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The Rising Trend of Summer Retreats: Managing Thousands of Young Attendees

Managing Thousands of Participants in Summer Buddhist Retreats

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Meditative walking practice within the Hoằng Linh Temple grounds

Effective Management of Large-Scale Summer Retreats

Managing large-scale summer retreats in Buddhist temples involves not only providing religious teachings but also creating a safe and enriching environment for children and teenagers. This is a crucial aspect of planning and conducting these retreats.

How are Participants Managed?

Venerable Thích Tâm Trường, abbot of the Hoằng Pháp Temple in H.Hóc Môn, Ho Chi Minh City, shares his experience in organizing summer retreats that have been held for over a decade, attracting 2,500 to 3,000 participants for a 7-day duration. Each retreat involves meticulous planning and preparation, with each staff member assigned specific tasks.

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Hoằng Pháp Temple has hosted nearly 500 retreats for young people

The temple prepares for these retreats annually, setting dates well in advance and seeking permissions from relevant authorities. The retreats feature lectures by revered monks and nuns, guest speakers, and celebrities to inspire the participants. Nearly 500 retreats have been organized, with small groups managed by volunteers and monitored by teaching staff.

The temple segregates participants by gender and accommodates them in different areas. Each area is divided into smaller sections, each overseen by monks and nuns who ensure constant supervision. In cases of misbehavior, gentle reminders are given, and if necessary, parents are contacted for further action.

Over 20 security personnel are employed to maintain order and safety throughout the retreat. The retreats feature engaging activities like meditation, badminton, football, and recreational games, interspersed with educational sessions.

Fostering Gratitude and Responsibility in Youth

Venerable Thích Tịnh Tâm, Deputy Head and Secretary of the Buddhist Association in Củ Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, and abbot of Hoằng Linh Temple, discusses their summer retreat for 350 youngsters aged 10-17 from various districts. The retreat focuses on instilling values of gratitude and responsibility in the participants.

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Activities at Hoằng Linh Temple’s retreat focus on life skills and moral lessons

Preparations involve coordinating with health centers for mosquito control, organizing volunteers for supervision and cleanliness, and security measures with local authorities. The temple divides participants into groups managed by a team of 72 volunteers, ensuring close monitoring and guidance.

Nun Hương Nhũ, abbess of Thiên Quang Temple in Bình Dương, explains their approach to managing retreats. For a recent retreat catering to 350 participants, they had 50 volunteers, monks, nuns, and teachers assisting. The retreat was structured into small family-like groups, each with adult supervision and a daily schedule.

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Participants engage in activities like bell-ringing contests, volunteering, and sessions to appreciate their parents. The retreat ends with some children expressing a desire to stay longer, indicating their growth in independence and self-love.

(Source: Giác Ngộ Online)

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