Students of YSS Dwarahat School Participate in Camp for Children (2018)

An annual feature of the Paramahansa Yogananda Bal Krishnalaya at YSS Dwarahat Ashram is a week-long residential programme for the students that the little ones look forward to every year with great enthusiasm.

This year, too, around 34 children studying in standard three, four and five participated in this Children’s Camp that took place from March 24 to 30. Students of this charitable school of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS) hail from underprivileged families residing in the town of Dwarahat and nearby villages. Availing of this opportunity to get exposed to a variety of art and craft projects and life skills, these children also learnt how to meditate and lead a healthy, balanced life.

On the initial day, the camp was inaugurated by the monastic in-charge of YSS Dwarahat Ashram Swami Vasudevanandaji, where he welcomed the children, the volunteers and teaching staff to the children’s camp. They were introduced to the daily schedule that began at six in the morning. The attendees were divided into five groups and each group was assigned group leaders to assist and guide them. Volunteers who had travelled to the mountain town of Dwarahat from across the country served in this camp in various roles – as group leaders, craft teachers, kitchen and hospitality, and so on.

An essential feature of the how-to-live training of Gurudeva Sri Sri Paramahansa Yoganandaji’s spiritual organization is the laying of a spiritual foundation for the lives of the young ones. Children attended group meditation thrice a day, where they prayed, meditated and chanted cosmic chants of YSS. They were introduced to YSS Energization Exercises, taught by devotees. They were also introduced to different subjects like photography, art and craft, emergency handling, Vedic mathematics, eating etiquettes and food essentials, and so on. Devotee volunteers who were experts from various fields were brought in to train these little ones. During the day, they were also trained to prepare for a cultural programme which would be the finale of the camp.

Meal time was a time for treats, and the children were served a menu that took ample care of their desire for variety and great taste. Well-fed and well-taught, the students made the most of the time in the picturesque setting of the Dwarahat Ashram.

In their various craft and work projects, the students were exposed to interesting themes that sparked their curiosity. The photography class was an occasion for them to explore the visual medium and create art through pictures. In the Vedic mathematics sessions, they got to learn newer ways of playing with numbers. At the kitchen and food sessions, they were introduced to the importance of consuming seasonal and local food, among other things. The young artists sharpened their skills at the art classes.

The concluding day was the annual function of the Yogoda Bal Krishnalaya, Dwarahat, where all the students and their parents were invited to witness an enthralling cultural programme prepared by the children under the guidance of volunteers. The happiness that the schoolchildren brought on the faces of the audience – parents and volunteers alike – was palpable in the atmosphere. In the words of one such volunteer, “It was a rejuvenating and satisfying experience to serve these kids!” As for the young campers, the bliss was writ across their gleaming faces, and many more children expressed their desire to join the next such camp at YSS Dwarahat Ashram.