General Santos City is abuzz with lively and joyful energy as the Gensan Summer Youth Festival (GSYF) 2023 opens on May 20 at the Pioneer Junction, one of the busy streets at the heart of the city dedicated to its pioneering settlers.
With the theme "Kabataang Heneral: Lead. Grow. Progress," GSYF 2023 ignited the spirit of the city's young generation, marking the start of the largest and longest annual youth festival in Mindanao.
GSYF is organized by the City Mayor’s Office-Youth Affairs and Development Office (CMO-YADO), which promotes and encourages the active participation of youth representatives from the 26 barangays of Gensan.
Prior to the official program, a multitude of youth participated in a colorful parade, braving the rain as they showcased their eagerness and resilience as youthful enthusiasts and advocates, leaders, athletes, performers, and Sangguniang Kabataan council officers and members of the different barangays.
City Councilor and Sangguniang Kabataan-City Federation President John Salvador Demdam highlighted the festival's mission, which, according to him, is to inspire young leaders, foster teamwork, and ignite youth passion to create positive change, not only within the city but also throughout the whole nation.
Expressing delight, City Mayor Lorelie Geronimo-Pacquiao also encouraged the youth to actively participate in events like GSYF, as she described it as a good platform to exhibit their talents and abilities as the champions of General Santos City.
The local chief executive emphasized to the youth the importance of seeking guidance and wisdom through prayer, while promoting respect and understanding among them.
Mayor Pacquiao led the lighting of the torch before declaring the official opening of the festival. The athletes then took the oath of sportsmanship as a symbol of camaraderie and a promise of fair play.
As the night drew to a close, the electrifying sounds of Gensan's premier reggae band, Kuerdas, filled the air during the Youth Convergence concert, leaving the crowd feeling excited and in high spirits.
The GSYF 2023 celebration, which spans 45 days, ends on June 30, 2023. (Harlem Jude Ferolino, PIA-SarGen)