Sunday, July 24, 2016

Camp theme for HYSC 2016 "Yoga"

The camp theme this year is "Yoga". However, what is Yoga?  “Yoga” seems to have become a word which refers to everything, and thus means nothing. There are so many different “Yoga”s – the yoga of eating, of sleeping, of thinking, of doing, etc. What does it all mean?
The word "Yoga" comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj" which means to unite/join/harness/connect. So the word “Yoga” means any method by which any human being is brought into union with the Higher Power governing us; that Power has many names - God, The Universe, Source-Energy, The Force, Truth, Reality. So Yoga is any spiritual path which creates a “union with this Power/ truth/reality”. So Yoga can refer to any spiritual path in any religion. “Paths are many, Truth is one”.
One who practices yoga in this sense is a Yogi/Yogini.
This Yogic Philosophy was documented in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, and consists of 8 Limbs - thus this philosophy is called Ashtanga Yoga. One of the limbs is Asanas (Yoga as a form of exercise), however, there is so much more to Ashtanga Yoga. I am very excited to be teaching this Yogic Philosophy to your children, and it is being received by them extremely well as something they can apply to their everyday life.

To give you a small taste, one of the principal teachings of Ashtanga Yoga is AHIMSA, which is often thought of as non-violence, but actually translates to "NO-PAIN".  Ahimsa starts with not causing pain to yourself (negative self-talk, not believing in yourself, self-destructive behaviours such as staying up too late, eating too much junk food, reliving negative past experiences). It was a small miracle to see the wonder on the kids' faces as they realized that often times they are the one making themselves feel bad, and they have a choice to stop that behaviour and be free of it. We cause pain to others when we ourselves are suffering, thus others cause pain to us because they are suffering. Ahimsa asks us not to waste our energy judging others, but instead have compassion for them. How do we do this? By replacing our judgement with a mini-meditation in that moment - by (in our minds) saying to the other person, "May you be happy." This protects us from their negativity, and also spreads positive energy in the world. 

Many kids have come up to me at times outside class, to tell me how much they are enjoying the Yogic Philosophy and its relevance to their lives.

Yoga is a sophisticated system that is much more than just doing yoga postures – it is a way of living which help us to live life more fully, not trapped in our own minds. The guidelines of Yoga are not just instructions on the “right thing to do”, but they are guidelines of ways to live, which create concrete results on one’s life. The most important thing we are learning is that PRACTICE of the techniques we will learn is paramount. “KNOWLEDGE COMES ALIVE ONLY THROUGH PRACTICE.”

Teaching your children is the greatest gift I have received and I am learning so much from their questions and feedback. I hope you enjoy talking to them about everything they have learnt in Philosophy Class at the camp.

May you be happy!

Sharmila Sani
Heritage teacher at HYSC since 2013

Saturday, July 23, 2016

HYSC 2016 Day 6-7

HYSC 2016   Day 6-7

It's incredible to see how much this camp has grown since I was last on staff two camps ago in 2014. Not just in terms of quantity, but it's quality as well. I arrived yesterday around 3 pm to find half the camp out on the front lawn slip-&-sliding   and cooling off in the pool, while the rest of the camp out on a trip to a farm. 

The campers came back to 60 pies of pizza and salad to accompany it (that's not a typo... 60 pies!!) They ended the night with a movie night (PK) and snack. Since we had three birthdays here yesterday, we had three cakes (because every one deserves their own cake) and ice cream for snack. Don't worry, your kids are well, well- fed here. 

Today was India day! We began the morning - after breakfast, of course - with a special puja to commemorate the Sindhi deity, Lord Jhulelal. After a few minute talk on who Jhulelal was, we began a Sindhi laada session and a 'Behrano' lead by Aunty Anita Makhija. It was incredible to see all the campers and counselors up and dancing with such energy and happiness. The room was filled with nothing but great vibes. 

Shortly after, the staff initiated our annual Vedic procession, where the campers followed the staff in single file line and chanted the Tryambakam mantra. Lunch was a delicious meal of rice and Sindhi curry, bindhi and prasad. The fun didn't stop there, though. The campers had a  contest on which cabin could make the best dance to a bhajan, and that led to a Garba/Raas session.

 In all my years coming to camp and watching the Garba Raas, I've never seen campers and counselors so in sync! It was an incredible sight to see. The campers were then sent up to change and rest, and came back down to a delicious Taco night! They are now currently practicing for their talent show which will be held toward the end of camp. 

Although we are only halfway through camp, these campers have already turned from friends to family. The love and compassion they have gained towards each other already, coupled with the amount of knowledge of Hinduism and bhajans/pujas they've learned, is why we - past staff, current staff, committee and volunteers - do what we do. We love instilling the values we have been taught into these campers, and so long as we continue to see the results we repeatedly see, we will continue to be in service to this camp.


Sahil Chandiramani

Director 2014

Asst Director 2012 & 2013

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Cabin Cheers HYSC 2016

Deep’s  Vajra Cabin-

When Vajra touchdown, the whole place shutdown
When you see we at rise and shine
All we want to do is be on time
Afterwards we go to puja, then I go and shout Mahika
Aunties make a delicious lunch, provides us with a great big crunch
Adi runs the sport and game, provides him with the real big game
Sexy six, so so lit
Makes the camp so legit

Vajra champion
Vajra champion
Everybody know say Vajra a champion
Don’t forget Mahika, Adi, Basant a champion
Jeevan, Karishma, Drishti a champion
Yashi Aunty, Shanu Aunty, everyone a champion
Vajra champion
Vajra champion

Gavin’s  Bala Cabin

Today I don’t feel like eating Indian food
I just want to drink all my haldi dood
Didn’t feel like giving up my phone
But HYSC feels like my home


I’m starving, starving, starving, oooo
We’re praying, praying, praying for you

When we started chanting, we was young
They’re gonna really miss us when we’re gone
We are the greatest cabin that there ever was was

Ballas Ballas Ballas on you

Leena’s  Mayura Cabin

Roti ko dekha toh yeh jana Basant
Pyaar hota hai yeh khana Adi
Ab yaha sein kaha jai hum
Sidhe line mein Mahika ke saath

Hanuman Chalisa ko gaate hain hum
Karishma, Drishti ko hum chaate hain hum
Ab yeh Jeevan akela pada
Ab hamara saath na choda


You gotta go and just get me a bunch of those rotis
Cause I know that I will eventually get really moti
Don’t waste no time cause I wanna get there really early
Cause I just need, some more daal for satisfaction

I know that you know that we were the first girls at rise and shine
Adi and Basant and Jeevan know that we’re their valentines
Mahika, Karishma, and Drishti please send us first in line
Cause I just need some more khana to get some prana

Is it too late now to say AUNTIES!
Cause we just need some more of that bhaji
Is it too late now to say AUNTIES!
I know that we have done our prayers, now is it too late to say we’re hungry now

Neva’s Anandi Cabin

Meet me at the ballroom, just meet me at the ballroom
And we can share some roti and also aloo tiki
We at the hotel motel, Hudson valley!
We at the hotel motel, Hudson valley!
And we go 2 and 2, we love you! (point at staff)
And we go 3 and 3, we love Yashi Aunty!
And we gon’ go four and four, we gon’ eat some more!


Where do the Anandis go to eat away, eat away
Look at the aunties there with their pretty hair, pretty hair
Looking high and low, I can let you know
We’re some good, good girls who need to eat right away

Ashley’s Padma Cabin

Hey staff you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind
Hey staff! Hey hey, hey staff!
Hey staff! Hey hey, hey staff!


We have puja in the morning
To learn all of our prayers
And we love to sing along to all the camp songs cause we are the best
We all love HYSC, HYSC
We all love HYSC, HYSC


Is it too late now to say I’m hungry?
Because I’m missing more than just that bhaji
Is it too late now to say we love staff?
Because Padma Cabin is the best and we want food before all the rest
We’re hungry
We’re hungry


We have 17 Padmas and you wish you were one, like what!

Prasanjit’s  Natraj Cabin

The summer campers don’t
The summer campers don’t
The summer campers don’t want none unless you got curry son!
Oh my gosh, look at A-kash
Oh my god, look at A-kash


Today, I feel like being a staff member
I just wanna have Jeevan hai-ai-er
Don’t need a coach for basketball
Cause Adi’s there to help us all
Cause today I feel like being a staff member


My heart’s a stereo
Mahika is so fa-shio-na-ble
Karishma’s here with her vocals

Drishti’s short but no-t a fool
Basant’s got those V’s, too cool

Thank you HYSC, I for all those Aunties feeding me

Priya’s Tula Cabin

HYSC, as fun as camp could be
Singing bhajans like do-re-mi
HYSC, 123, let’s go and eat now

Tula’s back, alright
Thank you staff, for everything you do for us
Volunteers, for cooking all the food with love
Sports and games has been so much fun with you
We love HYSC


Just some small town girls
Coming to a Hindu camp
Took a drive up to HVR for some fun and friends
Don’t stop praying
Don’t forget your yoga mat
Breathing, meditation, ohmmmm

Everyone wants to eat tonight
I don’t know about you but food is our life

Anti’s  Veera Cabin

Today I don’t feel like leaving HVR (La la la…)
I just wanna sing bhajans
Don’t feel like asking for my phone, so leave a message at the tone
Cause today I don’t feel like leaving HVR (Not at all)

I wanna get out of bed and kick down the door do some rise and shine with campers galore
Step up and show love to staff


Yellow daal on my plate
Aunties standing side by side
Thoughts of food cross our mind
As we walk down the line

The hunger I’m feeling I just can’t deny
But I got to let it goooo
We found Dadi in a hopeless place
We found Dadi at HVR

We found Dadi in a hopeless place
We found Dadi at HVR

We found Dadi in a hopeless place
We found Dadi at HVR

Monday, July 18, 2016

HYSC 2016 Day 3, 4, 5

From arrival to registration, then off to orientation one is greeted with welcoming faces, open arms, and warm hugs.  Staff and counselors work tirelessly through the organized chaos to find their assigned campers and begin a most amazing cultural immersion process the founding members established eleven years ago.  Weaved into the continuous streams of fun, their journey is filled with religious and practical life teachings – and at its most intimate levels all (campers, counselors, and administrators) are challenged with exploring their personalities and testing their compatibilities with daily camp life.  It’s an extremely enriched environment blended with the highest of achievers from various walks of life sharing in the same belief – to give is to live!

As a volunteer you are provided with general operating principles which establish clear parameters on achieving camp goals however; one must not infringe on the delicate symbiotic relationship between camper and counselor.  The number one priority is preservation of this wonderful dynamic - everything else is secondary.   Volunteers are grouped together and assigned tasks such as cooking, cleaning, daily meals setup, laundry and night patrol – each with linkages to the camper’s immersion process.  In addition, an infirmary with volunteer doctors and nurses to heal cuts and scrapes and sooth the occasional tummy ache.  As this theme is well understood, volunteers give generously with their time, energy, and provide ideas in the name of further refining a campers journey. 

My experience thus far has been nothing short of privilege, opportunity, and inspiration – privilege to serve in an environment dedicated to preserving the goodness of life, opportunity to contribute subtle, meaningful change and inspiration in the daily encounters with other volunteers.  “Do as much good as you can; be as good as can: but never forget the others are always better than you!”  In the words of Dada this has been my guiding principle.

I would encourage anyone to register for this unique experience!


Ravi Advani 

Description: Endurance
Ravi Advani
Infrastructure Services

Day 3 HYSC 2016 (July 19th 2016)

Day 3 of HYSC 2016 is coming to an end. The day started with rise and shine at 7:55 am followed by their morning activities - 1 group went to zumba, 1 group to fitness and 1 group to yoga.  

After breakfast  provided by HVR, which was at 9am, the children went to Satsang & Puja, from where they split up into 4 groups and went to heritage & chanting classes.

Anju Chainani a Gurukul teacher and volunteer at camp this year  shared with the campers a few words on Guru Poornima. It made quite the impact when the campers walked into a dark satsang hall and she turned on the lights after everybody had fumbled and found their places in semi darkness, which really drove the point home in the campers minds that a “Guru leads us from darkness to light”.

Lunch was Penne pasta, bean salad and pizza sandwiches all made fresh on the premise by our chefs and volunteers under the supervision of our nutrition administrator Geeta Vaswani who has been a part of camp since inception.  

They then went of to their respective clubs. Snack was yogurt parfait with berries  which was made by our amazing cooking club and watermelon. 

Today was our second day of Sports and games with professional sports coaches running soccer & basketball. One group went swimming. Campers could be found splashing happily in the pool & lounging on the chairs by the pool.

Everyone got a good hour and a half of cabin time for showers and to make cheers.  They came down to a delicious dinner of rice, saibhaji, aloo, kheecha, churi & raita. Kids  really seem to enjoy the food this year. We have excellent cooks this year.

Before they ate dinner the various cabins did cheers. Cheers is when the cabins get together and create songs and perform them in the dining room. They had their first camp songs session by the gazebo and sang their hearts out to  their most popular camp songs.

At night snack was served “Haldi doodh” or “YELLOW LATTE”   it was named by some campers as well as regular and almond milk along with oreo cookies.
The day ended with the second session of group sharing for the older kids.The younger kids went to bed at 9.30pm.

Looking forward to the fashion challenge with the children tomorrow!


HYSC week 1 Admins