Midwest Summer Camp Brings Hindu Heritage to Kids

August 4, 2006

Source: Pantagraph


On August 4, 2006 the Pantagraph reported, "Canoeing, arts-and-crafts projects and group sing-a-longs aren't all that's in store for these campers. At Hindu Heritage Camp at Lake Bloomington's East Bay Camp, there's also morning yoga, prayers, Sanskrit mantras, and discussions about India's history. Sankhya Amaravadi, 11, of Normal, said her first experience at the camp has been great. Sitting in a T-shirt and capri pants, the Kingsley Junior High student said she's learning what it means to be Hindu American. Seeing how yoga is a component of the spirituality is interesting too, she said. Some of the older students take it very seriously, she said...The children were among more than 100 Midwest youth - about half teens and the rest between 8 and 12 - spending time with camp counselors and teachers this week to learn the values of a Hindu way of life. Those include truthfulness, nonviolence, the search for spiritual liberation, avoiding excessive greed, and not hoarding, said Shrinivas Tilak, a Hinduism professor from Montreal who is leading this year's camp. 'They are universal values, really. But it's the Hindu expression of those,' said Dr. Mandar Pattekar, a Peoria radiologist, and a camp organizer... About 4,000 Indians living in the Twin Cities practice Hinduism, guessed Sri Chandak of Bloomington, another camp organizer... Founded in 1925 in India, the camp's sponsoring group Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh holds similar programs around the globe. In the United States, about 100 local branches of the service organization exist, including a Central Illinois group, said [Saumitra Gokhale of Chicago]."