The family camp at Vraj in the month of May is a featured and much awaited event for the families associated with the HSS in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware regions. This year’s camp started on Saturday, May 13th at 11am and ended at noon on Sunday, May 14th.
The camp activities began with introductory games, by the end of which the entire group of over 140 people got to know each other at least by name. The morning session ended with Shakha. Lunch was followed by two sessions of intellectual activities.
The first session consisted of two games, Ram Sethu and Article search, both being team activites. As the games involved teamwork, by the end of this session all the participants became comfortable with each other as they were putting their brains together in getting over intellectual challenges.
After a brief break the second session started with a presentation about the life of Shri Guruji Golwalkar, followed by a group discussion on the topic: Preserving Hindu values in America. Sri Gadadhara Panditji from ISKON oversaw the discussions. He summarized at the end by giving examples from his own life on what challenges we as Hindus face in the United States. He emphasized the need for proper samskaras from childhood and for parents to realize and face the challenges with an open mind. For the children, a parallel arts and crafts session was conducted in which they learnt while coloring about the various Astras (weapons) of Hindu Gods and Goddesses with reference to Goddess Durga’ss annihilation of the demon Mahishasura.
After the snacks, in the evening Shakha the participants were introduced to niyudh(Indian martial arts) and played Kabaddi, kho and other games.
After the dinner, it was time for the manoranjan program, where the participants enjoyed playing charades, followed by the bhajans led by Sri Gadadhara Panditji and his group from ISKON. The family camp was of course incomplete without the bonfire where everyone had a gala time singing songs.
With an early start to the next morning everyone assembled by 6.45am for the morning Shakha. It was surprising to see even the little ones up and ready for the activities. Later on some very interesting games like Cricket, Baseball, Soccer and tug-of-war and were played.
One of the highlights of the camp was the wonderful exhibition about Hindu dharma and its contribution to the world. It made every one feel proud of their heritage.
During the concluding program on Sunday, particpants got to learn about what we as Hindus need to do individually, as a family and finally how we can contribute to the society in our own little ways. At the end everyone present in the hall took home the message of unity, joyful giving and selfless service for society.