The new camp site of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. Kool Adventure Camp (RAFI-KAC) formally opened its doors today with an inauguration ceremony attended by no less than Department of Education Undersecretary for External Linkages Mario Deriquito and Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III.
A flagship program of RAFI under its Leadership & Citizenship focus area, RAFI-KAC is the first and only fully dedicated Adventure Education Center in the Philippines. Its mission is to equip organizations and individuals with the character, competence and citizenship to be leaders of change, through powerful learning experiences.
What sets it aside from other institutions involved in team building and adventure programs is that they are mostly for entertainment and leisure, while KAC is a whole lot more.
In the words of RAFI President Roberto “Bobby” Aboitiz, “RAFI-KAC is a serious attempt to build leadership attributes in the Filipino youth… The Center will offer programs that are designed to be fun, but in purpose to promote self-confidence, trust, optimism, positive attitude, courage, respect for others, and the assumption of one’s responsibility for one’s own future.”
KAC started in 1999 and has since conducted over 300 adventure programs to a total of over 10,000 participants for both the youth development programs and professional development programs.
“The critical first step towards creating real change in the community is the belief and confidence that you can make the difference. Through specially designed and facilitated learning experiences, all our campers experience personal empowerment and breakthroughs in what they believe they can achieve,” said RAFI-KAC Camp Director Edvan Loh.
“Our campers also graduate with strong leadership skills and team values which are tested, practiced and developed throughout the course of our programs. This is how KAC best supports RAFI’s thrust of touching the lives of people we serve,” he added.
Loh leads a competent staff that went through a rigorous training regimen before they were made to handle any program. The training involved Risk Assessment and Management, CRC Safety Standards, First Aid and Basic Life Support, Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics as well as training on soft skills such Adventure Programming, Facilitation, and Games and Initiatives Leadership.
A number of RAFI-KAC’s senior staff members are also certified as Leave No Trace Masters Educator, Kayak Coach and Wilderness Medical First Responder and Challenge Ropes Course Practitioner, and are proficient in Abseiling and Lifesaving, with trainings received in international institutions like National Outdoor Leadership School, Outward Bound Singapore and Project Adventure.
RAFI-KAC is likewise an organizational member of the Association for Experiential Education based in the US. Through this affiliation, the RAFI-KAC staff members are able to learn from experts in the field and benchmark with the best practices from all over the world.
The new site is located at KM 42 of the transcentral highway in Barangay Cansomoroy, Balamban town, in south-western Cebu. It is about an hour-and-a-half drive to the west from Cebu City via the transcentral highway.
“We need to have a permanent location for the KAC so that our target participants will achieve better learning experience from the much improved facilities and new course elements that we are integrating in the camp,” said RAFI Chief Operating Officer Dominica B. Chua, in explaining why the Foundation devoted significant amount of resources in building the camp.
In particular, RAFI-KAC’s Youth Development Programs include Character and Leadership Adventure Camps, Land and Sea Expedition Programs, Urban Heritage Backpacking and Eco-Adventure Service Learning Programs. The Professional Development Programs, on the other hand, include Adventure Training & Consulting, Challenge Course Synergy Programs, Leadership & Development Adventure Courses and Corporate Expedition Series.
RAFI KAC will also offer the following courses focused on developing more adventure educators in the country: Outdoor Educators Training Course, Leave No Trace – Outdoor Ethics Trainers Course, Adventure Training Course for Teachers and Games & Initiatives Workshop.
“These state of the art amenities and adventure programs in the camp site complements our desire to make the Kool Adventure Camp a premier center for experiential learning in this part of the region,” said Chua.
She emphasized that safety is a paramount priority for RAFI KAC, which is why it is ingrained in the organizational systems, program procedures and the staff, particularly in the compliance with policies and adherence to protocols, as well as benchmarking with international standards and practices. Local operating procedure and risk assessment and management also guided the programming design to ensure all activities have been approved to be safe for the participants.
Loh said that “in the Philippines, RAFI KAC is the only associate member of the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT), a trade organization serving Challenge Course Professionals all over the world, whose purpose is to promote the use of Challenge Courses and to set minimum standards for Challenge Course installation, operation and inspection.”
RAFI-KAC’s regular program offering is a three-day, two night challenge ropes course program, but its courses can be as short as a single-day program or as long as a ten-day combined land and sea expedition activity with a service learning component. RAFI-KAC can also fully customize a program to meet the training needs of participants and clients.
For additional information, interested individuals and organizations may visit www.kac.rafi.org.ph, or contact RAFI-KAC at (032) 260-9000 local 1001, or email [email protected] #
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Roxanne is an aspiring digital nomad. A virtual assistant since October 2009. She is a hobbyist blogger, photographer and travels a lot.