Dispensing How-to-Live teachings of Gurudeva, Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, to the young ones is one of the objectives keenly pursued by Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS). This has been the inspiration for the Boys’ Camp at YSS Noida Ashram. In its sixth year, the camp was conducted from June 4 to 10, 2017.
Drawing 36 participants from all over India, this summer camp for boys, aged 12-13, kept the boys engaged in activities and meditation, sports and fun, as well as some useful projects and crafts through the week.
On the eve of the camp, Brahmachari Dhairyanandaji met with the kids for an ice-breaking session to make them feel welcome into Gurudeva’s ashram for their seven-day sojourn.
Day one began with inauguration of the camp by Swami Lalitanandaji who explained the ideals of Guruji’s ‘How-to-Live’ teachings and encouraged the children to be receptive during the programme. Brahmachari Dhairyanandaji conducted the group’s orientation. He shared what a day during the camp would look like for the young ones – listing out the activities, meditation, sports, food and breaks in the time-table.
Supported by a team of nearly 30 volunteers, this camp gave the young participants an opportunity to learn the basics of meditation of YSS and the Energization Exercises. They picked up skills such as drawing and art (conducted by Brahmachari Dhairyanandaji); gained knowledge in various fields such as ‘medicinal plants and their values’, ‘environment and awareness’, music, public speaking, yogasanas, “learn to behave”, computer application, washing clothes, emergency handling and first aid, Vedic Maths and Origami (conducted by Brahmachari Vinayanandaji). Striving for excellence, the boys prepared enthusiastically for poetry recitation and story-telling competitions conducted in the camp.
Narrating anecdotes from Gurjii’s life, Brahmachari Sheelanandaji conducted the Yogikathamritam Path in the mornings; while the Ramayana Path, including the chanting of the Sundar Kand, was conducted by Brahmachari Dhairyanandaji in the evening. It was concluded with Hanuman Chalisa and Hanuman Stuti.
The children heard inspiring discourses during their stay in the ashram. Swami Lalitanandaji spoke to them on ‘Why and How to meditate,’ Brahmachari Sheelanandaji narrated interesting stories to them in his talk on ‘As you sow, so shall you reap.’ In other sessions, children learnt about ‘Living in Harmony’ and how to acquire 'a Healthy Body and a Healthy Mind.’
When has the scorching sun ever stopped boys from hitting the sports field? In the evenings, the campers led by Brahmachari Sheelanandaji got an opportunity to play cricket, rugby or handball.
The final day of the camp comprised a special outing – a visit to the ‘Mother Dairy’ milk plant in the capital – which was an educational trip for the young ones.
Bringing much joy and learning to the participants and their families, the Boys’ Camp concluded on a high note with a cultural programme in the evening – comprising of skits, songs, chants, a slideshow, among others. It was a bonus to have Swami Smarananandaji, General Secretary, who was on a visit to Noida Ashram on this occasion. Receiving applause and inspiration from Swamis Smarananandaji and Lalitanandaji, as well as the families of the attendees and devotees, and souvenirs from Swami Smarananandaji, the participants wrapped up the sixth Boys’ Camp at YSS Noida Ashram on June 10, 2017.