Creating an Enchanted Generation: CYEA Summer Camp
“Your life success is accumulated by each small success.”
In the summer of 2014, 100 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 gathered in Vancouver to participate in Bodhi Meditation’s Canadian Youth Elite Association’s (CYEA) 12-day summer camp. These campers from England, China, Hong Kong, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver practiced The Meditation of Awakening Wisdom and were fortunate enough to have a live online Q&A session with Grandmaster JinBodhi. They also faced some physical and emotional challenges.
Camper Arthur Wong said, “I expected a fun summer camp with all my friends, lots of learning and exercising.” During the camp, he realized that he had more faith in himself than he thought he did. As long as he believed in himself, he could accomplish his goals. He surpassed his limits while experiencing the thrill of tree climbing, high ropes and ziplining.
A four-day camping trip included sleeping outdoors or in cabins. Many had imagined golden beaches with blue seas and small cabins. Instead, camping proved to be rustic, damp and dusty. The group came to appreciate the luxury of home.
Everyone put aside their own worries and concerns to work and play courageously alongside their teammates. The group hiked the intimidating Grouse Grind, a steep 2.9 kilometer (1.8 mile) trail up Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain (the summit is 3,000 meters [9,854 feet] above sea level). Through mutual respect and team support, every one of the CYEA participants overcame their challenges and proudly completed the hike.
“I watched the campers apply the teaching to know their limit and then go beyond,” said one of the camp organizers Irene Li. “Activities such as tree climbing and ziplining might sound easy, but they were a huge challenge for the campers.” She was inspired by the words of their teacher: “Your life success is accumulated by each small success.” Her wish that the participants would love the camp was realized as she witnessed the bonding between the campers.
The group learned that people don’t cry just because of sorrow and sadness. Some 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 teammates cried with them.
Irene said that her confidence was greatly boosted by hearing how much the campers enjoyed themselves; that confidence was projected through her impromptu public speaking, quick decision making and creative problem solving. As she moves forward in her life, she expects to conquer, surpass and move beyond her limitations.
For Kara Zhang, a group leader and the camp’s Outdoor Program Coordinator, the camp had a huge impact in terms of leadership. As she led the group through personal-growth experiences she realized her own leadership capabilities. She gained confidence as a leader to take on more leadership roles and improved as a public speaker in both Chinese and English.
She witnessed the power of meditation and the extensive benefits. Physically, the camp was exhausting, but thanks to meditation her body survived the 12 days. Mentally, she was able to find clarity and the ability to focus, despite lack of sleep, as well as find solutions for many leadership and group problems, while practicing The Meditation of Awakening Wisdom.
The shy greetings on the first day grew into friendships that were hard to say goodbye to at the end of 12 days. Participants traveled home to their daily routines knowing that they could apply the “believe in myself” tool to achieve more scholastically. They knew they had transformed into caring, empathetic and compassionate leaders of tomorrow.