By Qiao Li, Yunasa Coordinator
Yunasa West this year was yet another fun-filled week that’s packed with self-discovery and growth at YMCA Camp Shady Brook! Campers ventured out to try something new, made lasting friendships and attended many impactful workshops that are designed to nurture balance within.
Some people say it takes a village to raise a child. At Yunasa, it takes a tribe to build this camp. For many, it’s their first sleep-away camp and the longest time apart they have ever spent from their parents. This year, we had 23 new campers! Being mindful of this, our returning campers and counselors actively reached out to new campers and included them in group activities. Some campers are more introverted and reflective than others, but our staff would ensure that they too have a space to share and be heard throughout the week.
From the youngest camper at ag 10 to our most senior elder at 85, Yunasa is a space filled with intergenerational connection and nurturing. Our workshops are designed to nurture balance in all five aspects of self – intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual and physical.
In psychosynthesis, campers practice guided imagery meditation exercises. The goal is to integrate the conscious self with the unconscious. In the process, campers open a wide flow of energy from their intuition, inspiration and creative energy to the logical self. In the workshop called kindness, campers learn about the biological and physical benefit of practicing kindness and did several meditations in the session. In building and walking the labyrinth, campers constructed a single path in a serene setting. As they walked the labyrinth, they followed a single path that at times appeared to be a “wrong turn,” but each turn actually leads them to a new beginning and ultimately the “eye” of the path. It symbolizes a spiritual journey and the tools needed for transformation. In art-based workshops, campers practiced focus, relaxation, trusting their intuition, self-acceptance and expression through activities such as Intuitive Mandala and Soul Collage.
Yunasa also offers outdoor activities in a traditional camp setting. Campers expand their comfort zones in a safe environment as they try ziplining, rappelling, and rock climbing. They learn about teamwork and build trust on the giant’s ladder and low ropes. They practiced focus with archery and tomahawk throwing. There are also waterfront activities such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing and paddle boarding.
We hope all of our campers and volunteers have been able to get some rest this week. We cannot wait to see you all again in 2020. Until then – may your year be filled with joy, growth and loving kindness!