'How-to-Live' Girls' Camp (June 2018)

“Wherever different minds meet in the spirit of fellowship, there we find a great harmony, peace, happiness, understanding, and cooperation in life's activities,” said Gurudeva Sri Sri Paramahansa Yoganandaji.

In the spirit of fellowship, lovely little girls hailing from YSS families and in the age group of 11 to 13 years met at the third Girls’ Camp organised by female volunteers at YSS Noida Ashram. The five-day-camp was conducted from June June 6 to 10, 2018. At this unique summer camp, the young participants not only got exposed to various craft and work projects, they also had an opportunity to learn and practice the ‘How-To-Live’ spiritual principles of Guruji.

The camp drew 49 girls from across the country – NCR, Chandigarh, Jammu, Jodhpur, Bhopal, Hyderabad and others. They were placed in four groups named after Indian rivers – Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati and Narmada – and were placed in the care of three group leader volunteers each.

Beginning their day with yogasnas, they would make their way for the meditation hall for a brief chanting and meditation session. Stories from the life of Paramahansa Yoganandaji were shared during the morning Guru Katha sessions that drew from the Autobiography of a Yogi (the best-selling spiritual classic authored by Gurudeva) and from Mejda (by Sananda Lal Ghosh). These stories were interspersed with bhajans and japas.

The attendees were exposed to several art and craft projects during productive learning sessions with volunteers drawn from various streams. The work projects included first aid and emergency handling, basics of chanting, dress designing, and fun with flowers and floral arrangement. The craft projects included making a piggy bank, “learn to behave,” class on energization exercises, and simple cooking. The participants attended the classes with full zeal and enthusiasm.

A video on Guruji was screened during the evening programme on one day, while a presentation on saints and sages of India was made on the next evening. The girls had been informed about this particular session ahead of joining the camp. Dressed up as different Indian saints in corresponding attire, these young ladies gave their introduction through words or songs, drawing the applause of the audience and the judges.

Another evening session was dedicated to bhajan sandhya conducted by volunteers. The whole team of participants and volunteers joined in the chanting, and the Ashram premises were permeated with the devotion and love of these beautiful souls.

On the fourth day, the ‘little women’ got an opportunity to meet and interact with our monastics. The little ones of Guruji sought and found responses to their queries from our revered sannyasis, and also received gifts from them.

‘How-to-Live’ classes on ‘Why and How to Meditate,’ ‘Praying in the Language of our heart,’ ‘I am growing’ and ‘ a Balanced Life leads to happiness’ were part of the schedule of the girls’ camp through which  the enthusiastic participants made an acquaintance with the guidelines of  yama and niyama, hearing many inspirational and value-based interesting stories. An experienced lady doctor, Dr Renu Tiwari conducted a special class for the growing adolescents, which was followed by counseling sessions in groups led by doctors who answered the queries of the participants.

A much-awaited daily activity was sports in the evening. Learning to work as a team, the young ladies clad in different-coloured tee’s sought to compete with each other. The energy was infectious for anyone who stood witness to the frenzy, and the girls enjoyed this time thoroughly.

Treated to ‘delicious, yet nutritious’ food at meal times, the campers were also kept thoroughly hydrated with lemonade and fruit squashes through the hot summer days of June. The menu was much-appreciated in the session of review and comments at the close of the camp. Housed in the dormitories of Noida ashram, the girls stayed under the loving care of group leader volunteers.

Finally, it was the concluding day of the summer camp. Beginning with a brief chanting and meditation session, the entire girls’ camp team of volunteers and participants came together for a group photograph. A host of fun indoor games lay ahead for the girls, who partook of the opportunity with energy and excitement. A slide show capturing glimpses from the preceding five days was shown to the devotees and the attendees. Delightful cultural performances of song, music, dance, skit and yogasanas were presented by the talented lot of participants – a feat accomplished by them in view of their tight day schedule during the camp. They were amply rewarded by the appreciation of the audience. With this, another edition of the girls’ camp for summer at YSS Noida Ashram came to a close.

To view images from the girls' camp, click here.