Love Life Children’s Camp—The Heroes of the Golden Age
By the Seoul News Group (Originally in Korean)
[Yangpyeong] From January 9-11, 2006, Korean initiates conducted the first Love Life Children’s Camp in Yangpyeong, South Korea for thirty children aged six to sixteen. The Camp was planned for both vegetarian youngsters and those who were non-vegetarian but curious about the vegetarian lifestyle. At the Camp, the latter group was able to gain positive experiences and knowledge about vegetarian food and meet new vegetarian friends. Also, the activity provided an alternative for parents who wished to send their vegetarian children to camp, but were concerned about the food at other camps and about activities such as fishing that are not vegetarian-friendly.
The Camp staff planned pursuits and classes that allowed the children to have personal involvement and interaction to enlighten them about compassion for all living beings. For example, the youngsters went on a field trip to the initiate-run Vegefood Company and saw how vegetarian “meats” and dumplings are made with soy protein. During the trip all the children paid great attention to the veggie meat production process and even took notes with a serious attitude. They then watched a video on the benefits of vegetarianism, made vegetarian hamburgers and skewered foods using various soy-based products, and then ate and even packed some of the food to take home, all free of charge, providing a joyful, pleasurable experience for all. Moreover, the non-vegetarian children were surprised that the soy-based meats were much tastier than real meat.
Next, the Love Life kitchen team prepared a nutritious vegetarian dinner, doing their best to accommodate the children’s tastes by avoiding spicy and salty flavors and using organic vegetables so that the youngsters could learn that vegetarian foods are both delicious and healthy.
Another opportunity for interaction came when the participants visited two departments of the animal protection organization CARE (Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth), where many dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens and other animals welcomed the children. In one CARE department the young people learned about how the group’s members save and nurture abandoned, hurt and hungry animals. In the second, where injured animals receive intensive care treatment, the children felt their suffering, stroked them lovingly and left with a strong sense that one should look after a pet to the end just as if it were a family member.
In addition, an initiated high school biology teacher taught the children how to perform mock dissections by cutting paper in the shapes of animals’ internal organs and putting them in the correct position on a large cutout in the form of a human being or frog. In this way, as the instructor said, “We can emphasize that animals also have the right to live.”
Next, after some outdoor play time, the children formed small groups and expressed their creativity by painting pictures about the Golden Age and discussing what the new era should be like. For instance, one group drew a mountain and river with many animals, and explained how the image related to the Golden Age environment. And later, the children attended a class on finding constellations in the nighttime sky that included going outside to observe the moon and stars with an astronomical telescope. Then the camp ended with the participants eating chestnuts, sweet potatoes and other vegetarian delicacies roasted on a campfire and playing with fireworks.
Finally, before returning home, the children expressed their thanks to the sisters and brothers who devotedly taught and helped them throughout their camp experience, stating that the activity had been far more enjoyable and meaningful than they expected, and they would definitely like to return to other such camps in the future.
Throughout the first Love Life Children’s Camp, the young heroes of the Golden Age who participated became shining examples of love for all beings and the environment, who will hopefully spread the message of compassion and conservation to others. The Korean initiates were happy at the activity’s positive outcome, and based on this success, the Camp will be continued every summer and winter in years to come. ♥