For the very first time, a Youth Camp in Hindi was organized for a group of 31 young boys and girls from rural areas and small cities of north India. The participants attended from six different Sri Aurobindo Society (SAS) centres of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Patiala.
Shivakumar and Kirti Adhikari coordinated the camp held from November 24 – 29, 2016 at Society House, Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry. The SAS facilitators team, which helped in working out the logistics and conducting sessions, included Alok Pandey, Dr. Sampadanada Mishra, Dr. Aarti, Dr Pachegaonkar, Ravi Shanker, Shivakumar, Kirti Adhikari, Shruti, Basudev, Reema and Kiran. Jaya from ‘Unity Pavillion’ in Auroville helped in coordinating the sessions in Auroville. The other facilitators from Auroville were Fif, Hamish and Lalit and Mita.
The camp started with 29 of the 31 participants traveling together by train to Puducherry. A WhatsApp group of camp participants and a few facilitators was created to initiate the process of connecting with each other. Participants were handed out written copies of motivational songs and along audio recordings. They learnt and sung these songs during the long train journey. The songs given were based on the camp theme—‘Self-development Through Integral Yoga’ (with focus on ‘Knowing Oneself’). This helped in creating a beautiful bonding among the participants which resulted in healthy and warm friendships.
The sessions were a balanced mix of yoga and meditation, talks, interactive-sessions, worksheets, theatre activities, stories, chanting and reading. In planning and conducting the sessions, the focus was kept on ‘knowing oneself’ and the necessity of having clarity of one’s aim in life.
A special brochure was prepared in simple Hindi for the participants. The contents included small write-ups about Sri Aurobindo and the Mother; excerpts from The Masters’ work about knowing oneself; the importance of relics; Darshan days; worksheets and camp songs.
At the end of the sessions, the participants discovered within themselves fresh energy and enthusiasm. We also observed a beginning of the process of opening up within these shy and inhibited youngsters. It seemed as if a mould was being broken and something gentle and beautiful emerging in their personalities.
The boys and girls were taken to Nandanam School in Auroville. The school’s education system elicited a lot of questions about the Mother’s system of teaching and learning being followed there.
The final day saw the participants offering a presentation in the form of songs and dances based on the learning they had imbibed during those six days.
All the activities and interactions were conducted in a lucid manner and at a level which made the knowledge and information very interesting and accessible for the young campers. A new zeal was palpable when they shared their aspirations and action plans both at collective and individual levels after the camp was over.
All of the participants went back with the hope and promise that they would be able to attend more such camps in the future.