Event Blog

Family Chan Camp 2016

Happy Family Chan Camp 2016  By Andy Liaw

2016-family-chan-camp-2Every year the Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association (DDMBA) hosts a family summer camp at Pine Bush NY. This year, the camp was held from Tuesday August 9th to Sunday, August 14th.

Counselors from New Jersey, New York, and even Texas arrived two days early to the Dharma Drum Retreat Center for their counselor training in preparation for a successful and productive camp. We were also very fortunate to have Ms. Lys Lin’s help leading the teens program this year. The team of 12 counselors got busy right away preparing for camp as soon as they arrive. Head counselors Ariel and Katerina gave the others an introductory presentation. In between planning and preparing for activities, the counselors also learned mindfulness practices, played mindfulness games, and listened to the deeply philosophical dharma talk given by the Abbot, Guoxing Fashi. The beautiful, serene environment of the retreat center, about 90 miles northwest of New York City, provides the perfect setting to host a summer camp that participants can take a break from their busy lives and enjoy a peaceful week of inner calmness.2016-family-chan-camp-4

Camp began with the counselors performing a dance for everyone. It was followed by ice breaker games that enable everyone to get to know each other while having lots of fun at the same time. The night ended with campers divided into their own teams, meeting their counselors and fellow campers.

The typical day at the camp began at 7:30 AM with eight-form moving meditation led by counselors. Campers were taught different forms of stretching that helped kick start their eventful and exciting day! The morning ritual finishes with campers lining up and chanting Guanyin Pusa while they calmly walk to the dining hall. Meals at the camp were one of the highlights: it is difficult to find better tasting vegetarian dishes anywhere else!

2016-family-chan-camp-6In addition to the classes and activities, campers were also exposed to more spiritual programs. They learned chanting, sitting meditation, walking meditation, yoga, etc. There were discussion sessions where the teens got into deeply philosophical topics. The Q & A with Fashi was a very popular program.The much anticipated highlight of the week was the field trip to the Trailside Museum and Park in Bear Mountain.  The campers were divided up into two groups. One group went on a short hike and visited the zoo and museum while the other went to the pool. After a couple of hours the two groups switched. Both were big hits with the campers. They got to see a bald eagle, a bear, reptiles, etc. as well as the beautiful scenery of the Hudson River. However, the pool provided the much needed relief from the heat wave.

After a week-long heat wave with unusually high humidity, the campers were more than ready for the water play on the final full day of camp!  Counselors had designed incredibly fun games that the campers just couldn’t get enough of, while cooling off with tons of fun. After dinner, the Saturday evening program began with performances from each camper team as well as a counselor skit. Campers then showed their incredible array of skills during the talent show, ranging from piano to singing to Chinese yo-yo!2016-family-chan-camp-5

After the talent show, campers and parents gathered around a bonfire behind the main house of the retreat center. Campers participated in entertaining camp fire games and learned songs, dances, and competed in exciting competitions. The night ended with a reflection period as all the campers sat around the camp fire together and cherished the last night of camp. It was the perfect way to end another wonderful and successful year of summer camp.

2016-family-chan-camp-1The last day of camp on Sunday morning started with a tea ceremony, where campers demonstrated their mindful practice by serving tea.  The somber ceremony was followed by a slide show presentation as well as a video highlight of the camp’s memorable moments. The 2016 Family Chan Camp had been yet another very successful one! Campers left with a feeling of bliss, begging their parents to return again next year. Special thanks to Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association for making this summer camp possible.


Category: Event Blog

Weekly Activities

Sunday Open House

Every Sunday, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Our Sunday programs are open to people to explore and learn more about Buddhism. Everyone is welcome to participate.

Please CLICK HERE for Sunday Dharma Talk related info.

Dharma talk
11:00 – 12:30pm

Lunch Offering & Announcement
12:30 – 1:00pm

Vegetarian Lunch ($5 donation requested)
1:00 – 1:45pm

Chanting Service
2:00 – 4:00pm

Monday Evening Chanting

Every Monday, 7:30pm to 9:15pm
Devotional chanting of Amitabha Buddha’s name.
Bodhisattva Precept Recitation Ritual every last Monday of each month.

Every Monday, 7:30pm to 9:15pm

Tuesday Evening Sitting

Every Tuesday, 7:00pm to 9:30pm
All who have previous experience in meditation are welcome. Activities include sitting and walking meditations, yoga exercises, chanting of the Heart Sutra, and group discussions of Chan Master Sheng Yen’s books.

Thursday Evening Tai Chi Moving Meditation

Every Thursday, 7:30pm to 9:00 pm

Experience the great depth of Chan practice through the combination of Ta-chi with Chan meditation.

The modern people are often busy, stressed and tense. Tai Chi Moving Meditation helps to unify and ease the body and mind.

Moreover, it is an expedient to improve physical health.

Fee: $80 for 16 classes or $25 per month

[ First class is free for newcomers.  All levels are welcome! ]

Please call 718-592-6593 for registration.

Instructor: David Ngo

Saturday Sitting

Currently Canceled Until Further Notice