2008 YAC College Summit

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March 22-23, 2008 Jodo Shinshu Center Berkeley, CA

The 2008 College Summit was opportunity for us as college students to gather, reconnect, and share a meaningful weekend together. Six of us from the Seattle Senior YBA at UW flew down to spend the beginning of our spring break with our Buddhist friends in California. Since participation was limited to Youth Ministers Assistants and those who had previously attended Summit, the atmosphere was intimate and we were all able to bond with some of the most active college-aged Buddhist in the region.

It was thrilling to spend most of the weekend reflecting on how far our post-YBA programs have gone. And to realize we were together building the foundation for the future of post-high school Buddhist groups was eye opening.

We looked back on our own experiences as individuals and in relation to the formation of our own college clubs/organizations with the “journey wall.” It brought into perspective the milestones and events that we experienced and still remember and cherish. In teams, we wrote our hopes for the future of similar programs targeting 20-something year olds, made scrapbooks illustrating us in the future, and our hope for the preservation of youth and young adult funding and projects.

The opportunity to simply spend time together for the weekend made the experience. Since most of us are from various areas and different districts, chances for us to get together in a religious and/or social sense are rare. Staying up late and bonding with one another is really what makes these events that much more personal and special. For me the most significant aspect was just remembering that university students started most of the groups we are involved in. Those founders were passionate about Buddhism who wanted to keep their participation in the religion active and find fellow Buddhists to build relationships with. It is remarkable to see the growth of such groups and the enthusiasm of their members.

As I looked around I realized that many of my closest friendships were build through church retreats, Buddhist events, and especially in my own college group. Buddhism has had such an impact on our lives and thanks to the support we have received, we are able to stay active even after leaving our home temples. This weekend was a chance to share our thoughts and experiences thus far and to see the future we hope we are founding for the next generations.

Laurel Saito
Seattle YBA at UW

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