I used to call them "kids" especially since I see them all as my own little brothers and sisters.
It may seems odd now but I saw most of them through their journey from secondary to tertiary. Back then, I was still serving in the army and the age gap seems huge. But this camp round, I realise not so anymore. They are now no more kids, but my peers. I see them taking over the major responsibilities, introduce new ideas and concept, rising to the tide and most importantly, see the value in their work, even when most of the time the work goes unnoticed behind the scenes at the expense of their social life.
But I know they are going to do an even better job than their seniors did. I know. You guys got the creativity, the energy and most importantly, the unity.
I think Ernest's Facebook message tells it all the motivation behind their team's hardwork:
"it's good to see all the smiles and happy faces of everyone, CEP FTW"
Indeed it is. Think about the tough work you have done, the countless blood, sweat and tears just to make this camp a success. Just so the campers can have a good and relaxing time, making new friends, playing interesting group games, learning about the Dhamma and most importantly, taking a break, a pause in their often stressful and hectic life. You guys have just given everyone joy and soul in their hearts. Even for just four days, a seed has been planted.
So keep it going guys, and most importantly, keep the faith in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha strong. Keep on going, building a conducive and friendly environment where young people can grow together, under the guidance of the Buddha and his teachings, and the companionship of good brothers and sisters. And lastly, always always be ready to stand by one another.
My spirit is rarely down but whenever I am, SBM Youth are one of my main source of inspiration and hope in this world. And as I have said before, some of the greatest people that ever happened in my 24 years of living on this planet.
A story from the sutta to end if off. One day Ananda, his closest disciple, came up to the Buddha and said: 'Lord, I think that half of the of the Holy Life is spiritual friendship, association with the Lovely.' And the Buddha replied: 'That's not so; say not so, Ananda. It is not half of the Holy Life, it is the whole of the Holy Life.