TLDR: We get it; stepping out of your comfort zone might not be everyone’s idea of a good time. However, that leap of faith can unlock a world of new connections, experiences, and deeper reflections.
We’re not talking about just any camp; we’re diving into the unforgettable journey for 13-21-year-olds at Camp Ehi-Passiko (CEP), where Singapore’s youths discover a unique blend of friendship and spiritual growth.
As youth leaders, we reflected on our journey so far and our motivations to continue our path in the Dhamma rooted in our fond memories from CEP.
First Encounters with CEP
Now, when we first heard about CEP, many of us had our doubts. “Will I even make friends?” “I’d rather binge-watch Netflix at home!” “Camps aren’t my thing.”
But guess what? We’d already signed up, so “bopes” (slang for ‘bobian’, Hokkien term meaning it can’t be helped). Off we went, with a mix of curiosity and uncertainty.
Kai Meng, 21, had his reservations: “I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of a camp, but once it kicked off, I was surprised. From the hilarious skits to creative games and the fantastic friends I made, it was a blast. The campfire night was the best, filled with joy and laughter.”
For those of us who’ve attended Sunday school, CEP was an eye-opener. It wasn’t the stiff and solemn affair we expected. It was lively, fun, and brimming with games and activities. What made it truly special?
The people – open-minded, caring, and spanning different age groups. We felt at home despite our diverse backgrounds and camp experiences.
Jun Jie, 18, recalled his first camp: “I was in Secondary One, and the older campers treated me with kindness. During one game, an older camper carried me on his back to complete an activity and to ensure I wasn’t left out. It was heartwarming.”
Meeting People in a Camp Setting
So, why a camp, you ask? Why not just host sharing sessions, games, and bonding activities?
Well, a camp offers a break from the daily grind, allowing us to dive into a few days of pure fun, excitement, and deep connections. The camp’s energy is infectious, and it brings us closer.
The pinnacle? The campfire night, where bonds are strengthened.
Cleonn, 26, shared: “I first encountered CEP when I attended the final-day campfire with my family. It sparked my curiosity, and I wanted to be part of it.”
Kimberly, 24, added: “The campfire night stands out. We sing, dance, and feel the warmth of the group. It’s a space where we can truly be ourselves, free from outside worries. There’s a sense of belonging.”
A camp setting means we spend dedicated time together, working on game objectives and engaging in discussions. We celebrate both small and big victories with laughter and create lasting friendships in just a few days.
Titus, 23, highlighted the value of teamwork and communication in a camp: “Ehi-passiko’s ‘come and see’ is about how Dhammic lessons and real-world experiences are relevant and timeless.”
Even after the camp ends, the friendships continue, and the memories become cherished moments.
Nicholas, 28, cherishes the final night: “It’s heartwarming to share the evening with old and new friends. It’s a unique experience without judgment.”
Discovering the Dhamma in Our Own Ways
While we all started at different points in our knowledge and interest in the Dhamma, CEP’s approach made it accessible and relatable.
We didn’t just read suttas or theories; we explored the Dhamma through activities and reflections. This approach allowed each of us to connect with the teachings in our unique way.
Kimberly appreciated this approach: “It contextualises the teachings, allowing personal reflection on life experiences.”
Jun Jie added: “They took into consideration the age group, which ranges from age 13 to 20 plus and with that in mind, I think they know that small kids won’t really appreciate those kinds of long talks or sharing. They incorporated Buddhist knowledge into games and guided us. We also had sharing sessions that made self-reflection meaningful and engaging.”
This personalized approach opened doors to new experiences and insights enabling us to find the Dhamma in our own way. It helped us navigate the challenges of growing up and becoming our authentic selves.
Exploring New Opportunities for Personal Growth
The open and inclusive community gave us opportunities to explore leadership roles, plan events, and run passion projects. These experiences shaped our strengths and weaknesses and set the stage for our future endeavours.
Titus explained how these interactions enriched his life: “It granted me exposure to a wide variety of personalities and characters, and I learned more about Dhammic philosophy. It sparked my curiosity to dig deeper into Buddhism.”
Kimberly found that she could express herself more openly and make intentional decisions: “I became more able to open up to people I may not necessarily be close to.”
Lifelong Bonds and Inspiration
For those who have experienced CEP, it’s all about the people. The lifelong bonds we’ve formed continue to inspire and empower us to give back to our community and continue our spiritual journey.
Jun Jie summed it up: “It’s not just a four-day camp; we stay in touch and build lasting friendships. Some of these friends will be with you for a long time. They provide valuable advice and support.”
So, what’s the takeaway? The CEP experience offers a safe and comfortable space to have fun, grow, and learn together.
Open yourself to new experiences and see what unfolds – you might be surprised at the magic that awaits you.
What is CEP?
Camp Ehi-Passiko (CEP) is a 4-Days-3-Nights flagship camp organized annually by Singapore Buddhist Mission (Youth). Ehi-Passiko, a Pali term translated as “come and see,” represents the core tenet behind all our activities here at Singapore Buddhist Mission.
Our very first CEP kicked off in 1997 and has since been built upon two pillars: fun and fellowship, where we aim to plant the seeds of Dhamma in youths through newly engaging and experiential ways for Buddhist youths of all walks of life to experience and enjoy.
These activities will allow them to be mindful of their actions in their daily lives and realise how the Buddha’s teachings closely relate and are applicable to solving day-to-day obstacles.
This year, Camp Ehi-Passiko 2023: Path of the Warrior will be held from 8-11 December. We look forward to bringing you new experiences and making new spiritual friendships with you!
🏮 Camp dates: 8-11 December
🏮 Camp location: Poh Ern Shih (9 Chwee Chian Rd)
🏮 Age range: 13 to 21 years old
Camp fee*: $80
*Special rate of $30 for:
- Past campers
- Friends of CEP and SBM
- Members of Buddhist clubs and societies
- Groups of 4
For more details, visit our website at https://www.sbm.sg/cep2023. For inquiries, contact Cleonn (9233 7322) or Nicholas (9643 3712).
Come and see what CEP has in store for you!