Every year at Camp Lumbini there are two themes that help shape the activities and teachings the Youth engage in. The themes of this year’s edition of Camp Lumbini were: Gonen and superheroes. “Gonen” is a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist term meaning “to protect and care for”, which matches well with the superhero theme. Gonen is present in many activities that occur during Camp Lumbini. For example, volunteer cooks (Joanne Kataoka, Grace Taguchi, Ray Nakano, Dave Saxby) every year cook meals for the counsellors and campers three times a day and the counsellors are able to provide campers with a safe environment to have fun and learn various Buddhist teachings. Despite being split into three competing groups, the campers help each other with daily chores and demonstrate empathy when others are feeling down.
As for the superhero theme, teams competed against each other and created their own crime fighting teams and developed cheers, posters, sand castles and skits with both themes in mind. Each group produced creative results and two groups even worked together and performed in each other’s skits.
This year, everybody welcomed Rev. Endo to Camp Lumbini for the first time. Rev. Endo arrived on Sunday and participated in daily activities with campers and delivered a Dharma talk about the importance of caring for our loved ones. In another Buddhism 101 session, Rev. Yanko delivered a Dharma talk about the connection that we share with everything and how it relates to Gonen. Over the course of the week, the whole camp went on excursions. Unfortunately the Elmvale drive-in is no longer open so everybody drove to Collingwood to see “Minions”. Other activities that everybody was able to participate in were bowling, mini-golf and a day-long rock climbing and caving trip led by Free Spirit Tours. Every year Camp Lumbini is a pleasure to attend and organize with the help of Rachel Kataoka and Koji Goto. Without the help of volunteers and the ministers, Camp Lumbini would not run as smoothly as it does. I look forward to attending Camp Lumbini next summer and welcoming new and returning campers and counsellors next year.