Indian community constitutes significant population of
Canton and surrounding suburbs of Detroit. Obviously
parents want their kids to be aware of our rich Hindu
heritage. This was second attempt this year in this
direction after the Balagokulam Teachers Training Camp
on March 12th at the same place.
There was very good response for this half day event.
Exceeding our expectation, about 64 kids registered
out of which 55 kids attended the camp. 51 kids were
present through out the camp and 4 kids left
in-between because of some other commitments. On-line
registration was used for this which proved very
helpful in tracking the registration rate, prompt
confirmations and reminders, final listing of all
participants etc. Thanks to Digantji for providing
this facility on Balagokulam web site.
After initial registration formalities, the camp
started with one of the kids reciting Gayatri Mantra.
The camp sessions were organized in a way such that
physical sessions were followed by mental/intellectual
sessions. 10 volunteers helped session coordinators in
conducting their respective session activities.
Sunilji Kulkarni and Shriram came all the way from
Purdue to help the camp activities.
The first session of games was sufficient to bring the
kids out of their inertia after lunch. They enjoyed
different team games. It was followed by Shloka
session in which the participants learnt about
different shlokas related to their daily activities
like after waking up, while taking bath and before
taking meals etc. Thereafter snacks were served to
refuel the kids.
After snacks, Mr. Brian and Mr. Ryan from 'East West
conducted an interesting session on Yoga, self defence
through martial arts and some meditating techniques
with professional expertise. The session was quite
interactive and kids loved it. After a short break the
kids sang the popular bhajan – Raghupati Raghav Raja
Ram …. And also learnt the meaning and message of the
bhajan. It was followed by the sanghik geet – 'Hindu
Mission is Prerana'. In story telling session the kids
learnt the art of giving through a moral story and
also enjoyed a skit on 'Turtle & Rabbit'. Then there
was second round of interesting games. While the kids
were busy in games, the parents were given a
presentation and information on Balagokulam activities
and it's current relevance and importance in
developing the alround personality of a Hindu kid.
Then there was final session of Arts and Craft in
which the kids made a bracelate from the beads and
painted a picture on Ganesha on an aluminium foil. It
was their present to their mothers on the Mother's day
the next day.
In the concluding session, certificates were
distributed to the participants. Among the respected
guests were Dr. Yashpalji Lakra -- President,
Ekalvidyalaya, USA (http://ekalvidya.org), Shri.
Chalakodeji -- Senior Teacher in the Troy Chinmay
Mission Chapter, Shri. Narendra Sheth -- GEETMALA
Radio Program Founder and Vice President of IEROM
(http://ierom.org/), Shri. Suresh Shah-President,
Hindu temple of Canton
(http://www.thehindutemple.org/). Sureshji, in his
speech, expressed satisfaction over the organization
of the program and assured full support for such camps
in future. The half day camp, full of interesting and
refreshing activites, concluded with prarthana.
One of the observations from the camp was that the new
generation kids are very creative and logical in
thinking with a very good sense of humour. They can be
immensely productive if coupled with Hindu values.
Some flashing events are mentioned below –
During shloka session, on asking what do they do after
waking up, one of the kids smartly said he goes back
to sleep …
During Story telling, the story goes like an apple
tree gives out its fruits, branches and everything to
its guardian. One smart kid asked – how come the tree
remains alive after cutting all its branches …?
During the Arts and Craft session, the assigned
activity was to color the picture of Ganesha. One of
the kids drew "OM" on Shri Ganesha's palm.