The Nan Hua Local Children’s Camp takes place for the third consecutive year now and for the first time the South African youth volunteered to facilitate the camp. This proves that there is a growth in interest and therefore more people can be reached in the years to come. The communication barrier between the locals and the people living at the Nan Hua Temple was enhanced. It was easy getting through to the children as they were more trusting towards them. The children also opened up to their leaders as they share the same cultural backgrounds. It is because of this that the leaders were more understanding towards them and knew which approach to take towards everything.
Living a Buddhist life is centred upon Doing good deeds, Saying good words and Thinking good thoughts. Through this camp we tried to instil each of these within the leaders but mainly within the children who attended the camp. We all know that giving is better than receiving so as leaders we took time out of our own lives and dedicated it to putting a smile on someone else’s face other than our own. It is important to remember that being human is about compassion, caring and loving for one another. Most of the children who attended the camp come from less privileged backgrounds and under these circumstances it is easy for the child to think that their social standing determines their future. Knowing the kind of background that the children come from made it very important for the leaders to include in the program lectures that would motivate and inspire them.
Having only two days and one night to spend with children the programme was filled with a lot of fun activities as well as lectures to address issues that are of importance at their age, these include abuse, hygiene, future aspirations and Buddhist teachings. We also exposed the children to art and music lessons because we strongly believe that it is important for a child to experience a variety of many things in order for them to identify their interests. The main event of the entire camp was the Treasure Hunt in which the children were required to answer a series of questions on the topics that were addressed in all the lectures. They all performed very well and they each received a completion certificate giving them recognition for their participation in the camp.
The children reflected that they did indeed learn a lot from this experience. They learnt to become hard workers in order to reach their goals, they learnt to become better people and they had enjoyed themselves immensely.
This camp gave the leaders the opportunity to develop themselves and remind them that they are the leaders of tomorrow. Even though it was a new experience for the volunteers they managed to make the camp a great success. You cannot change the world as one person but you can change the world to one person!