Youth Camp is a time where the youths of the Mission are taken away from the normality of their lives to a place where they learn and experience more about themselves, the community and the Divine through the teachings of Swamiji and Babaji, worship, meditation and other fun activities.
The Shivabala - Shivarudrabalayogi Universal Peace Mission Malaysia has been conducting these camps for the youths since 2005. Youth Camp 2017 represents the completion of 13 successful camps by the Mission to-date. This year’s Camp was attended by a total of 64 youths between the ages of 7 to 31 years old and 14 adult volunteers.
Every year, a theme accompanies the youths throughout the Camp. This theme, together with Swamiji and Babaji’s teachings, guides the discussions during the Camp and leads to a deeper understanding of themselves at the end of the Camp.
In 2017, the main theme centered on discovering the Self and life purpose by studying and learning from the characteristics of Lord Hanuman. Lord Hanuman is viewed as the ideal combination of strength, heroic initiative, assertive excellence, love and devotion. He symbolizes the human excellences of inner self-control, faith and service to a cause.
By studying the characteristics of Lord Hanuman, the youths discovered that there were 25 key characteristics. Lord Hanuman was loyal, brave, wise and powerful, but at all times, he was always calm, sincere and humble, while relentlessly serving his guru, Shri Rama.
The youths were then tasked with a self-check activity to evaluate themselves against these 25 characteristics of Hanuman. This helped them identify the true gap between “knowing” and “being”. The challenge for them then was to come up with a workable plan on what they needed to do to improve themselves and bridge that gap. Many of the youths realised that although they did possess some of the 25 characteristics, they were not fully selfless in their thoughts and actions. Hence, their challenge was not only to practise these 25 characteristics in their daily life, but to also do everything they do selflessly without any expectations from others.
Another interesting activity carried out during the Youth Camp was the discovery of beautiful Life Lessons from observing the Characteristics of the River. It was an enlightening discussion for all, including the adult volunteers who were at the session. The youths realized that just like the river is ever-flowing and never stops, thus they too should never give up on their endeavors, even in difficult situations, as God always give solutions to every situation.
Various games and activities were also carried out during the Youth Camp, where the youths learnt to work in a team and have consideration for others. Most of the games and activities were structured in a way such that it was close to impossible to complete within the given time. Hence, the key challenge for the youths this year was on how to manage the difficulties and frustrations they faced, not give up and still strive to achieve their final goals.
The 4 day program was a great platform for the process of self-discovery and realization. The youths were able to identify the areas in their lives which needed improvement and the actions they needed to take to achieve this. Many also realized that timely action is critical to avoid ending up in dangerous waters…
And the journey towards self-discovery continues…