More than 80 selected children and young volunteers from the UK gathered for a residential summer camp in the presence of Sadguru Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami and visiting sadhus from India from 21 to 25 July 2017 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.

The five-day programme comprised interactive and informative sessions delivered by sadhus and senior volunteers which strengthened the spiritual knowledge and life skills of the young delegates.

Morning discourses explored valuable life lessons from the Vachanamrut which helped the children understand the importance of serving God and others, drawing from the exemplary life of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

Several sadhus advanced the participants’ knowledge of Hinduism and the traditions of the Swaminarayan faith. This incorporated an enlightening series of presentations on Akshar-Purushottam upasana.

Anandswarup Swami encouraged daily reading of the Vachanamrut and explained how its lofty teachings can be helpful in everyday living. Ishwarcharan Swami revealed techniques to cherish one’s experiences with the Satpurush and use them to develop an abiding spiritual connection with him.

Senior volunteers conducted classes on communication skills which increased the children’s confidence in public speaking. The sessions also served to sharpen useful skills across various fields of life and reinforced essential satsang values, including unity, self-discipline and anger management.

The young attendees also explored Hindu rites and rituals and the nine types of spiritual devotion as mentioned in the Shrimad Bhagwat Puran. Children offered their personal devotion to the sacred murti of Harikrishna Maharaj by performing arti, thal and devotional singing.

Contemporary issues were addressed through role-play and interactive presentations. Challenging group activities, such as bridge-building from basic materials found in the home, tested intelligence, dexterity and creativity.

A special outing was organised which created newfound and lifelong friendships. In addition, a multitude of sports and recreational activities developed teamwork skills.

In the education session, sadhus and mentors emphasised the value of a solid and broad base in one’s academic life, encouraging the children to be industrious in their studies to become the very best in their prospective careers. The session was supported by professionals from different industries who provided valuable insight and advice.

The five days built a sound, holistic foundation in an enjoyable environment and ensured that the children utilised their vacation time productively.

One young delegate from Coventry shared, “The camp helped me increase my knowledge, clarify my duties to my family, be more confident and build a stronger bond with my mandir and my guru,” while another from North London added, “The camp was great! I gained a lot of insight for my future studies and my career prospects, and I’ve realised that my choices, company and commitment will help me in every aspect of my life. I’m very lucky to have been selected for the camp. I now feel more motivated than ever to do well in Satsang and my studies and to fulfil my potential.”

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