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Lion Cubs Attend Caledon Family Conference

By Carina Fong, Toronto

Showered by warm sunlight and clear blue skies, 24 families comprising of 31 children and 31 parents joyfully attended this year’s Family Caledon Conference from July 6-8 in high spirits. With a spirit to foster these young successors from the Future Division, the youth who helped out as “Orange Birds” and communication centre staff, worked tirelessly to engage the children from ages 5-13 in various fun and educational activities throughout the weekend related to the conference theme “Never Give Up!”

As President Ikeda’s heartwarming message was read every morning by different children, each day was a new adventure for the children. While the children participated in games, Gosho study and culture show preparation, the parents had mini discussion sessions, parents meeting as well as an exchange meeting with two area-level leaders from Toronto. The two leaders from Toronto shared their experiences in faith about raising their children into healthy young adults and how they overcame each challenge with strong faith, chanting and studying President Ikeda’s guidance with the spirit to never give-up until they overcame their struggles.

Parents enjoyed the discussions and many voiced that they were able to take away very meaningful “parenting tips” and ideas so that they can continue to foster these young bodhisattvas into capable individuals.

A comment from a parent sums up the conference, Erica shared: “I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Family Caledon conference with my sons, Saul and Desmond, as well as my father, Keith. We spent the weekend practising, connecting and discussing Buddhism, creating precious memories we will remember for the rest of our lives. The conference was extremely well organized and the connections my children made with the youth leaders are exactly the connections that will ensure my sons will feel a part of the SGI community. This conference will be the launching pad for my sons to start practising on their own and I am determined to encourage my friends to practise not only for themselves, but for their families’ happiness.”

From the children’s perspective, 8 year old Zoë shared: “My experience of going to Caledon was great! I enjoyed meeting people from across Canada and making new friends and having fun. We chanted together for 10 minutes every day, played lots of games and spent lots of time with our families. Some of my favourite things were the culture show, family games, the yummy food, the nature walk and the beautiful weather and we had lots of free time to play."  

Just as President Ikeda shared in his message to the conference participants that the “the ‘lion cub’ will surely become the ‘lion king’ and future division members will be the core in shouldering worldwide kosen-rufu in 2030, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Soka Gakkai,” parents are determine to nurture these young saplings in the garden of Soka as each child has a big and precious mission.