2015 Children’s Weekend Camp

Angelina (Sutra Study A)

For the Children’s Camp, Bao Lin was transformed into a children’s Buddhist wonderland, bursting with colours, lovely posters, balloons and lively music. It showcased the weeks of planning and hard work by all the shifus and the huge input by the many dedicated dharma supporters to bring the camp to a successful fruition.

Learning in a happy interacting environment was the best form of learning. All the children and adults had a great time with the program jammed packed with activities, from challenging games, making pizzas, meditation, chanting, learning about Buddhist etiquettes, Dharma instruments, Dharma talks, crafts, play performance, martial art and singing. There was never a dull moment.

First up on Sunday was martial art training. It was a very popular session, not only with the children but with some enthusiastic parents as well. The icy cold winter morning soon melted with the vibrant energy there. It was so enjoyable I was sure they had wished for more.

To manage some forty children of varied ages from 5 – 15 was not an easy task. It was quite a challenge for the team leaders. The feedback was positive, they have learned through their experience on how to handle kids.

The theme of the camp was on the Four Tenets of Chung Tai:

To our elders be respectful
To our juniors be kind
With all humanity be harmonious
In all endeavors be true

The practice of the four tenets was reflected in the children’s behaviour and actions. The Children’s Camp Workbook provides valued materials and exercises to reinforce their daily practice. It is written in a simple, easy to understand language, concise and yet comprehensive in its content. I have gleamed benefits from reading it myself.

Hat off and a big bow to the Abbess, Shifus and Dharma supporters, especially those behind the scene, for their dedicated and untiring effort. A big hand to the children who participated. Lots of merits were created. I am sure they have had great fun, immense joy and look forward to another camp in the future.

Yenni (Beginner’s meditation class)

At first, I was worried, concerned not knowing if I can cope with handling so many kids. That’s why I even joked and made sarcastic comments about the camp. I think it was reflected too at the first half hour or so. Just like the kids, I needed time to warm up to them. But once Megan got cosier with me, I knew I have fallen in love with the kids.

On the prep side, I learned that Bao Lin is a perfectionist, with great attention to details.

It has, therefore, dawn on me the importance of volunteering, without the assistance of all these volunteers and of course the institution, these great activities wouldn’t have happened.

It is both enjoyable and stressful especially when it was crunch time. I guess we all then can apply our meditation technique and learn to be patient, have clearer mind to solve all issues.

From the kids camp, I learned that there is so much to learn from kids.

Kids are amazing as they are honest and pure, it’s ‘you see what you get’ that kind of feeling. When they are tired, or bored, they just say it, they don’t hold back. One kid daringly told another kid to stop bothering him, to stop talking to him and to stop telling him what to do because the other kid isn’t his boss! I would really loooooveee to say this sometime! Hahahahahahaha.

They are energetic, positive and just keen and curious.

They take on challenges, to happily trying their best to solve them.

Reflecting this on adulthood, we over-complicate things, we over-analyse things and we lose the fun in us. Everything is harder, everything is easier said than done before we even attempt doing anything. We no longer can say or do things that we love doing, probably also because we are too busy worrying or are preoccupied by other unimportant things; as a result we don’t even know what we like doing. We also don’t forgive as easily as the kids do. We hold grudges, and hatred in us and then wonder why we are miserable all the time!

Having said that, adulthood also has its own appeals. We have responsibilities now, we have the skills and abilities to effect changes around us. We can go travelling, we can meet different people and learn their life stories. We love, we have our heart broken, we trust and we are betrayed. Those are all experiences that although was hard at the time, I wouldn’t trade it for anything now.

So, in conclusion, I loved the opportunity to be a team leader in this kid’s camp.

I love the 2 days, even though it was tough at the time; but again I wouldn’t want it any other way.

It is great to be kids, there are lots to learn.

But it is also great being an adult.

Life is a journey and every experience must be treasured.