Written by Jamie Lao, Aaron Medina, and Regiena Siy
Edited by Patrick Ang
Photo Header by Pamela Uy
Many have heard and answered the call uncertain of what lay ahead. None of them knew, however, how well worth it everything would be in the end.
Indeed, for both organizers and delegates alike, the very first Cultural Awareness and Leadership Lab (CALL) served as an eye-opening program, a journey of both success and failure, and a sojourn of mutual learning in the aspects of both culture and leadership. Much like the Junior Manager Program (JuMP), CALL utilized four sessions throughout a span of three weeks, with each session being different but just as insightful.
The first session, which happened last September 27, formally opened the program. The memory of a sudden outpouring of heavy rain before the start of the program has likely stuck to the delegates. The highlight of this day, however, probably had to be how each delegate (not yet in groups) had to actually seek out their facilitator through given clues (example: a sad math major). Malachi, a recurring and dubious character throughout the program, first made his appearance on this day. What he had in store for the next sessions neither delegate nor organizers knew for sure.
On the second day of CALL last October 4, the plot continued as the delegates were tasked to consult with Malachi’s old professor. He demanded that Cutoco Corporation learns from the “living legend”. Unfortunately, upon arriving at the site, the delegates discover that the professor they were to meet died about a week prior to their visitation. However, it was too late to turn back. They had already walked into the trap and were unable to leave the room. With about an hour to decipher clues, the delegates attempted to make sense of everything and find the key to getting out alive. Group members had to work together in achieving that one goal. As the delegates rummaged through the room, they began to understand more of who Malachi was as a person. The stern protagonist turns out to have a heart for hearty meals. Eventually, it became clear that the only way for them to leave the room was to complete Malachi’s tasks for them and impress him with the brightest food idea.
The third day of CALL opened with a race through a labyrinth. The delegates were asked to put on blindfolds, while their facilitators led them through a supposed maze that was set up inside the Faura AVR. Little did they know, there weren’t any real obstacles present in the room, and the facilitators used the creative liberty to tell the delegates to duck, jump, and crawl through non-existent hurdles. Once the delegates completed the “maze”, they took off their blindfolds and realized that they had been comically wandering through an empty room the whole time. The main purpose of the activity was to teach the delegates to ask questions first instead of following instructions blindly. It also served, though, as a form of entertainment for the organizers, who were watching it all transpire from the sidelines.
After the delegates had gotten a hold of their bearings, they were divided into different rooms per group. Each team was instructed by the ever mysterious Malachi to form their own companies under specific circumstances, with a pretense that they would be competing against the other teams. However, it was later revealed that two rivaling teams had to merge together to form a single company. They were given additional time to brainstorm, but were sent back afterwards to Faura AVR to present their ideas to a group of panelists.
The now somewhat known but still not completely known Malachi had one more trick up his sleeve on the culminating day of the program last October 12: a fun-filled, exciting Saturday morning amazing race. Once again, teamwork and trust, the foundations of any successful group, proved to be tested. From a classroom maze, which required the use of blindfolds for most, to chasing after a station manager while holding each others’ hands, all activities led to the culmination of the program, when finally Malachi revealed his true identity. Graduation proceeded soon after the amazing race. The slice of advice for all delegates: that teamwork, determination, mutual trust, and the understanding of others’ culture are keys to the building of a better society.
Perhaps one of the greatest takeaways of this program were the memories created amongst everyone, core team and delegates alike. The core team, along with the project head, worked so hard to piece together Celadon’s newest project. The delegates, on the other hand, witnessed history unravel before their very eyes as they experienced first-hand the making of the Cultural Awareness and Leadership Lab.
CALL is one of the many projects of Ateneo Celadon that aligns itself with the organization’s values. It seeks to cultivate in their members a heart for others. At the end of the day, Ateneo Celadon hopes its members develop the trait of a culturally-aware leader.