Youth is a time to be adventurous, to defy the norms and to boldly explore newer fields of experiences. But there are two worlds for us to explore: the outer world with its infinitely engaging things – of friends, family, career, adventure, and the internet! – and the Undiscovered Shores of the inner worlds which prepare and enable us to navigate through the complex maze of this outer world and can make us into who we are meant to be. Life will be complete only if we include and align both the outer and inner fields of experiences.
With the aforementioned as the main focus, the annual ALL INDIA YOUTH CAMP 2019, themed ‘UNDISCOVERED SHORES’ this year, was organized in Puducherry from January 4 to 12, 2019. A total of 30 youth, aged 18-28 years, from 12 states of India participated in the camp. Most of the participants had come to Puducherry for the first time, and they all could feel the ambience that this small but beautiful city had in every corner.
Sri Aurobindo Society (SAS) has been organizing such youth camps annually for the past 33 years, and has been touching and transforming young lives all over the country. This year, it was partially funded by the Lala Diwan Chand Trust, New Delhi. Shivakumar, Director, AuroYouth, Riddhi Shah from Mumbai, and an energetic team of resource persons from SAS organized the entire camp.
The camp had discussions, interactions, activities, explorations under the following themes:
- What It Means to Be Young India
- Undiscovered Shores
- Shooting Star
- Source of Happiness
- Fearless Shores
- Exploring the Beauty in our Life
- Vande Mataram
- Nation Building & Sanskrit
- Dance & Rhythm
- Health and Happiness
- Art in Nature
- Questions & Answers on Spirituality
- Exploring Music
- Vision of Sri Aurobindo Society
There were also a day of the adventure-filled trip to Auroville on bicycles, exploration of the landscape of Ashram’s farm ‘Matri-Udyanam’, and daily yogic exercises. The new features introduced in this youth camp included an intense last 3-day retreat at SHARANAM (a centre and campus of architectural excellence in design, with a focus on genuine efforts at environmental sustainability), 10 km away from the Puducherry city, and a beautiful Mehfil – a poetic gathering in a beautifully decorated setting – where all the participants shared their lyrical creations. On the last day, the participants offered a cultural programme as part of their expression of gratitude, and this was followed by the concluding session where certificates and some beautiful gifts from the Ashram were distributed to all.
The camp was a journey of exploring the undiscovered shores of the inner landscapes of each of the participant, with thoughtfully designed sessions to facilitate this journey. It was an overwhelming experience for many, a deeply fulfilling journey for all – both the participants and the facilitators!
Here is a link to the comprehensive report of the camp (PDF~2.5 MB), beautifully written by the participants of the Camp:
Here is some feedback from the Participants:
The camp was filled with calm and intense energy and it did not dip at all during the whole of the camp. The yogic exercises were at the right pace and perfect for people doing it for the first time & for those who have been doing it for a while. —Akhila Bandi
The organisation is amazing!! I did not expect this much care, love, interaction with the organising people. —Bansri P Rabadiya
I felt that in all the sessions a two-way communication happened, triggering new questions and ideas into my mind. I liked that we were left with questions that we have to explore on our own and that no one else except us to answer these questions. —Aman Walia
I expected to learn and experience spirituality, and the camp gave me everything whatever I expected. All the topics were done with an activity so that it was easy to understand and experience it. —Vivek Anand
My belief in the Divine increased and I would love to come back. The Auroville trip was the best experience! The people I met there, the Peace! I was one with me! The Banyan tree! That day would forever be dotted in my memory. And I’m going back. —Nivedita Raghupal
Just one word: WOW!!! —Prateek
I didn’t expect so many things will be covered in this short span of time! The variety of topics created different triggers, which sometimes created a deep silence. Liked the flame session; it allowed me to become so silent and concentrated which nothing else has given up till now. The level of awareness was deeply impactful. —Nikhil Sharma
Mehfil session was very good – I cried during it and felt deep inside that the whole night was for me. And on part of organisation, this was so far the most punctual & well-structured camp that I have attended. The Dance & Vande Mataram sessions were the best, with such enthusiasm! —Anushka Lohiya
Inner Stillness, Fearless Shore, dance, music, drawing in Nature – all of these sessions pushed my limits and allowed me to be what I want to be. Vande Mataram and dance sessions: Best! Best!! Best!!! Can we have 5 more days to have more sessions with all the facilitators. —Rithwik M Singh
The seamless flow from topic to topic involving not merely individual but also collective participation, lead to 30 hearts & heads working together! The camp was inspirational. —Abhinav Kadambi
Last 3 days at Sharanam: It changed my perception of beauty, of concentration, of life, of Nature, and I discovered myself and how to live. Truly live. And I just want to say that this camp has changed my life! —Sindhuja Khare