Camp Questions & Answers

What is Buddhist Peace Camp (Peace Camp)?
Peace Camp is an annual, week-long outdoor all-ages retreat in the woods. It is 100% run by campers and organized by the Zen Buddhist Temple located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Its mission is to develop a sense of peace and happiness in participants through immersion in a Buddhist community organized around the guiding principles of the Five Precepts and the Six Harmonies. Campers make and break camp together; prepare, eat and clean up together; sing, dance, swim, laugh, meditate and reflect together. This Zen Buddhist retreat fosters a sense of peace, happiness, and nature awareness among campers of all ages.

Are campers required to participate in Peace Camp organized events or can we ‘do our own thing’?
Campers are expected to fully participate in all aspects of camp as they are able. This means that campers of all ages attend what we call “All Sangha” events such as Morning Circle and Evening Service. It means that children attend age-appropriate counselor groups when offered and adults attend workshops, activities and camp feedback meetings. It means that campers ask questions like, “How can I help?” because many hands make light work. 

Are there times when campers have free time?
Yes, there are times that are held daily for individual camper-directed time.

For example, mid-day quiet hour also known as Peace Hour is specifically designed to allow campers to have daily downtime. Organizers recognize that this could mean different things to different people, age groups, etc. What organizers hold sacred is that it is a time for campers to get a mental, a/o emotional, a/o physical break from a busy day. Participants might take naps in their tent, play a quiet game under the meal tent with other campers, create art at the art tent, read a book, or take a walk on the miles of trails at camp*, or something else entirely. Globally, it means camp is quiet.

In opposition to this, we have waterfront time. During waterfront time, participants are encouraged to let loose with family and friends around camp while adhering to basic safety and mutual respect guidelines. This could look like swimming, canoeing or kayaking, playing tag or soccer, playing instruments and much much more.

In all cases, campers under the age of 18 must be with an accompanying parent or guardian, or with an adult who the parent or guardian has given express permission to and who has accepted the responsibility to oversee for the safety and well-being of their child in this group setting.

Is there cell service and internet available at camp?
Yes, there is and it is sort of dicey. That said, Peace Camp is an unplugged zone.

We encourage campers to leave all devices at home, in their vehicles or turned off once they have checked in to camp. You may be surprised to hear that veteran teens who attend camp prefer to leave their devices in the glove compartment, and that is what camp is like. If they can do it, we can all do it.

We understand that some adult campers have things they need to attend to such as urgent communication with extended family or a job that requires your attention. IF you need to plug in, please do so discreetly and away from campers during scheduled activities.

What does away from campers mean? It means that if you step away from the shared grounds. Where could you do this if you needed to? You could walk up the camp driveway, drive to an internet-ready cafe, or something else so long as it is out of sight and sound of campers.

I want to use my device to take photos, is that okay? Yes! Please put your device in airplane mode if you wish to use your device for photography. This will eliminate the risk of disruption to other campers resulting from unexpected incoming calls, texts, or something else.

Why is no-tech, low-tech a thing at camp?
Peace Camp is a retreat. It is an opportunity for individuals to attend to the present moment, make connections to the people they are with, get in touch with nature, and reflect on how to live fully, deeply, and for the benefit of all beings.

In this onsite camping format, retreaters attend to what is right in front of them. Technology holds enormous energy to distract us from that. It is for this reason that we encourage all campers to lower the sword of connectivity to what is outside of camp and dig into what is right here at camp.

Does Peace Camp offer scholarships?
Yes, we do. Scholarships are available on an as-needed basis. You may reach out to the Registration Bodhi before you register or there is an option to indicate that you are interested in scholarship opportunities during the registration process. In either case, the Registration Bodhi will contact you after your inquiry or registration submission has been sent.

Where is Peace Camp held?
Peace Camp is held in Howell Michigan at Camp Talahi. Camp Talahi is located at 6458 Richardson Rd, in Howell Michigan with a shoreline on Lake Chenango.

Average Drive Times?
35 minutes drive time from Ann Arbor Zen Temple
1 hour 40 minutes drive time from Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple
4 hours drive time from the Chicago Zen Temple

What is ENCORE?
ENCORE is a post-camp leadership committee retreat. Campers who are actively involved in Peace Camp planning and implementation participate in a facilitated post-camp continuous improvement retreat to capture important feedback about this year’s camp to inform next year’s camp in areas ranging from operations to programming and so much more.

More questions answered.
We have lots of answers since we asked lots of questions. We’d like to help you weather the tough questions that could arise between now and camp. If we missed anything, just ask and we’ll add it. So, here we go…. “well, what about” …

  • Is there Tetherball? Check. There is also a volleyball court and GaGa ball. Level up!
  • Swimming Area? Check. It’s huge, it’s sandy. Little and bigs can share the same extra awesome shoreline.
  • Campfire pit. Check.
  • Swim raft? Of course. Outfitted with sand toys, noodles, and lifejackets. The lake is for all intents a private lake – no homes are on it
  • Paths in the Woods? Check. Check. Loads.
  • Blueberry Picking? Yes indeedy. A U-pick blueberry farm is conveniently located within 15 minutes of camp.
  • Dock for morning meditation? Yes!
  • Canoe livery? Yep. Canoes, kayaks, and a paddleboat!
  • Art Tent? Check.
  • Outdoor kitchen. Check. And has a super commercial indoor kitchen when the outdoors aren’t being friendly.
  • Outdoor eating area? Absolutely
  • Shower? Uh Huh.. Make that plural. Multiple showers!
  • Porta potties? Sadly, there will be no need for porta potties at Camp Talahi. It turns out, this site has ample restroom opportunities to relieve our Sangha.
  • Talent show ready? Yes. The lodge’s primary gathering area is 60’ x 23’, with hardwood floors, a piano, and a fireplace.
  • Inclement weather? No problem. This location is outfitted with a large lodge and dormitory cabins that we could use in the event of extreme weather.

And More…
The location’s property is set back from the road and surrounded by Brighton State Recreation Area on all sides. It is very private. Campers will enjoy the peace and tranquility of a truly secluded location with an occasional angler on the opposite shore of Chenango Lake.

Our camp location is well equipped with sufficient outbuildings to augment programming across all ages and especially to service our growing tween, teen, and counselor groups. And there are even more opportunities for growth and development of our Peace Camp experience.