Balika and Kishori Karayakars from Boston, Cherry Hill, Clifton, Edison, Fall River, Jersey City, New York, Parsippany, Philadelphia, and Washington DC gathered in Washington DC mandir from December 23rd-December 26th.
Activities commenced on December 24th with an opening session followed by a retreat to Washington DC's National Natural History Museum and ESPN Zone. This retreat was a time for karyakars to get to know karyakars from other centers and talk about their mandals with one another. The day was capped off with an evening program titled "The Karyakar", where random karyakars were asked to do certain tasks such as designing a team logo, making a commercial for BAPS Herbal products. This evening program tested their creativity and teamwork.
Saturday began with a keynote on what the theme Reflect. Act. Satsang. means. It was then followed by a speech on "Dhani Thavu" (ownership). Karyakars then broke up into their individual sevas and spent the day going to different workshops and activities based on their seva. Balika Workshops included Creativity/Two Minute Drill, Organizational Skills, Teaching Effectively, Systemizing, Classroom Management, etc. Kishori Workshops included Personal Contact, Sabha Preparation, Creating an Effective Network Team, etc. Balika Activities included team building, roles and responsibilities, and "Looks Matter." Kishori Activities included professionalism, introducing BAPS and the kishori mandal to an outsider in 2 minutes, how to listen effectively, making presentations interesting, etc. The day concluded with a program titled "Tamaaraa maa Chhe?" where karykars were divided up into teams to complete certain tasks including: Putting together an intricate puzzle, completing an obstacle course, eating/drinking distasteful foods, and finally testing satsang knowledge. All sanchalikas from the Northeast then had a meeting where they learnt about national/regional projects, discussed their goals with another, came up with a regional calendar of events for 2005.
Sunday morning began with a samuh puja. It was then followed by breakfast and an enlightening speech on the importance of Gun Grahak Drashti. The rest of the morning, thereafter, was dedicated towards Northeast Akshardham fundraising. A stirring multimedia presentation on Akshardhaam caught everyone's attention. An inspirational speech raised questions on our efforts as karyakars and what it means to have attained this golden opportunity. A workshop then broke each center up into groups, which provided them with a brainstorming session to raise money for Akshardham in the Northeast.
The three and a half day convention then concluded with an entertaining multimedia presentation recapping all the beautiful memories. After some delicious lunch, karyakars then departed for their centers, their heads brimming with ideas to take back to their local centers.