Wednesday, September 12, 2012

15 Years of Spiritual Friendship

As we count down to the last 3 weeks before the concert celebrating the youth group's 15th anniversary, here is a summary of the key moments and milestones of SBM Youth.

January 1997
(L-R) Liang Chien, Lawrence, Ang Hwee and Tenzin.

Under the guidance of Mr. Sudatta Eng, four 16-year-old teenage boys, namely, Bro Ang Hwee, Bro Lawrence Lee, Bro Tenzin Khoo and Bro Yee Liang Chien, founded SBM Youth, the youth wing of the Singapore Buddhist Mission, sometime in January 1997.

December 1997
Organisers of the inaugural Camp Ehi-Passiko, Dec 1997.

In December 1997, SBM Youth organized the inaugural Camp Ehi-Passiko (CEP). CEP is a Buddhist youth camp for teenagers aged 13 to 21 and has been the youth group’s flagship project ever since.

In 2000, Bro Kwek Zeming (at the age of 16) was appointed the President of the youth group, heralding in the second generation of leaders in SBM Youth. He was assisted by Sis Ang Lee (Vice-President), Bro Liew Shi Xiong (Vice-President), Sis Lee Kai Yi (Hon-Gen), Sis Amanda Lee (General Secretary) and other youth leaders.

June 2004
June 2004 was the first time SBM Youth organized a Buddhist youth camp held during the June holidays.
December 2005
The 11th Camp Ehi-Passiko held in December 2005 reached another milestone when it had 120 campers and more than 50 volunteers, signifying a greater interest amongst teenagers in learning Buddhism.

June 2005

SBM Youth participated in the Singapore Buddhist Federation's inaugural Vesak Celebrations @ Orchard Road by performing in the concert and unveiling a mobile outreach team with rollerblades, balloons and colorful placards sharing the wisdom of the Dhamma around Orchard Road.

In 2006, Venerable Dr. Bodhi became the youth group’s spiritual advisor and has been guiding its leaders and mentoring the group's spiritual and moral growth.

In the same year, SBM Youth group organized its first Dhamma talk for the public.

January 2007

With the support of Kong Meng San Monastery, Bro Alvin Yeo, Bro Liew Shi Xiong, Bro Li Zhenfeng and Bro Ryan Guo were part of a youth delegation that visited North India with Minister Khaw Boon Wan and Venerable Kwang Sheng.
June 2008

In June 2008, SBM Youth organised its first in-house leadership camp for its members.

June 2009
With the support of Dharma-In-Action and friends from various Buddhist organisations, SBM Youth organized the inaugural Camp Lions in 2009. Camp Lions is a leadership camp for committee members and leaders of Buddhist youth groups in Singapore.

August 2010
Bro Vicky Teo succeeded Bro Kwek Zeming as the President of the youth group, thus ushering in the third generation of leaders in SBM Youth. He is assisted by Bro Ernest Lai (Vice-President), Bro Chin Wu Feng (Dhamma Director) and other youth leaders of the main committee.

In the same year, SBM Youth organised the first public performance of its performing arts circle, Resonation.

March 2011
Bro. Hangqi, creator of the Pali Chanting application.

SBM Youth launched Pali Chanting, one of the world’s first Buddhist smart phone application. The application is developed by Bro Oh Hangqi and is available for free download on the App Store.

June 2012
The inaugural Ace Camp was held in June 2012. It is currently the only Buddhist camp that is organized for the general public catering to young adults aged 17 to 30 years old.

Looking back, 15 years have gone past by in a blink of an eye. No words can describe the wonderful memories of seeing the group grow and the bitter but sweet moments of serving in a Buddhist youth group run entirely by youth volunteers from diverse backgrounds. It hasn't always been an easy journey. Some have left, some still remain. One thing for sure, it is our faith in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha that has brought us together as a fellowship. Ours is a special kind of relationship, one which is pure and which the Buddha had taught Venerable Ananda and all his disciples: spiritual friendship.

May the youth group continue to grow in wisdom, faith and compassion and may the Triple Gems continue to guide the group.

Kalyana Mitra, please take care of me
We somehow share the same destiny.

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