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BAPS Youth Training Center
5 May 2007 to 31 October 2007
Sarangpur, Gujarat

HDH Pramukh Swami Mahaaraaj addresses the first batch of graduates from the 'Yuvaa Taaleem Kendra' Sarangpur.
The energy of youth, if channeled properly, has the potential to change the world. However, since traditional education often neglects the multi-dimensional development needed to unlock this potential, the BAPS Youth Training Center was begun in Sarangpur this year to develop morally-sound, socially-conscious and spiritually-grounded youths. From 5 May 2007 to 31 October 2007, 72 youths (age 20 and over) obtained instruction on the theory and practice of overall personal development from scholarly senior sadhus in the tranquil setting of Sarangpur. They also benefited from Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s blessings and inspiration.

The objectives of this youth training program were three-fold:

  1. To awaken the youths’ dormant abilities, enabling both their personal progress and their contribution to the progress of their family and society.
  2. To encourage scriptural study and an appreciation of spiritual wisdom and traditions enabling youths to cultivate integrity, humility, compassion, service and other universal values.
  3. To inspire youth to become not just students, but also teachers of positive values that can uplift society and future generations.

The training was divided into five major sections:

  1. 1. Character Development (200 classes)
    Youths were taught time management, personal discipline, self-control as well as the practical wisdom required to maintain a positive attitude and peace of mind in all situations. Youths were also guided to expand their perspective of life and the world and to better understand one's own self and God – paradigm shifts essential to lasting personal change.
  2. Knowledge Development (205 classes)
    To gain inspiration from the collected wisdom of the ages, youths studied world religions, Indian culture, Hindu philosophy and major Hindu scriptures.
  3. Skill Development (90 classes)
    To instill self-confidence, students were provided instruction to develop skills in a variety of areas such as music, public speaking, management and interpersonal skills.
  4. Physical Development (60 classes)
    To achieve holistic physical development, youths were taught yoga, pranayam, purity in diet and thought and the need for an addiction-free life.
  5. Service Activities (300 hours total)
    To cultivate the sentiment of service in everyday life, youths were assigned a service activity every day including cleaning, cooking, devotional service, facilities maintenance, washing utensils, etc.

The principles taught in the training program were put into practice through two service projects.

  1. Village Seminars
    For 10 days, youths traveled through rural India in groups of four, visiting villages to conduct Seminars of Inner-Awakening in which they held a children's character development camp, a public assembly, a public procession and personal meetings to inspire people to renounce addictions, improve family relations and develop a principle-centered life.
  2. Disaster Relief Work
    In this year's disastrous flooding in the Saurastra region, the youths provided timely aid to flood victims through around-the-clock service in everything from emergency food packet preparation and distribution to clean up efforts after the flood. Their enthusiastic selfless service won everyone’s hearts.
Over the six month training program, youths developed skills of interdependent living, increased faith in God and self, and committed to continuing their own overall personal development. On 2 November 2007, at the program’s convocation ceremony, Pramukh Swami Maharaj awarded the youths a certificate of achievement and advised them to consider the end of their training to be the beginning of a path of continual progress to reach ever greater heights in all aspects of their lives.
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