Tzu Chi Bohol recently conducted a Youth Camp at Carmelite Learning Center in Tontonan, Loon Bohol last July 28-29, with a delightful attitude of compassion and charity, which left an indelible mark on the 80 young participants. The camp, which aimed to nurture both the mind and the soul, concentrated on establishing key values such as filial piety, vegetarianism, self-awareness, and proper etiquette Along with these priceless teachings by the senior commissioners, the campers got the opportunity to showcase their abilities, create teamwork, and lead healthy lifestyles through daily exercises.

All the participants and volunteers are welcome by our very own Darwin Apduhan the Youth Camp Head, “Tzu Chi Foundation does not focus on its volunteer scholars and on those communities that are in need but this time Tzu Chi Foundation opens its hearts to those community youth who are imparted so much effort, render the effort to make Tzu Chi Bohol effective to the Bohol community. That’s why Tzu Chi Bohol conducted this activity so that Tzu Chi youth or the community of Tzu Chi Bohol could carry the lesson, not just the lesson that learn from their perspective homes but a lesson that can be imparted to their life.”

As part of the camp’s curriculum, the youth had the opportunity to attend a heartfelt speech on filial piety delivered by Brother Rey Peñalosa. With wisdom gained from years of experience, he shared inspiring anecdotes and personal stories that resonated deeply with the audience. His speech left a profound impact on the campers, motivating them to reflect on their relationships with their parents and to cherish the moments spent with loved ones.

“Being filial is the most rewarding thing in life. So, while your parents are still alive, make them feel the love while there is still a chance,” Brother Rey Peñalosa reminded the campers.

This meaningful discussion allowed the campers to grasp the significance of cherishing and respecting their elders, deepening their appreciation for family bonds.

One of the campers was touched by the lecture of Brother Rey Peñalosa, “I’m shocked, honestly, because I expected Tzu Chi to be a recreational activity, like charity work; I didn’t expect them to be involved in our family like our parents. That’s why I was touched because they enlightened our minds.”

Every morning at the Tzu Chi Youth Camp began with invigorating exercises. Physical fitness was an essential component of the camp’s agenda, emphasizing the importance of a healthy body and mind. The morning exercise routine not only boosted energy levels but also promoted camaraderie as campers exercised together, supporting and motivating each other.

In a world often marred by hardships and adversities, it becomes easy to lose sight of the abundance of blessings we have. Amid the hustle and bustle of modern life, a simple lesson from Brother Joseph Co, a wise and compassionate man, provides profound insight into appreciating the blessings we often take for granted. By encouraging us to witness suffering, Brother Joseph advocates that we can truly understand and value the blessings we have in our lives.

“We need to know our blessings because blessings will turn away negative karma, and then you will realize that if you do good, good karma will come back to you,” Bro. Joseph Co.

The campers adopted vegetarianism to Tzu Chi’s compassionate philosophy. Brother Michael Siao speaks on the environment and the benefits of eating more veggies, not only for our health but also for the benefit of our country. This encounter deepened their love for all living creatures and made them appreciate the power of their choices in creating a more sustainable and compassionate world.

“We have a chance every day to help solve the global disaster. Actually, this change starts with the food that we eat,” Brother Michael Siao stated.

Brother Michael’s speech encouraged the young participants to be mindful of their dietary choices and consider the environmental and ethical implications of their food consumption. Through adopting a vegetarian diet during the camp, many campers discovered the joys of exploring new and healthier food options.

One of the highlights of the camp was the DIY Pancit Canton activity. Campers were divided into groups, each tasked with creating their version of this classic Filipino dish under the guidance of Brother Ericson Go Giap.  Through this hands-on culinary experience, the youth learned the values of cooperation, teamwork, and resourcefulness. They discovered that success is often a result of collaboration and mutual support. More than just a culinary adventure, the DIY Pancit Canton activity symbolized the importance of working together towards a common goal.

The youth were encouraged to demonstrate their talents in a group setting after the bonfire-sharing sessions in the evening on the second day of the camp. The talent showcase provided a platform for the youth to shine and celebrate their unique abilities, creating an atmosphere of support and encouragement among the campers. The campers’ talents and creativity also came to the fore during the much-anticipated talent showcase. Through collaborative group performances, they displayed their diverse skills, whether in music, dance, or storytelling. The act of sharing and appreciating each other’s abilities fostered a strong sense of unity and camaraderie, leaving them with memories to cherish for a lifetime.

As the sun sets on the final day of the Tzu Chi Youth Camp, a sense of gratitude and fulfillment fills the hearts of the camp participants. Among them is Kyla, who can’t help but feel fortunate to have experienced this transformative journey. The Tzu Chi Youth Camp has left an indelible mark on her heart, reminding her of the profound power of compassion and the joy of helping others.

“It’s the first time I’ve participated in a youth camp ever, and I’m grateful because the first time I attended a youth camp, I realized a lot of fun memories and lessons. It has a good impact on who you are as you grow as a person, and I also realized that it is not necessary to have a circle of friends from your barangay. In this youth camp, I met other friends in our barangay and got to know my roommate, who is from a different barangay,” Kyla eagerly shares.

Emmanuel Lapatan, one of the group papas of the camp, shared Kyla’s sentiment of gratitude and appreciation. As the camp’s final moments approached, he couldn’t help but reflect on the invaluable knowledge he gained during his time with Tzu Chi. “I can only say that I am very thankful that I was given the opportunity to join the camp. I am very thankful to Tzu Chi because I have learned a lot in the youth camp, such as that by loving another person, we can know their feelings no matter what.” Emelito said, his eyes bright with newfound wisdom.

Brother Joven Uy, the Deputy Coordinator of Tzu Chi Bohol, took a moment to express his deepest gratitude to the dedicated staff, personnel, and selfless volunteers who traveled from Manila and Cebu to lend their support.

“Today we are about to end our 3 days of Community life camp. This is the first time that we have done this to invite the youth that comes to our Tzu Chi community and in these 3 days I found the lesson that youth have learned that they will need those lessons for their daily lives in the future, we hope by sponsoring this we have also made our Tzu Ching be a leader to organize things, So we thank the organizer, the staff, the volunteers that made this all happen. Thank you.”

In conclusion, the Tzu Chi Youth Camp was an enriching and transformative experience for all the campers involved. It combined fun activities with profound life lessons, leaving them with a deeper understanding of filial piety, compassion, self-worth, and social responsibility. The camp’s success can be measured by the smiles on the campers’ faces, the lasting friendships formed, and the newfound wisdom they carry with them as they venture forth into the world.

Tzu Chi Bohol would also like to thank the 10 volunteers who came from Manila, 3 from Cebu, and 29 from Bohol, as well as the 37 Tzu Ching Personnel and 19 staff who helped make the event a huge success.