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2016 SRF Summer Day Program for Children and Teens

September 5, 2016

“Awesome week! I’ll be back next year.”  

—14 year-old boy

 


Program Participation Increases Significantly in 2016

 
   
 
   
 
 

Sister Sarvamayi (above, top) and other staff members explored the theme of this year’s program—“Power of Thought”—in various classes, satsangas, and activities throughout the week.

Self-Realization Fellowship held its annual Youth Services How-to-Live Summer Day Program for children (ages 7–12) and teens (ages 13–18) on the 20-acre campus of the Encinitas Country Day School (near the SRF Encinitas Ashram Center in California). The girls’ week took place June 27 through July 1, and the boys’ week July 4 through 8. There was a significant increase in the number of participants this year, and many expressions of gratitude for the opportunity to engage with Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings at a deep and meaningful level.

 
   
 
   
 

Brother Pranavananda (above, middle) and other monastics and longtime SRF members mentored the teens and the boys in Paramahansaji’s how-to-live principles of meditation and balanced living.

 

Youth Connect With Spiritual Friends

The Summer Day Program and other offerings for young devotees serve as a step toward SRF’s long-term goal of manifesting Paramahansa Yogananda’s vision for the proper education of youth, while helping youngsters to connect with spiritual friends. More How-to-Live Youth Program events are scheduled for this fall — PLEASE VISIT our Youth Program Schedule page FOR dates and locations.

Daily Activities

At the Summer Day Program, each day began at 9:00 a.m. with group practice of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Energization Exercises, prayer, devotional chanting, and meditation. SRF monastics gave personal instruction in the Hong-Sau and Aum Techniques of meditation to eligible youngsters.

Afternoons included fun activities such as sports, theatrical improvisation, science experiments, journaling and introspection, as well as inspirational workshops on various topics led by SRF Kriyabans experienced in childhood education. A special highlight was a pilgrimage to the nearby SRF Ashram and Meditation Gardens overlooking the Pacific Ocean, where Paramahansaji lived and communed with God for many years.


An Event for Parents Included During the Week

On Tuesday of each week, an event for parents of Summer Day Program participants was held at the SRF Encinitas Temple. Designed to help parents guide their children in the application of the SRF teachings, the program included a review of the Energization Exercises, a group meditation, and a class, a satsanga (questions and answers session )—all led by SRF monastics; and other special activities.

Many parents expressed deep appreciation for the practical wisdom they acquired during the event.

Brahmacharini Angelina (above) speaks with parents Brahmacharini Angelina (above) speaks with parents
Brahmacharini Angelina (above) speaks with parents on how to help their children continue to benefit from the experience of the Summer Day Program throughout the year.

2016 Summer Day Program Testimonials

What attendees had to say:

  • “I loved every moment of this week.” (teenage girl)
  • “I enjoyed it all. But to single out one thing, it would be the presence of love I felt here. You cannot have that type of feeling at that level anywhere else.” (teenage boy)
  • “It was just amazing. Thank you for everything. Everyone is so helpful and caring.” (teenage girl)
  • “I’ve learned how to go deeper in meditation.” (12 year-old boy)
  • “I plan to take all of it home! Meditation techniques, Energization Exercises, practicing God's presence, positive thinking and filtering out negative thoughts. I especially love the tool kit of positive thoughts.” (teenage girl)
  • “The kirtan inspired me most because I got lost in the music and meditation." (teenage boy)
  • “I’m going home with the knowledge of knowing that you have the power to change things with your thoughts.” (9 year-old girl)
  • “Hong-Sau is an amazing meditation technique that will make me much more alert.” (12 year-old boy)
  • "The satsanga with the nun this morning inspired me the most. Literally EVERYTHING I've been thinking/worrying about was covered. I feel so much more calm, at peace, and determined to know God.” (teenage girl)
  • “I am taking the happiness home.” (12 year-old boy)
  • “I'm taking home a better knowledge of Master and his teachings. I also have made a change in my behavior for the better.” (12 year-old girl)
  • “I think the meditations inspired me the most. It's so hard to describe but doing them filled me with so much love and left me feeling peaceful and happier than I've ever been.” (teenage girl)

A letter from a parent:

“A heartfelt thank you to everyone who served at youth camp. I know there is no place on earth our children could have received more dedicated, loving, selfless service than this camp. From the meticulous care in decorating and transforming a school into a true retreat, to the nurturing warmth, love and enthusiasm of all the teachers and nuns, to all the behind the scenes work the staff so cheerfully does. Absolutely everything was done with such preparation, care, thoughtfulness, and presence....

“Our children left deeply inspired, with a palpable sense of peace and well-being, and an excitement to apply all they have learned. They enthusiastically shared their daily experiences with us, set new spiritual goals for themselves, and certainly had new life and energy breathed into their spiritual development.”

The 2017 Summer Day Program will be held from June 26 – 30 (for girls) and July 3 – 7 (for boys).

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