By the divine grace and inspiration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the first ever Balika and Kishori National Summer Camp took place at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Cherry Hill, NJ from July 6 to July12.
Bringing together balikas and kishoris from across North America, this the National Summer Camp (NSC) focused around developing “Dradh Priti.” Over the course of seven days, the attendees enhanced their understanding of Vachnamrut Vadtal 11 in which Bhagwan Swaminarayan states, “Love for the Satpurush is the only way of realising the Atma.”
The NSC consisted of various skills sessions, satsang classes, team building activities and reflective discussions that fostered personal and spiritual growth. These sessions helped to elevate the balikas and kishoris relationship with the Satpurush, their attachment to BAPS, and their ability to become karyakars and role models to other young girls across the continent.
The skills sessions were divided into three different tracks: public speaking, writing and multimedia. Each attendee took part in a comprehensive study of one skill, and learned how it could be utilized for their own personal development as well as for the development of Satsang.
The satsang classes aimed to help the attendees establish a deeper relationship with Satsang and the Satpurush. The satsang classes strengthened the attendees’ satsang foundation, elevated their spiritual knowledge and guided the girls on how to cultivate dradh priti towards Swamishri.
The attendees also participated in different seva, team building activities, outings, extra-curricular sports, evening programs and competitions. Many even pushed themselves to do their first nirjala fast and encouraged their friends to also try their best.
The National Summer Camp was only the beginning of a journey on the path of personal and spiritual progress. The balikas and kishoris will continue to develop the invaluable skills they learned by actively speaking as BAPS representatives in their local mandirs and regions, contributing to satsang sabha syllabi and publications, and creating videos and multimedia products for BAPS activities and events. They will serve as a great resource for their centers by not only applying what they’ve learned but also imparting their knowledge to their fellow satsangis.
All of their experiences at the National Summer Camp left the participants freshly motivated to further their spiritual quotient, with a profound understanding of our culture and finely tuned skills that can be used within and beyond Satsang. These experiences and memories will inspire each of the ninety-five balikas and kishoris to rise to the challenge of becoming the leaders of tomorrow.