The BGA Camp & General Meeting

Thank you all for joining your hearts and minds in performing the June Monthly Service here at Tenrikyo Pearl church. I believe that when we perform the Service spiritedly and in unity, as we have today, God the Parent and Oyasama are truly satisfied with our efforts.

 

This month we celebrate Father’s Day so I would like to wish all the fathers a Happy Father’s Day. Thank you for your love and nurturing.

 

The BGA Camp & General Meeting is an Important Event for Everyone!

Just a couple weeks ago during the Memorial Day weekend we finished the annual Boy’s and Girl’s Association Spring Camp and 35th General Meeting with over 100 participants including counselors, adult leaders and volunteers. Nineteen were from Pearl Church.

 

One might think that camping for kids it’s just to have fun. But it’s much more than that. First there’s a lot of detailed planning involved, from making fliers and application to let everyone know about the camp, then we need to gather the equipment and necessary volunteers to help at the camp.

 

From one week prior, we clean the facility and the YMA setup the canopy tents. From two & one day prior volunteers set up the camping tents. Taeko was in charge of the meals, so she had to make the menu, shop or get food donations. Then she had to schedule volunteers to help prepare the meals and also prepare the kitchen and cooking utensils. So, just the meals preparation alone was a big project.

 

What’s so special and what’s so different about the BGA Spring Camp from other camps. I believe it’s the teachings and values that we impart on the children. The camp schedule has been refined over the years to include activities, which would foster the teachings and values in the children like the morning and evening services, the Service Performance by the children during the General Meeting at Mission Headquarters, cleaning Hinokishin, reciting the Boy’s and Girl’s Association pledge and sing the BGA Song. The Service and Hinokishin are basic to our faith and they are the first things that are explained to the children. Hinokishin of course is to express our gratitude for being kept alive, by doing something for others, expecting nothing in return.

 

And throughout the camp they are able to internalize what is being taught by hearing the words and putting it into action. They clean the bathrooms, showers, wipe tables, sweep and vacuum the premises and wash the dishes for the KP Duty. Not only spiritual activities, but we also include fun activities that would instill leadership, teamwork and cooperation in accomplishing the group objective such as the Team Olympics, Adventure Trails, and the campfire program.

 

Of course it’s not only the schedule and program, but we need capable people involved in running the camp from the camp conductor to adult leaders to counselors to group leaders to group assistant leaders and members of the Young Men’s Association, the Young Women’s Club and the night patrol staff. It’s these people we rely on to set the example to be followed by the children. One of the advantages of having it every year is that the veteran kids and junior leaders know what is expected of them and they become natural teachers and leaders by explaining the different aspects of the camp to the new kids.

 

This one particular group leader is only thirteen years old, but he had two of the most difficult kids in his group. One displayed unique and “different” behavior, did not hang out with the group and at times displayed irrational behavior. We shall call him child “A” and the other was always teasing other kids and doing things out of the group activity. We’ll call him child “B”. Both child A and B didn’t listen to this group leader on many occasions. Child A lost track of his group during the Adventure Trails game, which probably cost them either a first place finish or higher placing. But I believe it was due to his leader’s many years of coming to the camp, his sense of responsibility, his enthusiasm and assistance from the group counselor, he didn’t lose his patience and he kept focused on what he had to do to keep his group together and cooperating. His group ended up winning “best overall” for their skit during the campfire program. The skits are all based on the theme or a teaching where the kids are able to act out the teachings and put it into some tangible form. It was because of the leader’s persistence and focus, that child A and B in his group were basically compelled to follow the group in the skit and remaining activities; otherwise they would be left out of the fun. Normally the group leader would probably approach me and say that so and so is too difficult to handle or they would become so frustrated they would give up and not have anything to do with the problem member of their group.

 

The theme of the camp was “Let’s all go to Oyasato (or Parental Home) as One Family.” Since we all can’t go to Oyasato, we focused on helping and cooperating as a family.

 

I believe that this camping activity and General Meeting is such a big and important salvation work because it has such a big impact on the kids and the future of our community. The kids come from different backgrounds not knowing each other, but by the end of camp, they feel like they are one family! You can see it in their happy faces and how they help out in doing hinokishin.

 

In my message at the General Meeting, I mentioned about violence in the community, about violent gangs and drug gangs. I said the Boy’s and Girl’s Association is a gang too, but we are the good gang. Instead of drugs and violence, we bring peace and hope to the community! I asked the kids, which gang you want to join … the good gang or the bad gang? Of course, they all yelled out, “the good gang!”

 

But if we don’t continue this type of activity, the kids have no place to go and nothing to do except possibly and in some cases probably go to the bad gang. So we must be proactive in our work. We cannot be passive and we cannot be inactive. For those of us not involved, I would like to encourage you to join us and support the Boy’s and Girl’s Association activities!

 

This Way must be transmitted to children while young. Transmit it then and at that time. It will be ineffective to do so when they are grownup.”

Osashizu, November 16, 1900 (Meiji 33)

 

Thank you for your kind attention.

 

Announcements

  1. I would like to thank all who helped at the recent BGA Spring Camp and General Meeting held on May 29-31.

  2. Thank you for bringing your deposit cans and bottles for our fundraising drive. We are still continuing our fundraising efforts for our next project which is the repainting of Pearl Church this summer. Please continue bringing your deposit cans and bottles and any yard work referrals.

  3. We would like to encourage people to attend monthly service practice held on the Thursday night prior to the monthly service at 7pm. Next month it will be on July 8 at 7pm. Please join us so that we may give our best effort in performing the monthly service.

  4. We would like to welcome back Chieko and Sadie who returned on June 5. The Women’s Association has set a goal of 300 returnees throughout this year of the 100th Anniversary so for those of you who have not returned to Jiba this year, I would like to encourage you to return anytime this year or join me in the pilgrimages in July or October.

  5. The one-month Hawaii Spiritual Development Course starts on Sunday, June 20 and ends on Friday, July 16, 2010. The deadline is today so please let me know after the service if you plan to attend.

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