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HSS-Southeast Youth Camp held at Ummiya Mataji Temple in Macon

August 2004
HSS-Southeast Youth Camp held at Ummiya Mataji Temple in Macon

More than 25 HSS youth and adult leaders from Georgia, South Carolina and Florida converged at the Shree Ummiya Mataji Mandir, Macon, on June 26. The one-day camp was intended to train and motivate HSS swayamsevaks and sevikas to effectively conduct youth (Shakha) and children (Balagokulam) activities in their respective areas. A yoga session set the pace for the day that included motivational workshops, lectures and seminars. The workshops focussed on running a Shakha/Balagokulam efficiently and public relations.

A group discussion titled, "Challenges as growing Hindu youth in the US", tackled the issues Hindu youth face as students in schools/colleges. It brought to light stereotypes and misinformation about India and Hindus that history and social sciences textbooks proffer. There was unanimous agreement that as students, the Hindu youth have an important role to play. Strategies and ideas were discussed for students to remedy misconceptions.

About 35 youth and temple members joined to conclude the event with cultural games and a presentation titled "Contributions of India in Science and Technology". Many attendees were unaware of the phenomenal achievements of ancient Indians such as the great ayurvedic sage Sushruta being the father of modern surgery and the invention of the decimal system. Dinesh Patel, a temple trustees, was the chief guest at the closing ceremony. He applauded the attempt to expose the youth to the facets of life as Hindus in America at the newly constructed temple. Patel hoped that the camp would motivate them to participate in regular activities at the local level.

The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing together all offshoots of Hindu dharma and building an active Hindu-American community in the US since 1989. The HSS organizes several camps during the year and enriches the youth about their history and culture.

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