In an effort to imbibe samarpan-bhavana in the lives of all of our kishores and kishoris, sanchalaks and sanchalikas from across the nation gathered in Houston, TX for a 3-day shibir beginning on June 21, 2003. Upon arriving, sanchalaks/sanchalikas proceeded to the Yogi Youth center where Houston volunteers facilitated the registration process and handed everyone their organized workbooks for each of the classrooms and workshops.
As per Dr. Swami's wishes and Yogiji Maharaj's ruchi, all karyakars performed mukhpãth as a part of their registration activity. This year's mukhpãth was organized to prepare karyakars so that they would be able to conduct an entire sabha without any preparation. Mukhpãth consisted of dhoon, praarthana, kirtan, Vachnamrut Loya-3, prasangs, and Swami ni Vato. The test consisted of both an oral and written part.
Opening morning session:
Pujya Yagnavallabh Swami inaugurated KarCon 2003 with a dip pragatyua ceremony. Here, karyakars had the labh of learning about the importance of developing samarpan-bhavana. P. Yagnavallabh Swami narrated incidents in which Shriji Maharaj and the Guru parampara exemplified samarpan-bhavana.
Implementing His Vision, Implementing a Sabha Plan, Implementing Personal Contact, Reaching the Summit:
In order to develop karyakars into leaders of their mandals, SDC members prepared workshops through which delegates developed sanchalak/sanchalika oriented skills. The workshops ranged from Implementing his Vision, a workshop focused on creating a one year road map that will help karyakars plan their activities according to local, regional and national initiatives; to Implementing a Sabha Plan which taught karyakars how to organize sabhas and more importantly helped them to encourage and enable others in their mandal to do the same. Implementing Personal Contact taught karyakars to effectively develop relationships with kishores/kishoris in their mandal and members of the vadil mandal. Reaching the summit workshop focused on two ideas: executing projects and building a closer relationship with other local, regional, and national karyakars.
Reaching the Summit (Kishores)
During the final workshop of KarCon 2003, sanchalaks aspired to reach the towering heights of Mount Everest. In order to achieve this goal, they were required to apply project management skills learned earlier through other workshops. Sanchalaks cooperated with members from their own regions to plan a regional KarCon.
Mission: Possible (Kishoris)
In the final kishori workshop, sanchalakas were divided into groups according to their region and given the task of planning and implementing a night shibir. Using skills developed from previously attended workshops, kishoris creatively and carefully organized the shibir's theme, goals, schedule, assignments, and deadlines.
Following a rigorous round of classes, karyakars took a break in which they continued to learn basic karyakar development skills through teambuilding sessions. These activities reinforced the ideas of sarmapan (for our team), ekta, and the power of one (doing your part in a team to make the team successful).
Evening programs had two main goals, entertainment and sanchalak/sanchalika introspection. Karyakars were treated to kirtans, traditional speeches, panel discussions and keynote addresses along with multiple "bangs"-multimedia presentations which were prepared by various mandals throughout the US. Evening programs were also designed to fuel self-improvement. The first evening's theme was 'Ever Since.' This theme encouraged karyakars to examine their progress in satsang by evaluating their current level of satsang to levels they were at during shibirs and festivals in the past such as CFI, Catskills, Radio city, Perry and the various other karyakar conventions.
For kishore attendees the second day's theme was "Life Without a Sanchalak". Kishores performed dramas and skits and listened to personal excerpts from P. Santo regarding their own sanchalaks and how their sanchalaks had a hand in helping them become ãdarsh satsangis.
Similarly, the second day's theme for kishoris was "Life Without a Sanchalika". Through skits, commercial breaks of Shayona (for comic relief), and interviews, kishori sanchalikas realized the impact that they make on the lives of thousands of kishoris throughout the country.
On the last day, kishores and kishoris took niyams to please Swamishri. Kishores and kishoris signed 'Swaminarayan' on leaves of two trees and typed the niyam they wished to take into a computer.
The entire shibir climaxed into a slideshow illustrating the ideal example of samarpan. Glimpses of Swamishri showering selfless love upon santos, vadils, kishores, and balaks impacted each sanchalak/sanchalika on a personal level.
P. Munitilak Swami and P. Bhaktiswaroop Swami explained the principles of Samp. Pujya Devandan Swami used Shastriji Majaraj's life as a case study to illustrate the importance of having pride in our Akshar Purshottam Upasana. Pujya Anupam Swami elaborated on the relevance of making both personal and mandal sacrifices in order to fulfill Pramukh Swami Maharaj's mission. Finally, Pujya Amrutcharit Swami took a practical approach in teaching karyakars how to sacrifice their ego while performing their seva.
During the final session of KarCon 2003, everyone applauded the tireless efforts of the Houston Bal Mandal as they worked tirelessly to facilitate the entire event.