Prepared To Serve The Poor

by | Dec 5, 2020 | Formation, Reflections

Below, Catherine Louise B. Ingente discusses the purpose of becoming a candidate for the Chief Girl Scout Medal Scheme (learning to put others ahead of yourself), specifically in meeting the needs of families in the Sitio Ilayang Wakas community. Catherine reflects on her personal experiences, significant contributions made to the community, and lessons learned while carrying out the project coordinated by the outreach program of Sacred Heart College. Her project notes are also provided at the end of the article.

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I remember looking up at my older sisters in scouting due to their great confidence, leadership, and dedication. As I enjoy my scouting days in elementary, I started to dream of becoming a leader who inspires and motivates other people with her words and actions, and it began as being a patrol leader in simple scouting activities. Those were the times when I dreamt of being like my sisters, being a Chief Girl Scout. I admit that dreaming to be a Chief Girl Scout never left my heart and mind as I wear my green uniform since I was in elementary, but, as years passed by, I almost gave up on becoming one. I was considering the great challenge, the financial capabilities of my parents, the thoughts of others if I would be worth running to be a candidate for the scheme, and the challenge of time since I am trying to focus more on my academics, and sports since I am a table tennis athlete and the thoughts of many “what-if’s” running in my head. During my last year as a Senior Girl Scout, I told myself that maybe I should just be happy that I was able to help my sisters as one of their workgroup members in being a Chief Girl Scout, that I have attended many encampments and adventures, doing my duty every Monday during the flag ceremony and being recognized by the council to participate in a regional encampment.

As I become a Cadet Girl Scout, I thought that was already the end of dreaming more in Girl Scouting, not until my troop leader showed belief and confidence in me, that I can go on and try the challenge of the Chief Girl Scout Medal Scheme. I don’t know why this time I didn’t have hesitations and say no unlike in my previous years in scouting. Maybe it’s because I think that as a green-blooded girl, this chance would be the great door to know more of my new skills, values, and capabilities that would make me better and to be a great help in a community with my dedication and unique ways. Having our aunts in scouting is important because they help us empower ourselves and become more responsible as we go and face new challenges that are coming towards our way. Throughout the project, I was touched whenever the mothers approach me and thank me for the things that I have contributed to their community. I also remembered being so happy when the children call me as their older sister “Ateeee KaaaAat” even when I’m still far from the center or when I am still walking along the path walks. There were also very touching and unexpected moments when every after session, there would be a surprise letter of thanks from one of the children.

It was also fulfilling to witness the positive change within the waste management in the community as well as the materials the community members have made out of recycled materials. With these encounters with the community, I realized that we can all influence one another with love and passion. We always need to listen and be the voices of the less privileged and be able to see and help them grow and hone their potentials in becoming a better individual. It was saddening when I realized that it would have been better if we still had more tutorials and culminating activities with the whole community if only there was no COVID-19, but that’s reality, not everything will go and follow as we have planned. I have created a letter for them as a remembrance of our moments and relationship together as we do the project and to also serve as a reminder for them to continue our started advocacy.

I learned to have a brave heart to communicate and reach out to the needs and concerns about our community. I learned to communicate properly with different kinds of people, the parents, the elderly, the barangay officials, community leaders, community organizers, social workers, and always treat them with love. I also learned that not all of my plans will be granted and followed. There would always be mistakes and unexpected challenges that will come our way. It honed my capability to make the best out of those mistakes and unexpected challenges and become proactive as I continue to journey through life. I also learned to become independent and to have the initiative to pursue my goals in life and to pursue my responsibilities as a leader. I learned to be proactive and continue despite many circumstances and believe in the saying “don’t stop when you are tired, stop when you are done” and “it’s okay to rest but never quit.” I also learned to appreciate even the smallest things that have been happening or that has been given to me, just like the appreciation of gratitude and love that is given by the community especially the children in the community. Lastly and most importantly, this experience made me strengthen, nourish, and keep my faith in God stronger to uplift myself and others in living out their capabilities and potentials as well.

Overall, this experience has made me grateful for everything, for all the blessings that I have, and to be able to bravely share it with others and help a wider group of people who are in need. This made me become a person who is much more willing to help and be of service for others as well as to be a leader, a follower, and a Girl who is not afraid to face more challenges and opportunities that will make me become a better person as I journey through life.


Project Notes

Pre-planning: A meeting with the community outreach program coordinator of Sacred Heart College was coordinated and held with the help of my troop leader. In the meeting, we have discussed the purpose of becoming a candidate for the Chief Girl Scout Medal Scheme. Sitio Ilayang Wakas community was introduced. The community is comprised of families and children that are being visited by the community outreach program and had seen their needs upon certain concerns. Upon the visitation and consultation within the community and barangay officials, the most important needs were:

  1. No community/learning center that could be used as a place for the continuous tutorials of the Education students in Sacred Heart College, community meetings, and livelihood.
  2. No functional artesian well
  3. No proper waste segregation, disposal, and management (Burning of plastics is their way of getting rid of trashes)

Based on the identified needs, I determined that the artesian well was the most important problem that needed a solution, but the community proposed that the construction of the community learning center is the most important for it is most beneficial for the children’s learning opportunities and the community’s livelihood and relationship. We also found out that it is not advisable to put an artesian well because the source of water is limited and there were too many boulders and rocks under the ground which may also affect the flow of the very limited flow of water if ever an artesian well will be constructed. Upon further consultations within barangay officials, community leaders, and outreach coordinators, we have concluded that the best project to pursue is the construction of a community learning center which can be connected to cultural heritage and the implementation of the proper waste segregation, disposal, and management which falls under ecology.

Planning: After planning out the activities, we had a formal meeting and orientation with our beneficiaries which also formally started my project in the community. During the project, we have exhibited Bayanihan as we build our community learning center through removing weeds, carrying of materials, and painting; we helped one another as we clean the path walks; we celebrated and a Christmas party and gave importance, reminders, and explanations on valuing the Pinoy Christmas spirit, recycling, and proper waste management; we also had a gift-giving activity for the parents, children, and community learning center; we had a seminar on proper waste segregation, disposal, and management by Engr. Gerardo Navela; we had academic, environmental, and cultural tutorials; and we have seen the sustainability of cleanliness in the community as we help one another in the project. Due to the COVID19 pandemic, some activities and innovations were not pursued but we still did our best to help and support the community amid the pandemic situation.

Turning over of projects to the community leaders: The turn-over ceremony was shortened due to the safety protocols in the current community quarantine situation. Three community leaders, barangay councilors, community outreach program coordinator of Sacred Heart College, troop leader, my parents, and our council executive attended the ceremony. It was kind of saddening because the children and mothers, and parents were not able to attend the turn-over ceremony. In return, I have prepared a letter of remembrance to the elderly, leaders, and children in the community. We also shared our experiences, impressions, and gratitude. Our troop leader and council executive reminded the community to continue the started advocacy and properly maintain and care for the community learning center. I also expressed how thankful I was for the warm welcome and very active participation of the community towards my project. It felt great to see their smiles and feel their warm welcome after a very long time of being in a great distance with them due to the pandemic.

Evaluation: Due to the current pandemic situation, I have not taken the chance to meet the panel of evaluators but I used the internet platform to send and inform them about evaluating my performance and project. I truly learned and realized a lot of lessons as I pursue this project and I will do my best to not limit these experiences and learning to Girl Scouting alone. I challenge myself to continue doing my best to be of service and hear the cry of the needy and use everything that I learned in these very memorable and fulfilling experience to greater challenges and opportunities that I may face as I journey in life.

Preparation of Reports: Preparing for the reports made me consider having time management because we also need to accomplish some of the schoolwork and take breaks due to the affecting factors of being at home for a very long time caused by the pandemic. I managed to complete and overcome both the reports and other school-related tasks. I have created some reports before and these helped me to comply with the other required reports for the Chief Girl Scout Medal Scheme.