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The summer of 2008 was very eventful for the UK Bal-Balika Mandal, with two major initiatives – the India Trip and Summer Training Camp – running simultaneously. To make the most of the winter break, lead volunteers organised a special Winter Training Camp for participants of both initiatives to harness their skills and enhance what they had learnt.

Over 100 balaks and balikas together with 15 sanchalaks and sanchalikas attended the successful three-day camp. They were provided special training and guidance by various speakers on key issues affecting their age group.

Yogvivek Swami spoke on the subject of “Looking After Our Satsang” and Anandpriya Swami discussed the aspects of “An Ideal Satsangi”. Satyavrat Swami spoke on “Performing Seva through Thoughts, Actions and Words”, and Paramtattva Swami explained the value of education. He was later joined by Amar Parekh in an insightful Q&A session where they provided further practical guidance on higher education.

The participants were also given training on public speaking and techniques to improve their presentational skills, which would be helpful in their future career as well as in Satsang. To improve their public speaking ability, the attendees were organised into pairs and asked to prepare and present pre-determined topics based on Satsang and Hinduism. The children were then allocated ten minutes each to deliver their work on which they would be evaluated by a panel of judges.

The training sessions were interspersed with fun and sports, including swimming, golf, ice-skating and bowling. This also proved to be a great time for bonding.

Throughout the three days, the balaks and balikas also had a valuable opportunity to spend quality time with their mentors in freely discussing important topics such as peer pressure and other issues relevant to them currently and in the immediate future.

All attendees also performed abhishek of Shri Nilkanth Varni to pray for their education and personal lives.

In the final session, Yagnatilak Swami gave an inspirational talk on the way forward as newly trained karyakars. As a memento, the attendees were awarded certificates to confirm that they had completed a three-day course on teamwork and public speaking. In summary, these three valuable days provided the children with a deeper insight of Satsang and education, inspiring them to change their lives for the better.

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