The 2019 Regional Summer Shibirs for both Bal and Balika wings took place in six North American regions from June through August. More than 3,000 youths from across the continent between ages 9 and 13 took part in the two and a half day shibir themed, “Swaminarayan Sadhana”. This shibir was designed to build on the 2018 North American Youth Convention: Moksha. His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj inspired this shibir to encourage children to think about the everyday thoughts and actions, or Sadhana, which develop them as individuals of character and lead them on their path to Moksha.
Mahant Swami Maharaj believes that it is imperative for the younger generation to understand their history and values to be proud of their heritage. Under his guidance, and the guidance of swamis, “Swaminarayan Sadhana” was designed to help delegates understand their Swaminarayan identity through historical examples dating to the time of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Delegates understood the values Bhagwan Swaminarayan expounded and the devotees from all walks of life which followed his teachings. Examples of devotees from Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s time were used to empower delegates to live according to the principles of niyam, nischay, and paksh in a contemporary setting. Surveys conducted of youths across North America provided key concerns, insights, and questions they have when practicing their every day sadhana. This feedback helped shape key areas of focus for this shibir.
The concluding program brought together all classroom sessions to help the youth understand that they should embark on a spiritual journey, or sadhana, to progress on the path to moksha. Youths learned that their journey can be made more enjoyable through adherence to Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s values and faith in God while simultaneously supporting their peers’ on this journey. Youth left the shibir with a greater understanding of the principles of Swaminarayan Sadhana and its relevance to their individual lives.