A two day camp was held in Atlanta, GA, from the 24th-26th of July, for sevikas between the ages of ten and thirteen. The camp was organized in memory of Mausiji’s birth centenary, as well to expose sevikas to Hindu Dharma.
The udghatan of the camp was on the 24th evening, in which the Mukhya Atithi was Sheetal Shah, a member of the Hindu American Foundation. She gave an inspirational speech to the sevikas, and was also very pleased to see such enthusiasm in the youth at a very young age. Parents and various other local members of the Hindu community of Atlanta were present during the inauguration of the camp.
For the next two days, various activities were performed by the sevikas. In the mornings, the day began with yoga and morning shakha, where the sevikas were introduced to different games, niyuddha, danda and pyramids. A few of the sevikas, that attend the Atlanta shakha regularly, prepared interactive presentations on different aspects of Hinduism. For instance, Shilpa Darivemula presented a presentation on the Ten Misconceptions of Hinduism, Nina Appareddy, presented a presentation on the Ten Best Things About Hinduism, while Keerthana presented a presentation called “Tell Me Why,” where answers to certain Hindu customs and rituals were given. A Karyashala was also done, where the sevikas were asked to work on both verbal and non-verbal communication skills. This workshop not only helped in building communication skills but also enhanced team work and cooperation.
During another workshop, the sevikas were divided into four groups, and each group was given a moral, from which they had to prepare skits and present to the rest of the groups. Each was approximately two minutes long, and all the dialogues, illustration, and ideas were prepared by the sevikas themselves. A Vedic Mathematics presentation was conducted by Sandeep Parashar, a Sewa International volunteer, who informed the sevikas of the numerous contributions and strides Hindus have made in the field of mathematics thousands of years ago. The sevikas were especially amazed by the speed through which calculations could be performed. During the Charcha session, the sevikas were divided age wise into smaller groups in order to discuss “How we encounter Hinduism in our daily lives.” The sevikas were divided into three main groups, namely 11 years and younger, 12 year olds, and 13 years and older. This session allowed the sevikas to voice their experiences both at home and elsewhere. This session also made them aware of the importance of certain customs and traditions practiced in Hinduism.
In the evenings, shakha was held, where khel, pyramids and danda were introduced. Shri Shantaka ji gave a Bauddhik on Mausiji and Vedic Women to the sevikas. She touched on the great contributions of Vedic Women such as Maitreyi, Sita, Savitri, and Draupadi. She also elaborated on the contributions and foundation of Mausiji and the Rashtriya Sevika Samiti respectively. A game of Charades and an art session was conducted to bring out their creativity and also to just have fun. During these two sessions, the shikshikas also participated and brought out their own creativity. On the 26th evening, the sevikas presented what they had learned in camp.
During the Samarop, the sevikas presented the khels they had learned as well as the skits, namely “Proud to be a Hindu” and “Think before you act,” in front of their parents. They also presented the Sanghik Geet, “Ish Hame Deta Hai Sab Kuch” which they had practiced during the two days at camp, along with an Amrutvachan, a Subhashit and a Vaiyaktit Geet, “Chalo Jalaaye Deep Vahan” by Keerthana. Shri Shantaka ji also delivered a small Bauddhik encouraging parents to be involved in Hindu activities, and emphasizing the need to keep the Hindu identity alive for the generations to come. The Mukhya Atithi for the Samarop was Dr. Poorna, who was very delighted to see the activities done at the camp, and for the Hindu cause. The Samarop lasted an hour, after which the parents were invited to have Bhojan, which was kindly prepared by the Hindu Temple Of Atlanta.