Written by Amy Liu (2023) and Tanya Zhou (2025)
The 2021 Instilling Goodness and Developing Virtue Summer Camp began on June 7th, with the theme of humility. The camp was conducted safely and in-person on the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas campus, with strict COVID-19 precautions including mandatory masks, separate bubbles, consistent sanitation, surveillance testing, daily screenings and temperature checks. Although the pandemic limited the camp to be half-days and only open for day students, the campers were still able to participate in exciting activities, from arts and crafts to nature hikes and canoeing.
The kindergartners and first-graders enjoyed many art activities, including painting, crafting paper peacocks, and making fans for Father’s Day, along with plenty of time outdoors on the playground. The second- through fourth-graders also engaged in many hands-on activities. They explored the science of bubbles in a 4H lesson, created origami cranes and bead bracelets, learned woodworking and basket-weaving skills, and spent time in nature on scavenger hunts and other physical activities. Furthermore, the campers practiced sitting meditation and kept camp journals, in which they reflected on examples of humility at school and in the home.
Campers also made custom tie-dye shirts and cotton masks, which were unique, colorful, and practical. Another highlight of the summer camp was the celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival, in the form of a series of activities related to Chinese culture and this significant holiday.
First, the campers painted dragon boats, which were based on upcycled soy milk cartons. With elaborate decorations, the boats were complete with dragon heads, tails, and oars. Next, they learned about traditions surrounding the Dragon Boat Festival, as well as the Chinese custom of using chopsticks and a classic story of humility, “Kong Rong Shares Pears.” Last but not least, the campers made their own fragrant pouches filled with lavender and rose petals, traditionally worn at the Dragon Boat Festival.
Meanwhile, the 5th-10th grades participated in activities that brought them outside the campus. For example, they took trips to Mendocino College to help at Caring Kitchen, a Mendocino non-profit organization that serves cancer patients healthy meals, where they learned to harvest and prepare various herbs. Led by the staff of Caring Kitchen, they gathered rosemary, set it out to dry, and then stripped the leaves off the stems to use in cooking.
Another memorable experience was canoeing in Big River, near the Mendocino coast. It was a bonding experience, where campers learned to work together to paddle the boat, as well as an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature, as they spotted harbor seals, water birds, bull kelp, and a wondrous group of jellyfish. The campers also engaged in a wide variety of team activities inside the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, including sports such as soccer, basketball, and volleyball.
After two weeks of fun, the 2021 IGDVS Summer Camp came to a close on June 18th. Thanks to the collective efforts of coordinators, teachers, volunteers, and parents, the campers were able to have a safe and delightful experience in spite of the pandemic.