Bal Yuva Utsav 2013
9.15 am – 4.00 pm, 6th July 2013
Community Room 1, Point Cook Community Learning Center, 1-21 Cheetham Street, Point Cook, VIC 3030
Swami Vivekananda was the first person in modern history to share the values and identity of Hinduism with the western world. This year marks his 150th birth anniversary and Vishva Hindu Parishad of Victoria, as a tribute to Swamiji, arranged a one full day workshop – ‘Bal Yuva Utsav’ on the 6th of July 2013 in Melbourne’s western suburbs. The aim of this event was to highlight and emphasize the relevance of Swamiji’s teachings in today’s world. His inspirational life and uplifting messages were used as a focal point to teach the participants. To ensure a holistic approach, the day was divided into intellectual, spiritual and physical sessions; all of which were based on the above theme with the aim of instilling confidence in the youth. There was a wide array of activities ranging from public speaking to competitive and traditional Indian games.
The venue was Point Cook Community Centre, Point Cook and there was a high level of energy in the hall throughout the day with approximately 40 youths. An initial icebreaking game session allowed all participants to feel comfortable with their peers. This was followed by a yoga session comprising of Pranayama and postures including Veerbhadra (warrior pose), Suryanamaskar (sun salutation) and Bhasrika (meditative humming noise). Praveen Trivedi and Ajay Singh took the session very skillfully ensuring that all the children benefitted.
The yoga session was conducted to warm the children up physically. This was followed by recitation and chanting of various slokas, taken by Smt Geeta Devi, President of VHP VIC. The initiation with chanting of the supreme mantra “AUM” created a powerful vibration and solitude in the hall. Importantly, in addition to recitation, the science behind chanting and its applied benefits were explained – the youth really did surprise the adults with their level of concentration. This period was followed by a snack break after which the intellectual sessions were to begin.
Dr Anil Kumar Asthana conducted the next confidence-building activity with public speaking. The emphasis was to break down fears the children may have when facing an audience or even in a one on one conversation. Qualities such as body language, voice projection, overcoming fear and presence of mind were taught to the youth via activities and games. One participant, 9 years of age, blew the crowd away with his confidence and technical knowledge on airplanes – he is clearly destined to be an aviation engineer!
Priya Patel took the next intellectual session. This was a scenario- based learning exercise; the children, after being split in their groups, were given a challenging school based situation and prompted as to how they would deal with it – qualities highlighted were courage, patience, determination and negotiation skills. The aim was for the children to brainstorm and independently evolve a strategy themselves.
Traditional Indian lunch was provided by Raj caterers and organized by Ganesh Jaygan. The food was a big hit with the children.
The second intellectual session, post-lunch, was a joint effort by Praveen Trivedi, Priya Patel and Dr Anil Kumar Asthana. The participants were split into groups and each one was allocated an inspirational quote spoken by Swamiji. Their objective was to illustrate (pictures and writing) their interpretation of these sayings, e.g. ‘have no fear’. More importantly, they were asked to incorporate its applicability to their lives today, e.g. at school, home, etc. The onus was on how Swamiji’s teachings can help us reach our goals in life. It was a very constructive, stimulating and thought-provoking session for both adults and children.
After the morning and afternoon intellectual sessions, there was a prolonged and vigorous games session. The traditional Indian game Kho Kho, which was taken by Dr Anil Kumar Asthana and Anshul Mangla was the most popular and very well received by the participants.
The concluding session to the workshop was distribution of certificates to the participants. Smt Geetha Jaganathan was the chief guest presenting these certificates and her well wishes. She was an educator for over 30 years and retired principal of Erode Hindu School.
Smt Geeta Devi wrapped up the day encouraging the youth to further their knowledge and understanding of Swami Vivekananda by research and application; this is the way we can all pay tribute to this Mahatma who has blessed us with his inspiration. The workshop was a memorable one and special thanks ought to go out to all the parents and volunteers of VHP VIC.