High School students from across the United States traveled to the wilderness of Montana to participate in Family Peace Association’s annual leadership training program, Jr. Leadership Task Force, through July and August.

Out here surrounded by mountains, trees, and the clear sky above, there are nearly no human traces. There are not the distractions of our everyday lives back in our homes— TV, music, our phones, computers, or whatever causes us to forget about time, and indulge ourselves in something where we forget about the concept of time. But time is very important, because unlike other materialistic, physical entities, time cannot be replaced. So taking this time from our busy schedules gives us time to clear our body and mind. With no electricity, you wake with the sun and sleep with the moon, like our ancestors did. And at night, up on the mountains, hundreds of stars light up the sky, a sight rare to see back home. You become connected with our original selves, and you come to wonder how we ever forgot about the beauty around ourselves in the world.

Kent (16) from Seattle

Preconceptions lead to a mind full of doubt, hopelessness and fear. Nobody knows when the sun will shine, or if it will rain. However, the presence of Shimjung (a Korean word for an impulse to unconditionally give love) has the power to become that one striking beam of light to bring hope, motivation, and success. My friend and I went from door to door in an unfamiliar town of Montana to see if anybody would like to join us in a service project in their community. My mind was mixed with determination and doubt, especially at a place that I have never been to. However, my challenges were meant to be overcome because I wanted to give my sincerity for others to experience the opportunity of selfless service. I saw faces of smiles, expressions and thoughts of consideration, gratitude towards our heart, and the desire to also give back. That Shimjung I saw in people gave me hope and became my light within the darkness.

Joo (17) from California