Thursday, Apr 15

Tzu Chi Youth Camp Day 1

June 07, 2019 | Anna Geronimo

Tzu Chi Youth organizers prepared rows of stuffed toys to welcome their new owners. 【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

Story Highlights

  • This year’s theme for the Tzu Chi Foundation’s youth camp is “Gratitude, Respect, Life, and Love”.


This year’s theme for the Tzu Chi Foundation’s youth camp is “Gratitude, Respect, Life, and Love”

Entering the assembly room, a line of assorted cute stuffed toys with name tags greet the new campers. They are this year’s attendees’ buddies to care for.

Senior commissioner Judy Lao opens with a riveting history of Tzu Chi and the Eight footprints. The Tzu Chi foundation has been here for fifty-three years; its founder, Dharma Master Shih Cheng Yen saying, “For Buddhism, For all Beings”.  She said that we need to encourage the youth because they do not have a direction yet. The youths might think that Tzu Chi foundation is for old folks, but what they don't realize is that the youth can very well be a part of this international organization that is still growing. She also presented photos of the former youth camp members who are now working in the different departments of the Tzu Chi Foundation here and abroad.

Youth leader Loren Sy tells us during break, “We just followed the theme of this year which is “Gratitude and Respect all living beings”. Since we want our new Tzu Chi Youth to be grateful for everything they have and to pay their respects to their parents as well, so for our Tzu Chi Youth Camp we also have sessions about filial piety and charity since Master Cheng Yen told us that there are two things in life that cannot wait: One is doing good deeds and the other one is being filial to our parents. Master Cheng Yen told us that the youth are the hope of the future so we need our youths to become a role model for other youths so that they may be able to influence others to do good as well”

After a quick snack break, each group presented their group cheer for this camp, followed by an in depth talk of Tzu Chi Etiquette by Gina Lo that tackles on the different Tzu Chi etiquette that presents the beauty of uniformity in a big organization.

Patrick Ngo, the head disciplinarian, says “So far I’ve invited my father to Tzu Chi then my father invited my uncle then eventually we invited my sister and my cousin. Actually I want my sister Shanelle to experience a new environment and have a new circle of friends as well because I’d like her to experience that camaraderie and friendship”

Shanelle tells us after “Our family parang knew about Tzu Chi a long time because we grew up watching Daai TV, so technically my brother was the first one to join this organization and ever since he joined the youth camp, I was next in line with our siblings. I wanted to try Tzu Chi out because at home, we saw that his mannerisms have changed. He grew gentler. My dad too!  His becoming a part of the organization and influenced our family in joining this organization.

After lunch, Edward So and Lino Sy presented to the campers the Tzu Chi Ten Precepts. After another snack break, Dr. Robert Sy gave a very entertaining but also eye-opening presentation about the different Medical Missions that the Tzu Chi foundation does. So inspiring was his talk, that a number of delighted campers eagerly decided they wanted to attend the next medical mission in July.

For the next two hours, there was the Field Games, where each team goes to a designated station and plays a different game. There was a competitive air that surrounded the excited campers and their respective team leaders.

After Dinner, a talk about Environmental Protection was given by Auntie Helen Tomwong. After the Master’s Talk, a group activity called Starry Starry Night where each team shares and swap stories in a dim room surrounded by tiny lotus shaped lanterns took place. And with that, after a very interesting first day, it ends.

  • Youth leader Loren Sy lead the prayer chant before lunch. 【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • Participants joined in the question and answer games. 【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • The Tzu Chi Youths enjoying their home made vegetarian empanadas prepared by the kitchen volunteers. 【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • Doctor Robert Sy shared his Tzu Chi experience in the medical missions with the youth. 【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • The campers all listen enraptured. 【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • A staff member looks on very amused as the camper had a hard time guessing the word. 【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • Campers wacky posing after finishing a station in the Field Games. 【Photo by Anna Geronimo】