I am an introvert. People aren’t really my cup of tea. Throw me into a crowd, ask me to lead a group, and, I assure you, awkward moments and silences are sure to arise.
It was three months ago in January when I volunteered to be a part of the Campus Journalism Workshop Summer Camp. I was a facilitator. I wasn’t exactly sure how different a CJWSC faci would be from a Youth For Christ – Zobel faci.
Nevertheless, I took on the challenge. Hey, it’s for the org anyway.
When Day 1 of the Camp arrived, I felt a bit nervous. Seeing all the asters (participants) streaming into the UP Film Institute, I was afraid I might not live up to their expectations of how a facilitator should be. We quasars (facis) were only told to do three things after we meet with our asters: come up with a newsroom name, a newsroom cheer, and a newsroom head. Other than that, it was all up to us.
I held up a big number ‘12’ to call my newsroom members. Ten of them came. “Okay, eto na,” I thought to myself. I gathered the students near the back of the theater. They occupied two rows.
And finally I faced them.
“Hello guys!” I tried enthusiastically to greet them. People who know me know my character: quiet, reserved, especially with new people. This was definitely a challenge for me.
At first, naturally, they were all shy. I was asking them for ideas about the newsroom name. No one was suggesting any. I was asking for a cheer. No one was suggesting any. It was tough squeezing out something from them. As a result, we were the last team to come up with a name and a cheer.
My kids settled for ASTROPEN, saying our name should be related to the Camp’s theme.
Not that I’m complaining. As they say, better late than never.
By Day 1’s end, they were already getting the feel for each other. They were already conversing. And they were looking forward to Day 2.
Day 2 arrived. Unknowingly, new students would be arriving and added to Astropen. I didn’t know how to integrate them. As I’ve stressed earlier, I’m not good with this kind of thing. Fortunately – for me and for the asters – one of the activities of the day was Workshop 1. The students had to work together, and they would be forced to mingle with each other. The workshop ended with the new asters already assimilated with the old-timers.
Day 3. The old-timers already have adjusted to each other. But soon more adjustments were to be made, as three more students were added to Astropen. Like Day 2, the activities made my job easier. The documentary-making workshop made them interact more.
After this, handling my asters became a heck of a lot easier.
They were all chatting; they were enjoying each other’s company the last two days that they didn’t want to leave. They didn’t want the Camp to end (I know it sounds cheesy but, yes, that is the truth).
I may not have been the best quasar. But seeing the kids all happy after the five-day Camp? Wow, it felt so good. And after the closing program ended, when everyone was going everywhere, the asters were approaching me, wanting to have a picture taken with me.
Talking to new people has always been tough for me. Thankfully, Astropen made it easier. Thankfully, they weren’t hard-headed kids who would defy my authority. Thankfully, they were a fun a bunch of kids who appreciated their quasar.
This early on, I’m already looking forward to CJWSC 2013, and seeing my Astropen kids return for another adventure.