What began as a casual conversation over lunch and coffee amongst a few alumnae turned out as a lively and engaging summer camp for five days at the Prashanthi Bala Mandira Girls High School, Chikballapur Campus. It was just beginning of summer and despite the days threatening to get hotter, the teachers and students were keen to spend their holidays as jolly good days learning something novel each day.

It was a great show of oneness and gusto as the Alumnae force both on and off the campus put on their thinking caps, rolled the dice and got their act together in very little time. Presentations were prepared on diverse topics, the logistics was planned and permissions sought. Once Bhagawan graciously blessed the schedule, we were ready to kick start the summer camp or so we assumed.

Dr. K P Sai Leela, Chairperson and Trustee of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Institutions Girls’ campuses, addressed the students on the first day of the camp advising them to utilise this opportunity given.

A typical day during the course began with a prayer to Swami and ended with Mangala Arathi. The time that fell between these two was full of fun and learnings throughout. The students were shown presentations, video snippets and  movies while alongside engaging them in interactive games.

If one team of alumnae worked and put together the notes for the day’s activities, another team used their culinary expertise to rustle up some lip smacking snacks to be served during the break. The day for the organising team would begin as early as 5 AM in the kitchen every day. The aim was to get the right mix of a sumptuous, nutritious, and delicious snack each day. Some of the highlights were Spinach-cheese-corn Croissants, Poha, Samosa, veggie sandwiches, chocolate cake along with healthy juices like Khus, musk melon, water melon, lemon juice and buttermilk to battle the summer heat.

Unique Aspects of the Sessions –

Over just two days, the students had mastered the Sarva Devata Gayatri Mantrah.

Day 1

Young Sai – Sister Shakila Manjunath, also a veteran Bal Vikas teacher spontaneously established a connect with the students and took them through the early days of Young Sathya, His school days and the invaluable lessons that He taught by example.

My Sai & I – Sister Achinthya Shiva shared some of her personal and memorable experiences with Swami and their unique relationship that continues even to this day. This was in fact the most popular session according to the students’ feedback as it was completely heart to heart.

Nutrition – Through riddles and dumbcharade, Sister Vidhya Ramsubramanian- a Nutritionist and Dietician explained the otherwise not-so-interesting nutritional aspects of health.

Day 2

After a packed session the previous day, on day 2, the agenda was purely to have fun. Sisters Prashanthi, Deepika and Sai Tulasi engaged the students with some interesting games. This was followed by The Lion King movie being screened.

Day 3

The day was dedicated to imbibing some aspects of health & hygiene.

First Dr Saritha- a Paediatrician serving at Muddenahalli explained to the girls the importance of developing clean habits for a healthy lifestyle and also cleared certain myths and beliefs of practices, diseases, etc that are usually endemic in rural areas.

Dr Sai Lakshmi then briefed them on oral health & hygiene and healthy eating habits.

Sister Varsha Murkhandi gave a presentation on environmental awareness and simple steps to conserve our resources that can be practised in daily life.

Since the next day happened to be Sri Rama Navami, an animated version of the Ramayana was screened. The students were later asked to write an essay on their favourite character in the epic and the lessons imbibed from the epic.

Day 4

The topic for the day was ‘Incredible India and Patriotism’. Sister Suma upped the creative quotient and showcased the heritage of our country and our countrymen.

In line with the wonders in India, Sister Krishna Subhaga showed the students the various architectural marvels that Swami is establishing as educational institutions and temples of healing all over.

Day 5

Sister Sai Tulasi introduced the girls to some contemporary women achievers who have stood up & out by themselves shattering myths, weaknesses and dogmas. Malala, PV Sindhu, Arunima Singh and Sunitha Williams were some of the personalities discussed.

Later Sister Vidhya Vijay Sai – a professional hypnotherapist took the students through simple guided meditation and made them experience the power of imagination and their own minds. This was an absolutely new venture for the students and had them hooked completely.

What made this five-day camp a success was the work that went in behind the scenes. Much of the content delivered was put together by Sisters Maheima Kapur, Divya Abhishek and Pavana who played an indispensable role.

The summer camp also served as a platform for several volunteers residing in Muddenahalli to extend their participation during the preparation of snacks. In fact our lead chefs were two Croatian devotees – Ms Radha and Ms Meera who grabbed this opportunity as seva to Swami’s students.

Take away for US – Together We Can

It is said that – greater the task, greater will be the challenge associated with it. Each day offered a new learning for us as we learned to face challenges at every step be it with technology, logistics, permissions, communication or rather miscommunication. Every morning we’d begin hoping that the day would not require us to cross new hurdles but end every evening thanking Swami for taking us through the day despite the hiccoughs. Swami’s conspicuous presence was confirmed in numerous ways big and small.

At the end of the five days there was a sense of satisfaction and happiness on the faces of the volunteers and alumnae to see the students have a great time. We all bonded together with love and laughter. The last day of the summer camp ended on a highly positive note and heightened spirits, to work more and do our best to make Him happy.

The summer camp of 2017 will remain etched in all our hearts for years to come. We are grateful to Bhagawan for giving us this wonderful opportunity to serve Him.