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Sanskrit Inspires

Jyotsna M. Kalavar, Ph.D.

Sanskrit Inspires
'Youth Camps'

Prajnaa-2010 Youth Sanskrit Camp
June 20 - 26, 2010
Point Bonita YMCA Camp Site,
Sausalito, CA
(Near San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge)

Shraddhaa-2010 Youth Sanskrit Camp
July 11 - 17, 2010
Arsha Vidya Gurukulam,
Saylorburg, PA

The economy in the United States has dominated the news over the past year.  Even in the midst of challenging economic conditions, there are hopeful activities that one may find encouraging and refreshingly positive.  For example, the enthusiasm for Sanskrit learning, Sanskrit websites, Sanskrit blogging, Sanskrit twittering, continues unabated.

On March 5th -7th, 2010 over sixty volunteers of Samskrita Bharati from many locations in the United States met over a weekend in San Jose to design Sanskrit activities for the upcoming years.  From residential camps to online learning, the volunteers single-mindedly focused on popularizing Sanskrit speaking through a gamut of activities for different age groups and varied learning styles.

The online registration for Samskrita Bharati’s acclaimed east coast youth camp is now open.  For the fourth consecutive year, Shraddhaa will be held at Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in Saylorsburg, PA.  From July 11th-17th, participating youth from ages 12-17 years will experience immersion in Sanskrit that is subtly interwoven with classes, games, sports, and entertainment.  The same type of learning experience for youth will be replicated on the west coast at Point Bonita, near San Francisco.  Prajnaa  2010 will be held from June 20th to June 26th.  Another upcoming event is Jahnavii 2010, a family residential camp that is planned from September 3-6 at Camp Louemma in Sussex, NJ. Being family-based, this camp will enable different generations to come together with the common purpose of speaking Sanskrit.   Each generation enables and reinforces the other, and Sanskrit evolves as the amicable glue that bonds everyone together.

Speaking Sanskrit was often assumed to be the preserve of a few.   Or reading Sanskrit literature was shrugged off as a potential late life retirement activity.   In the United States, the astounding success of the youth and family camps, myriad ongoing children’s classes, and adult engagement in Sanskrit have shattered these previously held stereotypical notions.    While economists debate over proposed solutions for stimulating the United States economy, Sanskrit is experiencing a resurgence unlike anything that has been seen before.

(Jyotsna Kalavar lives in Monroeville, PA. A faculty member at Penn State, she enjoys teaching gerontology, reading Vedanta, and learning Sanskrit. )

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