Chateau d’Alleret is a 400-year-old castle in Saint-Privat-du-Dragon, a town in Haute-Loire, south-central France. As a loud gong broke the silence throughout the ancient castle on August 23, 2021, a group of children went outside for meditation on the lawn.
Surrounded by soft sunlight and beautiful music, the children did the gentle exercises of Falun Dafa with peace and calmness. “This is great!” said one castle worker who joined the exercises, “I could feel strong energy.”
|The Minghui Summer Camp, held between August 22 and 31 in Saint-Privat-du-Dragon in Haute-Loire, France|
Between August 22 and 31, a group of children aged 5 to 16 gathered at Chateau d’Alleret for Minghui Summer Camp. The camp's activities focused on teaching the children various aspects of traditional Chinese culture and classical Chinese dance, along with events such as site tours and hiking. The children also participated in group Fa study and exercises, and they spent a productive, memorable week here.
|Young practitioners do the Falun Dafa exercises.|
|Classical Chinese dance class.||Group photo with the dance teachers|
The summer camp was hosted by Association Lotus Sacré. The contact person, Rosa, said she was happy to find such an ideal location for the children while also complying with government policies during the pandemic.
A Team Environment
The summer camp was well managed with clear rules for the health and safety of the children. On the first day, a castle staff member explained the policies to the campers and the counselors. Because the castle is a heritage site, campers were expected to protect the facility. After each meal, they needed to clean their tables and sort their utensils before returning them to the kitchen staff.
The camp was also a place for the children to remind each other to behave like Dafa practitioners. For example, when encountering conflicts between each other, they were expected to look within using the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. This helped them improve their xinxing, or character, and align themselves with traditional values.
“During this summer camp, I do not expect to hear any bad words,” Rosa announced on the first day. “Also, if you have a cellphone, please give it to me to take care of. You don’t need them here,” she said. “If you do need to contact your parents, please let me know.” The older children immediately turned in their phones.
Rosa said that cellphone and social media use have become major distractions for children. To help engage the children in a healthy environment and help them focus on the activities, a no-cellphone policy was put in place. When Rosa asked the children on the last day if they had missed their cellphones, the kids replied loudly, “No!”
A camp counselor named Aline took care of the children during the group exercises in the morning and corrected their movements. Some younger children initially found that following the music to complete each exercise was challenging. But as the week progressed, each one of them made some progress.
The children's mindsets also underwent changes, said another counselor named Hélène. Through group study and discussion, many children were able to look inward to align with the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. “It is something that can be hard for them to do at home,” she said.
Staff Members Begin to Practice
Castle chef William and his team members prepared three meals every day for the summer camp. The delicious food won warm praise from the campers. The children were thus very cooperative while cleaning up afterward. Everyone had a good time.
William and his team members were moved by the kindness and positive attitude of the practitioners. They joined the group exercises and learned the first four sets of movements on the first day. One staff member said he could feel a strong energy field, and another said the practice had helped him relieve stress.
Manon, one of the staff members, bought a copy of Zhuan Falun to read. During a break in the afternoon, she also joined a group Fa-study. When studying Lecture Two of the book, she said her celestial eye opened and she could see interesting scenes. “I will definitely continue studying it,” she said.
After learning the exercises on the first day, William joined the group practice every day. A practitioner gave him a copy of Falun Gong and Zhuan Falun. William was very pleased and said he would read them to explore Falun Dafa further.
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