January 27-28, 2007 at Mountain View Buddhist Temple, CA
On Saturday, January 27 th 2007, the third annual BCA Youth Advocacy Committee (YAC) National Youth Summit was held at the Mountain View Buddhist Temple. Leaders from Bay District Jr. YBA, Bay Area College YBA, Coast District YBL, Northern District (California) YBL, Northwest District (Washington) YBL, and Southern District Senior YBA gathered to discuss the future of youth activities and involvement in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism.
The day began with service led by Rev. Dean Koyama, minister of MVBT, and some of the delegates from the YAC Summer Youth Retreats.
After service, we were able to introduce ourselves to each other and catch up with those who we had met before. Following introductions, we did what we always do – EAT!
Our first session was with Socho Ogui, who engaged us in his talk about his past at the Cleveland Buddhist Temple. Bishop Ogui’s outlook on life is very stimulating, as he energizes and inspires us with his amusing stories and memorable lessons.
The next session was led by Richard Odagawa, the upcoming YAC chairman, who led a discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of YAC, YBA, and temple in general. We agreed that we have gained leadership skills and friendships, and created a welcoming and comforting community; and for some, a place to stay out of trouble. Among the six districts represented, we discussed the lack of inter-district interaction, communication among districts, and willing leaders and advisors. Another issue we talked about is trying to get together college and post-college members who are no longer affiliated with a temple.
After our discussions, we broke out into three groups, and we began to plan a video advertisement to allure new members into joining YBA. We devised a script and planned out the setting of where our video would take place. We incorporated the benefits that we had all gained from Jr. YBA into our script to encourage young adults to participate in YBA activities. Stay tuned …these videos should be airing soon!
By the time we had finished our videos, it was ready to eat, yet again. This year, we cooked our own dinner in an Iron Chef competition. Each group was assigned to a meal – Japanese, Italian, or Mexican. A four judge panel critiqued us on the presentation, quality, and taste of our meals. There was an extensive array of food – curry, Lotus flower salad, Dharma Wheel pizza, stuffed mushrooms, tacos, nachos, and dessert.
It was already 9:00 by the time we finished dinner, but we continued with our final session of the day, led by Rev. Koyama. We talked about what to do in situations where we are confronted by people of other religions who do not accept our beliefs. It was a very meaningful discussion that will help us all in our daily lives. After our last session, we watched everyone’s entertaining videos, which was my favorite part.
The night concluded with Buddhaball, karaoke, picture taking, adventures, and dessert, which lasted through the early morning. Despite getting only a few hours of sleep, we attended Mountain View’s Sunday service the next day.
This was my third year attending the YAC National Youth Summit. Each year, I get a lot out of the sessions and discussions, and I try to incorporate new ideas into Bay District Jr. YBA. I especially look forward to seeing friends from other districts and meeting new people. This year, I was glad that my Co-President, Brandon Yanari (Palo Alto), and Vice President, Tim Chu (San Francisco), were able to attend. Over the past couple of years, I have seen tremendous growth in our district and chapters, and I hope that this progress continues within all districts.
By Kristyne Wada
Kristyne Wada is the past Co-President of the Bay District Jr. YBAShare