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Yuva Sangam (Youth Camp) organized by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh during the weekend of Oct. 1st & 2nd 2005, at Camp Io-Dis-E-Ca, served the purpose of creating awareness among the Hindu youth in the Mid-west of USA.

The camp emphasized that we the strong hands of the world should extend out and join together to do ‘Seva’ - theme for the camp. Forty students attending different levels of education packed with enthusiasm gathered at Solon, IA from Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois, to meet their neighbors of their own origin and exchange ideas of how they can aid to fulfill the purpose of the camp.

Striving to aim at the target, the camp proceeded with various events organized by the youth.

On Saturday, refreshing after the long voyage, the ice barrier was broken by all to become friends heartily.

Exchange of ideas by the youth started with the debating sessions wherein one of the topics was to define and compare ‘Hinduism’ and ‘Secularism’ with paradigms. Later in the day, Pradheep Challiyil ji’s presentation enlightened people with the notion that Seva as a ritual can be only be done with the mind being aware of the present and not living in the past or future. This awareness is something which eventually gives joy to the senses too. His explanation about why the Hindu puja is conveyed with all the accessories was to be agreeably noted too.

Also, the book ‘Journey to the Source: Decoding Matrix Trilogy’ written by Pradheep ji, relates the series of Hollywood ‘Matrix’ movie to Hindu symbolism, which is said to be worth read for a healthy mind and body.

Mindful with the obtained knowledge, burning the extra calories in the body through fun-filled games sorted out by the youth was smart idea to keep the senses alert. As twilight arrived, Aditya Ingalhalikar, one amongst the youth, brought out quick differences between the myths and beliefs of the youth of present and of ancient generation in the presentation ‘A renaissance of Intelligentsia’. Campfire signifying the blazing hearts of youth and also burning of the evil was supplemented to complete the lively day.

Sunday morning sun was welcomed by the youth with energizing trail walk, yoga and games with the thought of physical health, a necessity for mental health and wealth. Proceeding with clear ethics, the youth listened to Shri Shyam ji Parande, the coordinator of the esteemed Sewa International organization. He presented a session on the Sewa International and intellectual events in Narendra’s life. Sewa International’s works at the time of crisis were not only commended, but also made us youth realize about how much we can contribute by our joint efforts to not only the community around us, but also to our motherland’s needy communities. Shri Shyam ji Parande during his presence also detailed to the youth some of the simple, yet inspiring instances in Swami Vivekananda’s principled life. Two amongst the youth’s Rishikesh Utkarsh Athalye and Darshan Rasik Soni, who are chosen by God to lead the world to the righteous like the buds plucked as an offering to god, added the spirit by giving out their decision to become full-time volunteers and concentrate on seva around the world for the coming few years.

Smt. Swati Dandekar, first Indian born American citizen to win an election for a state legislature in the US, honored the camp with her gracious presence and shared with the youth her great grandfather’s words of wisdom. She said that it is not the society around us that should accept us, but we should adapt to the society as it is and simultaneously not forget our mother culture. At the conclusion, youth from different states came up with their way of approach to unite hands to carry out various seva tasks.

Overall, this camp highlighted achievements by the youth in the Midwest, bolstered by the efforts of the organisers viz. Iowa City swayamsevaks and swayamsevikas.