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Hindu youth camp infuses spiritual values in fun atmosphere

August 2009
Hindu youth camp infuses spiritual values in fun atmosphere

About 50 children attended Radha Madhav Society’s second Summer Hindu Youth Camp, held from June 27 to July 4 at Indian Springs State Park near Atlanta. The main purpose of the camp was to give Hindu kids growing up in North America a strong spiritual foundation by teaching them about Hinduism and Hindu culture. Parents were encouraged to join their children at the camp and some did so.

Though it was only RMS’s second year in hosting the camp, registration had to close almost a month in advance because of the overwhelming response. People jumped at the opportunity to attend a fun-filled camp that exposes the entire family to the richness and strengths of Hinduism and teaches them how to practice it.

Children were divided into two groups -- ages 5 to 9 and 10 to 15 – with age-appropriate schedules for them. Children participated in several activities where they learned the fundamentals of Hinduism, yoga, arts and crafts, Hindi, musical instruments (dholak, harmonium and manjeera), great Hindu saints (Prahlad and Dhruv), dancing (garba) and games (kho-kho, pitthu, cricket, etc.) in a fun and nurturing environment.

They also celebrated various festivals (Janamashtami, Holi, Shivratri, Navratri and Guru Poornima), went on nature walks, had a picnic and put on a cultural program for everyone at the end of the camp.

Older children had the opportunity to discuss the issues they face growing up in two cultures (Indian at home and western outside home) with Sushri Siddheshvari Devi, the founder of RMS (also known as Didi Ji) and got a spiritual perspective on how they should handle them. While children were attending various classes, parents spent their time in Satsang with Didi Ji, learning how to incorporate spiritual discipline in their daily lives and in the lives of their children.

At the end of the week, everyone -- children and adults alike -- seemed sad to leave. The overwhelming positive feedback collected by RMS seemed to indicate that the camp attendees had a great time and it was difficult to believe that the week had come to an end. The parents, children, organizers and volunteers were impressed by the camaraderie that all the camp attendees displayed.

“This camp was a life changing experience for me,” one participant wrote. “I learned so much more about Hinduism in a fun way. Didiji’s lectures were great, all the teachers and volunteers there were extremely friendly, and I came back home way more religious then I was before the camp.”

According to Dr. Manisha Gupta, President of Radha Madhav Society, the smiles on the faces of the children at the end of the camp were the biggest reward for the organizers and volunteers. They are inspired to work diligently to ensure that next year’s camp is an even greater success, Gupta said.

To find out more about Radha Madhav Society and its mission, please visit www.RadhaMadhavSociety.org

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