The 2nd MPG Mindanao Leadership Summit for Athletes (MLSA) was hosted by Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) in Butuan City last July 26 to 28. The MLSA is a 3-day event for athletes of the MPG member schools where they experience workshops that would help them identify key areas they can contribute to their schools or communities when they go back home.

The first day of the summit focused on the following topics that were discussed by different speakers:
1. The Role of the Youth and Young Athletes in Sports to the Peacebuilding Efforts in Mindanao – Sophie Schellens, Project Manager, forumZFD
2. Being a Storyteller: How to best maximize social media in sharing inspiring sports stories of Mindanao – Patrick Van Wersch, Journalist and Blogger, www.vanwerschwrites.com/
3. Life Lessons Learned from a Year of Volunteerism – Gabriel Catolico, Volunteer, Madaris Volunteer Program
4.Culture Building Through Sports – Noli Ayo, Athletics Director, Ateneo de Davao University

On the second day, all the athletes and their coaches had the chance to experience being paddlers on a Dragon Boat. Fr. Chito Butardo, FSUU’s VP for Administrative and Student Affairs, and FSUU Dragon Boat Team’s Manager, shared his thoughts on Leadership Lessons found in Dragon Boat.

On the third day, participants spent the morning doing Zumba, playing a filipino childhood game, and doing an improvised swim relay. The afternoon was a wrap up workshop session where participants did their action planning and committed to doing their planned group projects in their schools or communities. Thereafter they had a very useful workshop on self-protection, followed by a lecture on safe behavior on the web, held by Fully-Verified. The whole program ended with a formal dinner on the third day, with athletes sharing a notable tradition that they found to be significant in their school culture.

Two of our Ateneo de Davao University participants give their testimonial about their MPG MLSA experience:

“Attending MLSA for the first time was such a life-changing experience. Hearing inspirational talks from amazing speakers and meeting coaches as well as other athletes from different schools and backgrounds has broadened my perspective and I have established new friendships. MLSA has also taught me that I must step outside my comfort zone and that I cannot be what I cannot see; and the change I want to see can only start with me. Thank you MLSA for giving me a better mindset to make a change. As Sophie Schellens said “Change starts with YOU” – Elisha Bird, AdDU, Volleyball

“The MLSA basically oriented me on what efforts I can do beyond sports for greater motives, and how I can do them. During the three full days filled with forums and practical activities, I have learned the impact of relationships through those that I have built with my fellow athletes. I was able to meet different people from different cultures, and I realized how much change can be done by having sports as a common ground. The 3-day program was not only a matter of orientation. It also transformed me as an individual I did not know I was going to be. I have learned that coaches contribute to the characters of their athletes, and mold them into greater individuals with greater aspirations beyond sports. Thus, I am now motivated and eager to challenge myself in building such athletes. Now that I am back in Davao, i will start to act on my learnings by committing to be a student-coach.” – Zuleika Yee, AdDU Women’s Football Team

Written by: Simone Jaldon, JHS Sports Officer, ADDU Men’s Football Coach