Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ - Champion Spotlight Series - Camp Aruga: Restoring Wellness, Reigniting Purpose, Rekindling Relationships 4527

Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ - Champion Spotlight Series - Camp Aruga: Restoring Wellness, Reigniting Purpose, Rekindling Relationships


By Marlon Garzo Saria, PhD, RN, OCN, NEA-BC, NPD-BC, FAAN

Aruga [noun] – nurture, care

In a bid to shape the next generation of leaders, Philippine Nurses Association of America, Inc. (PNAA) launched Camp Aruga, a Transformative Leadership Development Boot Camp designed to cultivate unity among its chapters, improve competencies among its leaders, increase resilience among its members, and create our own roadmap to achieve the goal of health equity. The third in a series of camps planned across the four regions of PNAA for 2023 was held at Skyland in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. This recently concluded camp brought together leaders from the 11 chapters of the Eastern Region of PNAA.

It is not a coincidence that camps are held in state and national parks and nature centers. Camp Aruga activities alternated between indoor and outdoor settings. The venues allowed an optimal learning experience that took participants away from the usual daily distractions and media. Outdoor settings also provide an opportunity to support wellness activities that are aligned with the goals of Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation. Guided by evidence that being nurtured by nature can perk up a tired brain, Camp Aruga integrated wellness activities, including an early morning outdoor Zumba session, a planned campfire event upgraded with blinking lights and glow sticks, and an early morning hike.

Throughout the weekend, participants were immersed in a series of workshops, interactive sessions, and wellness activities, all designed to challenge their existing perspectives and help them evolve into more effective leaders. With an impressive lineup of leadership experts and motivational speakers, Camp Aruga covered a wide range of topics including effective governance, values-driven leadership, emotional intelligence, leading advocacy, shaping DEIBSJ (diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and social justice) strategies, and cultivating resilience. Participants were encouraged to step out of their comfort zones and engage in activities where they had to navigate complex situations and find innovative solutions.
One of the standout features of Camp Aruga was its emphasis on leading the self, peer learning and collaboration. Networking opportunities were abundant, allowing participants to build relationships that could potentially extend beyond the camp.

Feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive, with many noting the immediate impact the camp had on their leadership abilities and contributions on promoting diversity and inclusivity within their chapters. Many who attended Camp Aruga came with an expectation to learn a few things about leadership and left with a profound sense of self-awareness and a toolkit of strategies they can implement right away.

The culminating activity was a team hike to Stony Man, the second-highest mountain in Shenandoah National Park. The early morning climb provided a perfect metaphor for high performing teams: reaching the summit together not in spite of, but because of our differences. The rising sun provided a perfect backdrop for our Camp Aruga and it's evident that the event has left an indelible mark on the participants, empowering them to embrace their leadership potential and make meaningful contributions to their chapters and communities.


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Blog Champion Spotlight 09/19/2023 1:39pm CDT

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