Everyday camp life and the Eightfold Path
A day at Camp Lumbini starts with some minor exercise quickly followed by a service run by a counsellor with the help of some youth aged 8-12. The youth are introduced to etiquette during service and some basic instruction on how to conduct service. Following service the youth participate in team building and competitive games and some less strenuous activity such as arts and crafts, all relating to the Buddhist theme of the week (Eightfold Noble Path). Although Camp Lumbini is filled with fun, the youth and counsellors all help clean the camp after every meal. Every year each group creates their own cheer, poster and skit relating to the theme of camp. At the end of the week, the skits are presented. This year, the skits demonstrated the youth’s understanding of the Eightfold Noble Path mixed in with a lot of hilarity. Every other day, there are larger activities organized for all attendees of Camp Lumbini that includes: bowling, a movie screening, canoeing/ kayaking and mini golf. Camp Lumbini provides youth the opportunity to create bonds with other youth while engaging in and reflecting on the Dharma. Although some youth do not always attend regular service, Camp Lumbini provides way for attendees to participate in their own way and even return as counsellors to positively influence the next generation of our youth.
Unfortunately, we were unable to expose Ouchi-sensei to camp life and formally introduce him to the youth attending camp this year. In his stead, we welcomed Joanne Yuasa-sensei from Vancouver. Yuasa-sensei had previously made connections with some counsellors and quickly became very popular among the youth and young adults attending Camp Lumbini. Yuasa-sensei held workshops teaching the youth about perception and oneself and others and another on how your own good conduct can resonate with the people surrounding you. Both workshops explored the relation to some tenets of the Eightfold Noble Path (view, thought, speech, conduct, livelihood, endeavour, meditation and mindfulness). In addition to the workshops, Yuasa-sensei engaged in daily activity with enthusiasm whether it was arts and crafts or everyday chores and was able to quickly bond with all attendees of Camp Lumbini very easily. Thanks to Yuasa-sensei’s workshops, I noticed that the youth were more mindful of their actions and speech and embodied the Eightfold Noble Path in their daily lives without noticing. There are countless of examples of youth assisting each other when other are in need, working closely in teams and always putting forth their strongest effort in any activity. Thank you Yuasa- sensei for coming to Camp Lumbini and sharing your knowledge of the Dharma and helping make the week a success. In addition to Yuasa-sensei, we had a team of volunteer parents who prepared every meal during the week to which we owe our deepest gratitude. Finally, I would also like to thank the counsellors and my two co- directors (Koji Goto and Rachel Kataoka) for helping provide a fun and safe environment to the youth attending Camp Lumbini. Without the help of all the volunteers, Camp Lumbini would not run as smoothly as it does every year.