New Vrindaban Kids’ Camp Makes Spirituality Fun
By Madhava Smullen
“We never thought a spiritual event could be so much fun – we would love to come again!” wrote one family after attending the Children’s Summer Camp in New Vrindaban last year.
“Wonderful event – we can’t wait till next year,” wrote another. “Our son says he will miss New Vrindaban very badly.”
These families are in luck. After the very well-received first New Vrindaban Children’s Summer Camp drew around 25 families from up and down the East Coast, organizers Sundari Dasi and Mercy of Gopal’s Garden Preschool are turning it into an annual event.
Due to popular demand this year’s camp will be extended an extra day and will run from Wednesday July 26th to Sunday the 30th. Last year’s attendees enjoyed themselves so much that most are expected to return. Local children in and around New Vrindaban are also invited to participate.
The camp will welcome children ages 3 – 12, separating them into groups to ensure age-appropriate activities.
The fun will kick off on Wednesday with a bonfire, prasadam and ice-breakers. Every morning, the kids will greet the Deities and offer Srila Prabhupada flowers at Gurupuja, then learn yoga poses in New Vrindaban’s brand new lakeside Yogashala.
After breakfast, a variety of activities will steep them in the devotion and rural adventure of New Vrindaban. Children will get to care for the cows at the goshala, trek in the wild and learn about nature and how to identify different herbs. They’ll visit the historic site of the original Vrindaban farm and see the building where Srila Prabhupada stayed in 1969. They’ll paint terracotta pots in their own style, then learn how to transplant flowers grown in New Vrindaban into them. And they’ll learn hands-on gardening and harvesting.
The children will also do arts and crafts, where they will learn how to make jewelry and ghee whicks for the Deities. At the end of the camp, there will be competitions in freehand drawing and jewelry-making, with prizes.
“To this day Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Chandra are still wearing jewelry made by last year’s winner!” says Sundari Dasi.
Every evening there will be exciting festivals. In Holi: Festival of Varsana, the children will spray each other with color. In Pushpa Abhisekh, they will shower small Deities of Radha-Krishna with flowers. In the Swan Boat Festival, they’ll make floating ghee lamps themselves and cast them out onto the lake as Radha Krishna glide across it. And during Rathayatra, they will get to decorate their own small chariot and pull it in a kirtan procession through New Vrindaban.
Evenings will also include campfires and stories by award-winning storyteller Sankirtan Das from Krishna’s pastimes and the Mahabharat.
The summer camp will end with the distribution of cupcakes, certificates and prizes, as well as children getting to speak about their experience. A big Sunday Feast will round off the event.
Throughout the camp, speakers like Sankirtan Das, Gaurnataraj Das and Aruddha Dasi will give seminars on parenting, homeschooling, yoga and healing to engage the parents while their kids have fun.
“This summer camp,” says Mercy, “Is about sharing the best highlights of New Vrindaban life with families who live in cities, and don’t usually get the chance to participate in such activities.”
“It’s a hands-on experience of fun in Krishna consciousness!” Sundari adds with a grin.
Please join us for this fun Krishna conscious experience. Twenty of the twenty-five spots available for families have already been filled, so space is limited. First come, first served. Make sure to register asap! The cost is $190 per person, including lodging, meals, and activities for kids and adults.