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Mayapur Hosts Successful 10-Day Kids Camp
By Kulavati Krishnapriya Devi Dasi, ISKCON News Staff Writer   |  Jul 10, 2024
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Recently, there was a 10-day annual kids’ summer camp held in Mayapur in collaboration with devotees from Chennai. The camp, which ran from June 10th to June 21st, catered to children aged six to twelve and focused on the theme of “Forest Lila.”

Through interactive sessions, the children learned through stories about some of the forests mentioned in the scriptures, such as Chitrakoot, Dandakaranya, Panchavati, Dwaitavana, Vrindavana, Naimisharanya, and the Jharkhand forest.

The camp’s daily activities included prayers, shloka recitation, bhajans, and Krishna-conscious rhymes, along with engaging games, crafts, and storytelling sessions centered around the theme. These activities not only educated the children about nature but also fostered a sense of spiritual and cultural awareness.

Inspired by her mother, Tarini Radha Devi Dasi from Chennai, the camp was organized by Bhagyavati Radha Devi Dasi and her husband, Nanda Jivana Krsna Das. Speaking about the history of the camp, Tarini Radha said, “The first camp I did was in the year 2000, and I got about 62 children. By 2010, we had ten centers with regular weekly classes. Just before COVID, we had 60 units all over Chennai and 500 children registered every year, including the older children. We would hold the summer camp for ten days.”

She continued, “I used to print books and give them to the children. COVID came and taught us how to preach digitally. We started creating digital resources. I started reaching out to all the leaders of India and outside, and we started increasing our resources. We have a team of devotees under the banner Glory of India, and we are waiting for the launch of our website.”

The camp organized in Mayapur had an excellent response. One parent shared, “My daughter told me yesterday, ‘I’m sad that summer camp is ending tomorrow.'” Another parent expressing a desire for more such events said, “This summer camp was such an amazing learning experience for our children. Can you please make one, two, or three more during this holiday season? I think we all parents and children will be very happy to continue.”

Another parent expressed heartfelt gratitude, saying, “I’m so, so grateful that you did this. This is such an amazing project. I think it’s such a huge investment in kids and in the future, as well as for the golden memory collection for my daughter and me. I still hear her voice singing every day about Lord Rama, and I almost learned it myself.”

Bhagyavati Radha Devi Dasi said, “I’m only 20, but my mom did this every year. I would attend these classes in the temple, and it would happen every other place, but our house was close to the temple. So it was such a strong part of my childhood, and I’m happy to be sharing this with these kids and eventually with our daughter, who is now one. My husband is from South America and grew up in Mayapur. We are both from a devotee family. It’s such a good foundation and community for kids to grow up with these songs and stories and the company of other kids being engaged in a happy Krishna-conscious way.”

She continued, “Maybe in the future, we would like to organize a Kartik camp. We’re also thinking of one camp for different festivals so the kids can learn more about them and an annual camp with weekly classes. We will keep you all updated when we’ve more to offer.”

Tarini Radha Devi Dasi shared, “So from class one to class eight, I’ve written some books, and I’m awaiting publisher acceptance. So, in the meantime, we are using the stories. In the book, before the story, there is a connect section so the children can connect from their current experience to that story because the stories are mostly from a different age by one era from the Puranas.” 

If you want to learn more about these programs and educational resources, please visit their Facebook and Instagram.

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