Students were filled with many mixed emotions as the end of their session at the Putney School Summer Programs was coming to a close. They were sad to be wrapping up their time at this special place surrounded by nature, creativity, talent and new friends from around the world, excited to go home back to their family, friends and internet connection, and excited yet anxious to showcase what they had been working on for the past three weeks to all their fellow students and visitors on their final day together.
As in previous years, Shinnyo-en Foundation sponsored four Junior Youth Association (JRYA) members to attend a three-week session at Putney this year. Of the four JRYA selected to attend, one JRYA came from the Los Angeles temple community, another came from the Seattle temple community and two came from the Head Temple community in the Bay Area, CA. It just so happened that all four teens chose to attend the first of two sessions. They took a range of classes, including photography, painting, drawing, film making and culinary arts.
Although this may have been the first time some of the JRYA experimented in these realms of art, they accomplished producing very artistic pieces. They finished the session feeling a boost of confidence, self-realization, and inspiration by the faculty and new friends that they made at the Putney School. One of the JRYA members, Julia, wrote in her reflection, “As cliche as it sounds, there is no other way to describe my experience at Putney other than life changing. The Putney School of Summer Arts on Houghton Brook Road in a tiny town with a population of maybe not even 3,000 people altered the way I look at the world and at myself.”
Another JRYA, Koyuki, was reminded the strength of one of her previous passions, “From attending an art camp, it has exposed new sides about myself that I didn’t know. I became passionate to a career that I was interested in when I was a child, which is photography. I showed my best performance in photography and this gave me a lot more confidence than before.” She also gained a more positive perspective about herself, saying, “My teachers and counselors helped me realize my good hope that’s inside me. One of my counselors told me that I don’t have to worry about my future and that she believes in me. I never met a person who said to me that they believed in me. And I think the word ‘believe’ replaced ‘hope’ for good.”
Yota, another JRYA, also expressed how greatly this program made an impact on his future. “I loved making videos because I can express my creativity in making each film. I found my passion/hobby and for the first time I saw my future.” He went on to say, “Putney was such an amazing experience that it will always be one of the best memories in my heart throughout my whole life. Before I went to Putney, when someone would ask me what my dream job was, I always said I have no idea, but now I can see my future, thanks to Putney.”
As the students said their goodbyes, it was apparent that their three weeks together had formed something truly special. Julia wrote, “It was difficult saying goodbye to everyone knowing you’ll never see them again, but that doesn’t mean it was not worth saying hello in the first place. Putney took me to places I never knew I would go – literally and figuratively. Not only that but I had such wonderful teachers. They taught me that if you let yourself dive straight into the deep end, you might struggle to find your breath but eventually, with enough motivation and passion you can do it.”
Once again, the Putney School Summer Programs has proved to impress these young Shinnyo-en participants by providing memorable and transformative experiences to them. As in the past 11 years, the financial contribution from Shinnyo-en Foundation to the Putney School Summer Programs not only supported the full tuition and material fees of these four JRYA members, but also provided scholarships to select non-Shinnyo-en students in financial need.
Please enjoy the photos from Putney School Summer Programs by following the link here.