June 27 – July 5, 2008
By the divine grace and inspiration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the annual Bal National Summer Camp took place at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Toronto, Canada from June 27, 2009 to July 5, 2009. From the application results, the top 48 balaks were selected from across North America.
This year’s camp, entitled “Dradh Priti,” comprised of various workshops, activities, and discussions aimed at elevating their spiritual and personal lives. Traditionally a forum for developing and improving essential karyakar skills, the camp also aimed to strengthen the balaks’ relationship and attachment to Satsang and the Satpurush. In order to accomplish these goals, the Children’s Summer Camp was structured in two tracks, Leadership and Spirituality, which were designed to provide the youths’ with a balanced learning experience.
The Leadership Track consisted of five different classes: Essential Skills, Ethics, Etiquette, Leadership and Teambuilding. In these classes, the youths were taught skills ranging from public speaking to writing, teamwork to independent thinking, and effective communication to maximizing one’s creative potential, motivating oneself to motivate others and various other leadership skills.
In the Spirituality track, the children learned the deeper meaning behind some of the various Hindu rituals they perform on a daily basis, including aarti, thaal and pooja. Hosting the camp at a traditional Hindu Mandir also added to the overall goal of the camp, as the youths were able to participate in various rituals, such as aarti, chesta and Neelkanth Varni abhishek.
During the camp, the attendees also participated in various evening programs, games, activities and sports, allowing for a different medium by which they were able to develop, interact and have fun. In addition to this, the youths also participated in an exciting outing to nearby Niagara Falls, Botanical Gardens and the Floral Clock.
The camp proved a great success as participants departed with renewed confidence, enhanced abilities, and increased motivation which will undoubtedly propel them to greater heights in their education as well as their personal Satsang.