From January 16, 2015 to January 19, 2015, 1,134 youth leaders and 171 volunteers, along with 25 Pujya Swamis from throughout North America met at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront for the 2015 BAPS Youth Leadership Conference known as KarCon.
KarCon, held every 2-3 years at either the regional or national levels, is a conjunction of “karyakar convention”– an opportunity for youth leaders from all over the country to come together and learn effective ways of strengthening their seva. The goal of KarCon is to help volunteers improve the quality and consistency of their performance in serving the youth at their respective centers, while further developing their own spirituality to best lead others. Those who are invited as participants represented various categories of youth leadership, from volunteers who work directly with youths at BAPS mandirs to administrative support volunteers. The entire event was planned by the youth leadership team who served throughout the conference as group leads, logistics coordinators, and one-on-one coaches to help each volunteer develop a roadmap for 2015.
The overall theme of this year’s KarCon, “Shanti, I am a das”, was used to form the foundation for the delegates through five inspiring prasangs from the life of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. These prasangs narrated difficult situations Swamishri faced while doing seva and how he overcame them without becoming overwhelmed or frustrated. Group leads used speeches, creative games, videos, and focused discussions to make learning interactive and engaging for each delegate.
By the end of the three day conference, volunteers left with a better understanding of how to help their local centers grow as a whole while further developing their own satsang. Through the inspiration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, delegates concluded the conference feeling encouraged to be emotionally agile leaders.