Articles From the October 1994 Unification News


Ocean Challenge Transforms California Gang

by S. Cal Regional Office Staff

In mid-August, Rev. Lee and his party sailed with Gabriel Legay's Ocean Challenge program to Catalina island with 25 inner city children ages 11 to 19. Rev. Lee was a real hit with the boys. He sang several songs for them, including "Exodus" and a Korean folk song. Then he taught them very effectively about good and evil. They understood clearly that good people live for others and evil people live just for themselves.

The city of Long Beach provided counselors to participate; they were very inspired. Tim Henning gave a beautiful slide show on Saturday night about the creation. All in all, everyone gained tremendous hope for these young people: even gang members could respond enthusiastically to the vision of the Divine Principle for their lives. They stayed on Catalina all week, fishing, hearing lectures, singing, and learning to get along in a heavenly family atmosphere.

The One-Week Program was a very successful event. The reasons are many and I will try to list some of them in an orderly manner.

1 Family and friends of the young people we worked with this year were all extremely proud and grateful for the change in their children.

2 OCSC was able to teach Divine Principle during this event. Every morning we had a class discussing trust, respect and responsibility. These presentations concerned True Ownership, True Self and True Parents, and defined the ways to begin to change and direct each person's life toward goodness.

3 We really feel that one of the most important things to come from this one-week event and the programs we are doing is the wonderful relationships with people. The changes we saw in the youth we worked with was profound. Some of these young men came in jaded, cold, disrespectful and distant. As the week progressed, we found they were able to break down concepts they had of other cultures and people's beliefs. Most of these young men responded to Tim Henning's morning programs by being attentive and thinking of the content during the day. A good example of this, even though done in jest, was Michael's impression of Tim at the Wednesday night talent show. He satirized the Saturday lecture on True Ownership. This showed that Michael had remembered the content of the talk and, days later, it was still on his mind.

We can provide good, sound, moral education which is also exciting to everyone involved, youth and adult alike. And it can be retained and brought back and applied to our daily life.

4 Rev. Lee's talk at Sunday morning service was very excellent, and the young men responded to it well. It was not complicated, but it was to the point, about the difference between becoming a good or bad person. The young people really thought about this for the rest of the week.

5 We did have our mistakes-more than our share! We need to be much more prepared for future programs. These improvements include: additional presentations by scientific and educational organizations, more in-depth teaching of Principle, counselor and youth meetings daily, more community volunteers and additional preparations for campsite management.

6 We saw people of all cultures relax together, play together, learn together, and just talk to each other. This is a rare thing in our cities, so it is not to be taken lightly. There were few conflicts or disagreements, and the ones which came up were resolved quickly. It was really wonderful to see. The people who attended will remember this week for the rest of their lives.

7) I personally had a very profound experience. Three things made impressions on me during this week:

A The investment God and Father have made in all of us. Their investment and belief that we can make the transition necessary to be able to call ourselves True Children. Because we many times do not recognize this investment of God and Father, we forget our responsibility and do not ourselves invest our own 100% effort into changing ourselves and helping others change.

On the third day, I really felt God and Father's loneliness and hurt in watching the way we lead our lives. It is truly a lonely, unrecognized and patient position they have. I felt this because of the fact that the youth seemed to be so unappreciative of the effort we had to expend to make this week a growing, loving and educational experience. This feeling was vanquished on the final day when we had the graduation program, and afterward I was able to speak very deeply with four of the young people about their experience and what they felt about the week and our program.

B Hope. We have so much hope; if we are willing to invest ourselves in this generation, we can provide them with the tools to change the world. These young men come from very awful living situations but they really do want to change this. They are looking for guidance and are willing to accept if we are honest, loving, and really reflecting our words by our actions. They recognize actions much more than words. If we provide a good example for them, they will begin to emulate this attitude and lifestyle.

C Love. In all honesty, I really do care about the youth we were with. I mean this sincerely. I felt so much love for them that I am willing to invest in them from my heart and mind. They need love and hope.

We can provide this because this is what God and Father have been doing for us. We were in the same boat as these young men but on different waters when we first met the Unification community. Thanks to their love and concern, we were able to change our lives; if we provide this to our future generations, we will see even a greater benefit and change in our world.

8 Tim Henning's presentation of Principle during the week was very good. It does need to be more refined and a little more focused on how to use it in our daily lives. Tim did a wonderful job and his presentations are the key to Ocean Challenge really offering city, state, federal and school organizations a viable program which will truly change young people's lives. Without the Principle, we cannot offer the tools necessary for them to develop and change. These young people deserve the chance that Divine Principle gives them.


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