Florida Youth Camp 2009 and Ramayan Yagna

The Shri Surya Narayan Mandir in Florida completed their 5th Annual Spiritual Retreat and Youth Camp. This year, the youths were in for a special treat. Our Camp Director, Pt. Vishnu Hardowar, decided to have a two week long Youth Camp, beginning on June 7th, 2009 and concluding on June 21st with the graduation ceremony.

During the first week of the Youth Camp, we had our very first yagna in our new building. We had a Ramayan Yagna which began on Thursday, June 11th and concluded on Sunday, June 14th. Our Vyasji, Pt. Vishnu Hardowar, presented a beautiful 4 session yagna, during which he related the glories of Prabhu Shri Ram. The campers attended the yagna in the evenings instead of the usual 8:30AM – 5:00PM day. This was a great opportunity for the kids and their parents to attend the yagna and learn the teachings of the Ramayan.

We were finally able to conduct the Youth Camp in our new building, and as a result we had over 60 children. Every day began with Surya Namaskar and chanting to Surya Bhagwan in the mandir yard. The day continued with havan and prayers. Later in the day, the campers heard lectures from our Camp Director, Pt. Vishnu Hardowar, as well as several other senior campers. Pt.Vishnu enlightened the campers about the basics of Sanatan Dharma and made sure all the kids were “Proud to be Hindus.” We also had guest speakers from our community, such as a dentist, lawyer, and teacher. At the end of the day the kids had a chance to break into groups and pursue interests such as dancing, singing, and acting. Throughout the day, the campers enjoyed wonderful meals prepared by the lovely parents who were helping all day.

On Saturday, June 20th we held our Annual Symposium in the evening, where the children had a chance to perform in front of their parents and family members. Each and every child had the opportunity to perform for their parents, and several children were involved in multiple presentations. We had several dances and skits, and campers also chanted prayers, verses of the Bhagavad Gita, and the Hanuman Chalisa.

Sunday, June 21st was a magnificent graduation ceremony, in which all of the campers received certificates in recognition of their completion of two weeks of training in the principles of Sanatan Dharma.

Yours In Dharma,