2014 CYEA’s Summer Camp
The goal of the Canadian Youth Elite Association (CYEA) is to intensively train young people from the age of 12 to 17 to be the leaders of tomorrow. One hundred participants from England, China, Hong Kong, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver joined the 12-day summer camp in the summer of 2014. The participants practiced The Meditation of Awakening Wisdom and the walking meditation of Energy Bagua, listened to Grandmaster JinBodhi’s teachings and were fortunate enough to have a live webcast Q&A session with him. In between meditation and leadership training such as group-bonding activities and public speaking practice, the group went hiking, canoeing, tree climbing and overnight camping for four days at Strathcona Park Lodge on Vancouver Island.
For many of the participants, this experience was a series of “firsts”. The first time they travelled to another country, lived with a group of their peers, worked as part of a team and were publicly emotional. For the first time, many of the youth had to put aside their own worries and concerns to work and play courageously alongside their team mates. Many grew from self-centered children to compassionate souls.
One day, the group hiked the Grouse Grind, a steep 2.9 kilometer (1.8 mile) trail up Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain (the summit is 3000 meters [9854 feet] above sea level). The hike can be intimidating and many people give up before reaching the top. Through mutual respect and team support, every one of the CYEA participants overcame their challenges and proudly completed the hike.
For many of the participants, the four-day camping trip was a new experience. The idea of sleeping outdoors or in cabins was foreign. Some envisioned camping on golden beaches with blue seas and small cabins, when in fact, camping proved for them to be rustic, damp and dusty. They came to appreciate the luxury of home.
A public display of emotion can be embarrassing for many. People tend to suppress their tears so not to reveal their vulnerability. However, for the first time in their life many cried in front of team mates and teachers. They learned that crying is part of what makes us human and that it takes courage to shed tears. Not all crying is caused by sorrow. Many cried when they were touched deeply by something they learned or felt and others cried simply because they were happy. More importantly, when someone did cry, their team mates cried with them.
Shy greetings on the first day grew into friendships that were hard to say good-bye to at the end of twelve days. Participants travelled home to their daily routines knowing that they had grown emotionally and transformed into caring, empathetic and compassionate leaders of tomorrow.