Kechara’s got activities for the older generation and through Manjushri Kids’ Class, the younger ones are taken care of…but what about the people in between? We’re talking about the youth group, the ones aged 14 to 25 who are just starting to find their feet in the world, form their own opinions and test their independence…what about them?
12 September 2010 marked the start of Kechara Youth, a division of Kechara Care and the manifestation of another idea of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche to bring the Dharma to everyone. Led by Phng Wee Liang and Khong Jean Mei, sports, outdoor activities and social events are the order of the day for this deparment…all with a Dharmic twist of course, to ensure a good balance of fun and spiritual practice!
On their first outing, Kechara Youth organised for new members to go rock climbing, catch a movie at Kechara Care and finish the day feeding fish at Bukit Jalil Park. As a fledging division and with participants unfamiliar with one another, their younger siblings were invited to come along. With a comfortable setting, and family members and familiar faces present, it was a good way to break the ice.
It was an early start (10am!) for everyone as they met to go rock climbing at Camp5 in 1Utama. With helmets and harnesses pulled on, and climbing shoes fitted, the group were briefed by the instructors before they hit the walls. It did not take long for the youth to practise some teamwork and support as stronger climbers cheered on the weaker ones. There was also an opportunity to practise patience, because not everyone could climb at once…but it didn’t really matter in the end because whilst waiting for their turn to climb, it gave the youths a chance to hang out and get to know one another. It was during moments like these that they found out about each others’ quirks…like the boy who was afraid of heights, but managed to overcome his fear to go halfway up a wall!
Lunch at A&W was followed by a movie at Kechara Care, the perfect place to chill and unwind as everyone waited for the afternoon heat to go down a little before they made their way to Bukit Jalil. Once there though, the group recited Shantideva’s prayer and Medicine Buddha’s mantra to bless the food before feeding the fish.
On previous scouting visits to the park, Kechara Care staff learnt that many of the fish (spread over four huge ponds!) were malnourished due to both irregular feeding, as well as a preference by visitors to feed the park terrapins. Therefore this visit, where the youth were equipped with 30kg of fish pellets, could not have come at a better time! It is an act of compassion to free animals that are to be slaughtered, and to care for and feed them. Therefore both feeding fish and liberating animals are common practices at Kechara House.
Kechara Youth’s first outing was extremely fun and a good experience for the organising committee to learn and further improve the department. They have pledged to strive for this department to grow in members and activities, to benefit many and encourage more youths to do Dharma and have fun at the same time.
So the next time Kechara Youth have an outing, make sure you’ve got your name down…you don’t want to be left behind!