Fr. Renante Aban, camp director said the two-day youth camp is part of the Mindanao Week of Peace celebration that hopes to spread peace advocacy and solidarity among the youth.
He said that on the first day the participants will listen to a lecture on the history of Mindanao by Professor Rudy Rodil and interact with the Joint Monitoring Assistance Team (JMAT) in a peace forum.
The participants will also be treated to a concert by the 6th Infantry Division Band and the NDMC De Mazenod Band while huddled around the bonfire in the evening.
On Sunday the participants will have fun playing in the Pinoy Olympics before heading home in the afternoon.
The activity drew 197 participants, mostly high school and college students and a few out-of-school youths sponsored by their different parishes.
The students came from NDMC, Notre Dame of Pikit, Libungan National High School, Presbitero High School, Southern Christian College, Midsayap Dilangalen High School. Pigcawayan National High School, Cotabato Medical Foundation College Inc., Notre Dame of Pigcawayan, Notre Dame of Libungan, Notre Dame of Midsayap High School, and University of Southern Mindanao.
The out-of-school youths came from the parishes of San Isidro Labrador and Sadaan District.
Scholars of the Hauman Association also joined.
Fr. Aban started his welcome address with the words "welcome to the Youth Peace Camp of 2007 and see you on 2008."
He assured the youth camp will be held annually.
The participants were obviously having fun getting to know their other camp mates while dancing in circles. Laughter was also heard as the young people set up their tents for the night.
Cherryl Rico, first year accountancy major at NDMC, while trying to catch her breath from the welcome game she just played said she is excited about knowing the culture of the other participants and meeting more friends.
She said she is hopeful that the youth camp would help her and the other participants understand each other’s culture.
“Understanding each others culture is the key to achieving real peace in Mindanao," she explained.
Hadz Alon, a scholar of the Hauman Association, said that knowing the culture of the other participants would help lessen discrimination.
Charisa Abdulan, also a scholar of the Hauman Association, said she hopes that the youth camp would enshrine a "sense of unity" among the participants.
She also said she hopes to meet new friends at the camp.