Featured Lucenahin: Girl Scouts of the Philippines Lucena City Executive Council Lorena Potestades
School’s back and busy days for students will soon be up ahead. With all the homework and projects that the students will be required to work on throughout the year, fun extra-curricular activities that they can take part in while earning some school credits there and learning some valuable lessons for the future here will bring a much-needed breath of fresh air.
For those who are still trying to decide what kinds of activities they can enroll their kids in, scouting is one of the things that you might want to look into.
This week, join us for an interview with Lorena E. Potestades, Council Executive of the Lucena City Girl Scout Council and our Featured Lucenahin, as she tells us about the organization, their activities, and the things that she learned and experienced from the job.
What do Girl Scout members usually do?
Plenty of fun and educational activities are open to Girl Scouts of the Philippines members. For example, we regularly organize outdoor activities where we take the kids camping to teach them basic survival techniques and other relevant skills. We also offer leadership training for those who are interested and willing to be a part of the movement and live up to its advocacies.
Aside from those, we also take them on educational tours for them to deeply appreciate the culture of other regions in the country as well as that of other countries in the world. We also instill awareness of social issues such as violence against women in our young girls.
What can Girl Scout members expect to learn from these activities?
We try to teach our girl scouts as much as we can, but we mostly focus on things that will always stick with them such as teaching them to become more sociable and self-reliant so that they can stand on their own but can also work with other people towards a common goal whenever necessary.
We also help them discover their strengths and weaknesses so that they’ll know which skills to enhance, which skills to work on, and how they can use them to tackle a given task. We basically exist to help young girls develop into responsible citizens and future leaders of our country.
Where do Girl Scout members usually hold their activities?
It depends on what type of event, but council-wide encampments where all girls from different schools/parts of the city can partake in are normally held in Candelaria. The GSP Southern Luzon Region have a camp site there.
Can you share your story on how you became a part of the Lucena Girl Scout Council?
I have always been a fan of Girl Scout activities. Way back then, I used to join day camps where I got the chance to meet new people and discover my talents and skills. I guess my curiosity and desire to discover what the world could offer led me to this career.
Incidentally, my sister-in-law was the former executive of the council and she offered me the position. My interest in the Girl Scout of the Philippines and its activities grew even more after I got employed in the Council.
As a Council Executive, what are some of your main duties?
Basically, as Council Executive, I manage the council, its staff, and programs. I work hand in hand with the Council President in overseeing all GSP Activities and ensuring that standards of the movement are met.
What would you consider to be the most challenging part of your job? What about the most rewarding?
The most challenging part of the job, like in any other organization, is, of course, accomplishing goals — both the council’s and my own. Amazingly, no matter how great my goals are as the Executive set by the National Headquarters, work at the GSP never feels like work — simply because love for work is part of the culture in our organization.
I always feel the support of my staff, my superiors, the officers, other Executives, and most of all, our volunteers. That is why I always welcome each day with so much excitement and happiness so that I can give back all the positive experiences that the organization is providing me to as many people as I can.
Were you also a girl scout when you were younger? If so, could you tell us some of your fondest memories as a GSP member?
Yes. I joined the GSP as a Junior Girl Scout back in ’95. My fondest moment with the GSP back then was learning how to cook rice without using a rice cooker. Also, joining drawing contests during day camps and receiving my badges after completing certain challenges. These experiences, I believe, led me to the discovery of my love for the arts.
Were there any particular lessons that you learned either from being a girl scout or from being a GSP council executive that you are particularly thankful for?
Out of the many lessons I learned from being a part of the organization, it is loving my country deeply that I value the most. I get emotional when I talk about my country because I love the Philippines so much. It’s so beautiful with so many wonderful people and a very rich culture which is oftentimes left unadmired. This gives me the passion to instill in our young girls the same love that I have for the country because I believe that if they have this in their hearts, the Philippines will shine even brighter in the future because we have citizens/leaders who live not only for themselves but for the good of this nation and its people.
What would you tell parents who might be wary of sending their kids to camp tours?
I can only advise the parents who are anxious to send their beloved girls camping to trust the troop leaders and camp staff who will be with their children for 3-5 days because they are in good hands. We will not let anything bad happen to their children. Rather, we’ll provide them with a different experience that they can be proud of.
As I said earlier, love for work is part of the culture in our organization, and it is a fact that we take good care of the ones we love. All we want for them is to learn and have fun. Surely, they will see the difference in their girls upon their return from the camp, even more, if they exposed their girls to scouting activities and programs more often.
How do girls interested in becoming scouts join the group?
If you are interested in joining the Girl Scouts of the Philippines, you may want to approach your GSP school coordinator or troop leaders and express your desire to join the organization. You can also visit us at the City Hall Annex in Barangay Isabang, Lucena City for inquiries and other concerns.
On a side note, although the GSP is an organization organized by and for women, we also accept people of the opposite gender who want to support the movement. We make them our associate or honorary members if they are in public service.