About Kool Adventure Camp
A Decade of Conquering Dragons
From a small room in a building to a 10-hectare campsite in Balamban…
For over a decade, the Kool Adventure Camp (KAC) of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) has continued to work towards its goal of providing learning and development opportunities for young individuals as well as organizations through experiential education. KAC has already conducted 240 leadership training camps since 1999 and still counting.
Roberto “Bobby” Aboitiz, RAFI President and KAC founder, envisioned KAC as an adventure camp program for public schools. Its primary purpose is to enhance the spirit of the individual, with the end goal of producing better people.
“KAC is a leadership program. This is a program to prepare them to be the leaders of today and of the future,” he said.
1996-1997: A vision was born
The vision started when PECOS River Learning Center, an international outdoor experiential organization, installed the Challenge Ropes Course in Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City, for personal development of Aboitiz executives.
RAFI team leaders and members had the chance to conquer the Challenge Ropes Course for free by PECOS River Learning Center facilitators from Colorado, USA. It was then passed on to RAFI to leverage its application to the foundation’s social development programs.
1999: The dream unfolds
- Bobby Aboitiz conceived the idea of creating a leadership program for public schools using experiential learning through the ropes course.
- The first KAC design was created and the team composed of Anthony Terence “Totits” Ocampo (RAFI), Fr. Fidel Orendain, SDB, Rowena Bandola-Alensolorin (RAFI), and Dr. Antonio Ogdok (DepEd).
- The pilot camp (Camp 001) was participated by student leaders of Don Bosco Technological School, Sacred Heart School for Girls, Centre for International Education (CIE), Abellana National School, and Southwestern University. The first batch of campers tested the program design at the Base Camp, Boys Scout of the Philippines in Nivel Hills, Lahug.
- The program was officially named as Kool Adventure Camp (KAC). It became RAFI’s youth development program.
- The first KAC team was composed of Irvin Torralba, Rosebelle Daculan, and team leader Ocampo. The latter attended the Project Adventure Workshop in Rainbow Lake Covington, Atlanta, Georgia, USA to benchmark the program.
- KAC became a member of Project Adventure.
2000-2006: Taking steps
- KAC had its first partners and first center-based camp participated by World Vision, SOS Children’s Village, SIPS, Dangpanan, Community Scouts, and Youth for Christ.
- The first professional program was participated by RAFI, Penshoppe, Matimco, Madera Foundation, City Savings Bank, and the community organization composed of community leaders of Tabuelan, Balamban, and Tuburan.
- A special camp for the hearing impaired also took place.
- The camp hardware developed with the reconstruction and installation of a new Pamper Pole and High Y for the Challenge Ropes Course.
- Facilitator and safety coordinator Peter Jay Alera joined the KAC team.
- KAC conducted an all-priest camp participated by the Salesian of Don Bosco (SDB) priests.
- KAC also facilitated the first SK Project Challenge for the Sangguniang Kabataan of Asturias.
- KAC Challenge Ropes Course was inspected and certified by an Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) professional vendor member Emergence Course Inc. of New Mexico, USA.
- The first Alumni Timawa Homecoming, which was attended by Camps 1 to 56 campers, was held at the University of Cebu. Timawa is a post-alumni organization of KAC campers who wanted to have an avenue to apply what they learned during their respective camps.
- A Cebu City-wide leadership training for Sangguniang Kabataan members was organized.
- KAC partnered with Outward Bound Hurricane Island, USA and acquired the membership to the Association for Experiential Education.
- Climbing wall reconstruction and installation was done during this time.
- A college alumni gathering called, “October XP” program, was launched during a Mt. Manunggal climb.
- The first KAC High School Fellowship and Dialogue Night was organized.
- The RAFI board of directors gave its go signal to look for a permanent KAC base camp site.
- The KAC service learning program “Oplan Pinta” series started.
- A special program was made for the special children of Best Buddies Philippines.
- KAC celebrated its 100th camp with the Cebu City SK Federation Camp.
- Another facilitator, Sheerene Ducay, joined the KAC team.
- KAC acquired the associate membership/Level 1 for ACCT in 2005.
2006-2009: Further initiatives
- The first Pinoy-Dutch Explore Camp took place.
- RAFI COO Dominica B. Chua and the KAC team went to the Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) Training on Ropes Course Management and Wilderness First Respond Level II Course.
- KAC partnered with OBS.
- Ocampo, now deputy director of KAC Professional Development Program (PDP), attended the 34th Association for Experiential Education (AEE) International Conference and took the Leave No Trace (LNT) Master Educator Course conducted by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Arkansas, USA.
- KAC team was given the Kayak 2 Star Personal Skills Award by Sea Venture Singapore.
- Two additional facilitators joined the KAC team—Leo Urpiana and Daphne Dia.
- The Young Minds Academy (YMA) Season 1 Generation 3: Character and Leadership Building was conducted. YMA is RAFI’s youth leadership and citizenship development program for the youth.
- KAC facilitators participated in the 21-day Classic Instructors Expedition Course of Outward Bound Singapore. The first Outward Bound Singapore overseas youth “XP” program was held in Cebu.
- Ocampo attended the Adventures in Building Community and Diversity of Project Adventure Inc. USA at San Diego, California.
- A second group of KAC facilitators participated in the 21-day Classic Instructors Expedition Course of Outward Bound Singapore.
2010: KAC milestone
- The budget for the new camp site was approved by the RAFI board.
- RAFI assembled the camp planning and design team to create the new camp site design.
- Two outdoor programs were introduced—adult backpacking expedition and the corporate bangka expedition.
- OBS donated 51 kayaks to KAC.
- KAC team was divided into two—youth and professional. Marie Sol Gonzalvo joined the team and became deputy director for the Youth Development Program (YDP).
- KAC team leaders went to Shanghai, China for the first AEE Asia Conference.
- RAFI COO Chua and KAC PDP Deputy Director Ocampo visited Outward Bound Hongkong.
- Three KAC male facilitators were certified with Level 3 Lifesaving Proficiency while all facilitators were certified with Wilderness Medical First Responder (WMFR) Level 2 and Level 3.
2011: Taking bigger steps
- The groundbreaking of the KAC new camp site in Cansumoroy, Balamban, Cebu took place.
- The first kayak expedition of the PDP, first urban backpacking for elementary schools, and the first Leave No Trace trainers program in the country were organized.
- KAC Technical and Safety Officer Jay Alera went to the USA and acquired the ACCT Challenge Course Practitioners Certification Level 2.
- KAC Youth Program expanded and hired six facilitators.
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