Family Camp at Milarepa Centre
Family Camp Milarepa Centre
Family Camp Milarepa Centre

By Kasia Beznoska

(FDCW would like to whole-heartedly rejoice in Kasia becoming the new Director of LKPY (Loving Kindness Peaceful Youth), an international education project.)

Every summer at Milarepa Centre's annual family camp, a Buddhist-related theme is chosen for children to explore and learn about through meditation, art activities, a children's play, and many games fostering cooperative learning. 

This summer, we decided to incorporate the 16 Guidelines into the theme as a way of beginning to create a foundation for children to learn from, which combines the Buddhist tradition with a secular way of learning. This year we chose the guideline "generosity", since it paired well with our Buddhist theme of Creating a Compassionate Mandala. Throughout the entire weekend, children participated in activities that helped to awaken their ability to practice generosity, which in turn created a more compassionate environment for themselves and others to live in. One way the children practiced generosity was by "Noticing Acts of Kindness and Generosity". We asked the campers to keep track of ways their friends were helping during one of the days at camp. Then later in the afternoon, we came together as a group and talked about how others were being generous or kind throughout the day. Then everyone was able to pick special items (beautiful rocks, gems, and feathers) out of a box. We all used these items to create our camp outdoor Nature Mandala together. By using everyone's "acts of generosity and kindness", we were able to create something beautiful to the eye. Then we talked about how all that energy created by generosity and kindness spreads through the wind and space to reach all sentient beings! 

It is a hope that we can interweave the 16 Guidelines more each year, along with a traditional Buddhist theme for children, in order to create a solid framework from which they can learn, play and live harmoniously both at camp and when they return home.