer led by Ms. Debs Sanchez. A welcome followed
given by Ms. Marivic Ramos. She also introduced the camp team to the participants. Together
with Ms. Jessica, a staff from the Word of Life Camp, Ms. Marivic discussed the camp rules and
regulations.

Fun started with “getting-to-know” activities namely “candy colors”, “inside the box” and the “toilet roll.” Participants were asked to introduce themselves by giving their name, age and the place where they came from and other things about themselves. The campers were amazing as they blended immediately well.

After the getting-to- know activities boodle fight lunch followed. The campers put together their
lunch packs on banana leaves spread on the table for sharing. Most of them brought fast food chicken meals so it turned out to be a “chicken festival”. It was a first time experience for most of
the campers to eat with their bare hands.

The bible hour, which is compulsory for all groups availing the facilities of the Word of Life Camp
Inc. was done after lunch and facilitated by Kuya Ivan, a staff of the camp site. The bible verse
was John 3:16 which states “for God so love the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. The emphasis of the sharing is the love of God, which gives us the capacity to love others especially the siblings and relatives with autism. The group was divided into two for a contest of finding the verse in the bible. The much awaited swimming time followed.

After dinner, there was t-shirt printing. They printed their own shirt with a sibling circle design, and went off for another awaited ending activity for the day -- the bonfire. Everybody was excited to gather in front of the bonfire. The facilitators led the sharing by asking each participant the question “What do you understand about your sibling’s/relative’s special condition?” and “What was the time/s that you were so proud of your siblings/relatives with autism?”

The SCSC team tried to give light to some confusion by giving facts and concrete examples. Positive emotions poured out when asked the second question. Some even cried because they
pity their siblings/relatives. To lighten the mood, the “chubby bunny” challenge did a great job.
It’s a challenge to everyone to put as much marshmallows in their mouth to expand their cheeks
one piece at a time and still be able to say the phrase “Sibs proud and aware!” as clearly as possible. Each participant tried to say the phrase as clearly as possible while increasing pieces of marshmallows in their mouth. Everyone had a good laugh. The heating of marshmallows was also a hit, especially when they made their own “smores”.

The second day started at 5:30 am with a morning prayer followed by then the Filipino game “sikyo” or “agawan base” which they enjoyed much. After breakfast everybody got excited with the zip-line ride. One participant got the “Fear Buster” award for conquering his fear of the zip-line. Then the group underwent the traditional initiation by executing the “Human Roll”. Several games were played in the covered court until everyone got tired. After lunch, there was a group picture taking in the different areas of the camp.

And they did the “letter writing” activity where each one has to write a note or letter to other participants whom they like to make friends with. Eventually, all of them made one for each of
the participants.

After the activity, everyone packed away their things and spent the remaining hours for bonding.
Simultaneously, parents were gathered by Ms. Marivic to give them information on what transpired during the two-day camp. Activities were shared to them and details like how the siblings/cousins see their special relatives, brothers and sisters in different ways and their disabilities as well.

Ms. Marivic thanked the parents for entrusting their children to ASP Laguna and to the SCSC team, for the support in terms of time and efforts to make ASP Laguna Siblings Circle Summer Camp a success! The camp ended with an awarding of certificate of recognition to the participants.


About the contributor: Marivic is an ASP National Trustee and the current Vice-President of ASP Laguna Chapter. A Trainer for Work, Live and Play Program to young adults with autism at Autism Resource Center (ARC). Marivic is a pillar of the autism advocacy community in Los Baños, immersing herself in special education and training and empowerment programs over the years. As an ASP delegate, she was elected to the board of the Philippine Community Based Disability Inclusive Development Network. She is a single mother to a 23 year old young adult with autism, Victor Michael "Mico" Ramos who is now working at ASP National Headquarters as Junior Program Assistant.

1 comments:

Edwward Liie said...

That was really great and I think the T Shirt Printing session was full of fun.

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