Over America's Labor Day weekend, August 29-31, karyakars from the Southeast region gathered on a beautiful beach in Jacksonville, Florida for the 2003 Regional Karyakar Convention (KarCon). The focus of the shibir was to teach karyakars through workshops, activities, and classroom sessions how to improve various aspects of their mandals, mainly personal contact and sabha.
This year's theme was "Samarpan - The Power of One." The theme showed karyakars that one person could make a difference if he was dedicated and willing to make sacrifices for his seva. The theme also embodied the power of working together as one. Karyakars learned that one team who is willing to:
Sahan karvu (tolerate)
Anukul thavu (be flexible)
Man gamthu mukhvu (compromise/give up what one likes)
Paras paras madat karvi or gasavu (help out everywhere or work for others)
...have SAMP can take a mandal a long way, and that NOW is the time to start. And to start, it must start with each karyakar. During the workshops, attendees were taught how to enhance their mandals with various techniques. In the workshop entitled "Sabha 202," karyakars were taught the art of constructive feedback. They practiced giving feedback in a way that would be more receptive to the other party. They understood the need for having feedback sessions after sabha so that the quality of sabha could improve. The other workshop was entitled "Implementing Personal Contact (PC)" and in it, karyakars were taught that PC has to be personal, meaning that it must come from their heart. Karyakars were also taught that PC should be based on common grounds.
There were different activities held throughout the shibir that also aided karyakars. These activities included lessons on setting SMART goals, conducting goshti, computing skills, reporting etc. There were also two classroom sessions conducted by Pujya Saints that inspired the karyakars and motivated them along the lines of the theme. One of the classrooms was titled "The Power of SAMP" and explained the above concept. The other classroom was titled "Seva Ni Saachi Reet," which explained the need for perfection in every seva the karyakars undertook. After intensive workshops, activities, and classrooms all day, the karyakars bonded while having dinner on the beach. Groups were formed and food items were assigned to the groups in order to make the dinner for that night. Karyakars made items ranging from corn to salads to mukhvaas. After the groups finished their assigned item, the karyakars were able to enjoy themselves with appetizers and sports and other activities on the beach. When they returned, they enjoyed their self-made dinner. After the dessert, karyakars ended the day with a session of gun-grahak drashti with Pujya Santos. Overall, through one and half days of workshops, activities, and classrooms, karyakars left Jacksonville inspired and motivated to make changes and improvements in their mandals through the realization that through Samarpan, they too, can imbibe the power of one within their mandals and karyakar teams.