By Loreben Ll. Tuquero
Last July 16-18, 2017, in the summer of its 41st year of service, Ateneo Gabay gathered 30 individuals and took a trip to Laguna to spend three days of formation and fun on its annual Intersession Superplanning.
The Audacious and Resilient Gabay Officers (ARGO) spearheaded the project and facilitated the activities lined up for the planners.
Gabay’s “One Big Picture”
Finance Officer Jeepee Sabio gave the National Situationer to contextualize the changes that Gabay will be undertaking, which includes only catering to Grade 6 students and teaching them only math modules this year.
Following this situationer, the planners were divided into groups and participated in two activities which were facilitated by Julia Agida, Deputy for Human Resource and Development.
The first activity involved letting each member of the group pick a puzzle piece and draw it five times bigger, then convene with their groupmates to form the “big picture.”
For the second activity, the planners were again divided into groups and were tasked to tie two knots on a string that every member of the group was holding, without any of them letting go of the string at any time.
These activities aimed to let the members reflect and internalize Gabay’s “One Big Picture,” and that in all the organization’s efforts, each member had a significant role to play.
In the evening, the thrust for the school year was also revealed, which is to “develop existing efforts through introducing new approaches that would enable the organization’s sustainable impact on its sectors.”
After that, the members sat in a circle and were tasked to choose a random object that they felt encapsulated Gabay, and share their reasons with the group. This activity made them realize and internalize their individual reasons for joining and staying in the organization.
Project pitches and organizational development
The second day saw no decrease in energy, as the planners had a hearty breakfast and got ready for a major part of the Superplanning: the project pitch. But before that, some changes in Gabay were discussed by Niña Gochy, Internals Vice President.
The changes included the aforementioned changes in Erya, for the reason that they do not want Grade 5 students to be left behind in case there will be drastic changes in the future. Other changes were the integration of the Angel-Soul Scheme and Chill, moving Scholars’ Week to the second semester, and transferring rentals under OFO.
After discussing the changes, ARGO gave the mechanics for the project pitch. The groups were given around three and a half hours to convene with their groupmates to research, discuss, and plan every aspect of the project they were assigned to, and come up with a presentation.
The group that was assigned the GOrsem project won Best Pitch. Their project pitch was entitled “The GOrsem Fleece,” and they proposed to make the event an amazing race-type orientation. The group was comprised of Al Bontogon, Abi Madlangbayan, Mallory Ochava, and Elija Torre. The GOrsem group claimed another triumph, emerging as the overall winner of the Super GD.
Alex Retona was awarded Best Presenter for his part in Ulap Para sa Aklat group’s pitch. Meanwhile, Gio Silverio was awarded Best New Planner.
The Organizational Development planning followed after the project pitch presentations. The same groups did a World Café-style activity wherein they discussed which aspects they would “keep, remove, and innovate” in terms of Gabay’s efforts for member formation and leadership development, erya, social adjustment of scholars, academic excellence of scholars, advocacy building, and external communication.
The third day served as the planners’ time to wind down and reflect on their experience from the past two days. After synthesizing the planning seminar, they sat down to listen to Angel Aranas’ State of Gabay Address.
According to him, Gabay’s 40th year was “a year full of realizations and experimentations” and a successful year on the whole, citing how Gabayanos were able to understand the organization’s problems better, such as system inefficiency, project misalignment, and member burnout, and became more equipped to respond to them through focusing on continuity and sustainability.
“Malayo na ang narating ng Gabay, ngunit alam nating malayo pa rin tayo sa ating tunguhin,” he said, emphasizing on their goal to “pursue more coherent organizational efforts guided by our vision for our sectors.”
He alludes to the executive committee’s name, ARGO, in concluding, “The state of Gabay is persevering. Nakaabang na sa pampang ang mga barkong inihanda natin. Sama-sama tayong maglayag patungo sa mas nagmamahal na Gabay.”
The Superplanning ended with the traditional commitment sharing of the planners around the pool, followed by the singing of the Gabay song.
Members of the executive committee and facilitators shared their hopes for Gabayanos this school year. “Sana kahit papaano ‘yung mga nakapunta sa planning tumatak sa kanila ‘yung mga nangyari, and hindi lang maiwan doon sa venue ‘yung mga natutunan nila and madala nila sa Gabay and other orgs, or [sa] life nila [mismo],” says Niña Gochy.
Jeepee Sabio hopes that members will continue loving the organization as it is. “Overall, [sana] yung members natin ay mas makita pa talaga yung mas malalim na pinanggagalingan ng Gabay as an organization that aims to address the education sector, the public elementary schoolchildren, and scholarships, and our advocacy in general,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Julia Agida hopes that “Sa lahat ng ginagawa nilang efforts, sa lahat ng sasalihan nilang efforts sa Gabay, makita nila palagi yung purpose nun and makita nila lahat ng efforts as a whole.”
Cid Gonzales, a first-time planner, said he expected the Superplanning to really just be a planning seminar, but he found it to be more of a leadership training. He enjoyed it and liked the balance between the planning and the fun. “Madami din naman akong nakilala na di ko pa ka-close na members,” he said.
On the other hand, Beloved Abigail Madlangbayan, who is a veteran planner, said that the activities this year were better in that they helped her realize her role in Gabay. “Medyo na-idealize kong parang, anong current state ko ngayon as a Gabayano… nakita ko ‘yung organization in a smaller scale dun sa activities na ginawa natin,” she said.