Gita Camp 2013 Held at ISKCON, Hare Krishna Dham

Teachers and students at the fun-filled Gita Camp held the week of July 8 at the Hare Krishna Dham (ISKCON) temple.

Teachers and students at the fun-filled Gita Camp held the week of July 8 at the Hare Krishna Dham (ISKCON) temple.

HOUSTON: A fun-filled Gita Camp was held the week of July 8 at the Hare Krishna Dham (ISKCON) temple. There were over 55 children, ages three to thirteen, from all across the greater Houston area in attendance for each of the five full-days.

The camp combined activities with traditional Vedic learning and values. There were over a dozen adult volunteers on hand to help with the various activities, lessons and cooking. The camp was conducted on the temple grounds including the temple itself as well as at its large fellowship hall.

Each day the children led a morning guru puja aarati as well as Noon aarati kirtan accompanied by mridanga drums and kartals. There were daily japa and yoga sessions as well as bharatanatyam dance for the girls.

Vedic learning occurred through lectures, learning of slokas and learning of vaishnava songs. Great emphasis was placed on the students truly grasping the meaning of the slokas and application of this timeless knowledge in their daily lives rather than just their mere memorization. The week’s teaching centered on Chapter 15 of the Bhagavad Gita, a chapter which deals with the yoga of the Supreme Person (Purusottama). In it Krishna describes the process of freeing oneself from the material world’s grip.

Sumptuous vegetarian lunches were served along with healthy snacks. There was open play time as well as time for learning mrdanga drumming, crochet and other crafts such as painting. Particularly popular was mehendi or Henna.

At the end of the camp every student happily received a camp t-shirt with eye-catching color pictures on both sides. The next day many of the children joined thousands of others in the Ratha Yatra – Festival of Chariots organized at the sunny Discovery Green park in downtown by ISKCON Houston.

This was the third year of the Gita Camp and all agreed it was again a great success. The experienced director, working along with Hare Krishna Dham Sunday School teachers and parents, organized the camp, led the classes and kept the children focused with humor and energy. The camp is modeled on a template inspired by His Holiness Romapada Swami, a disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada and a senior administrator and preacher and adopted successfully by ISKCON temples in many other cities.

This past Sunday, the children from the Gita Camp led an ecstatic aarati kirtan for the main Sunday worship at the temple and made a presentation of the topics they learned to a congregation of over 300 devotees. This included recitation and translation of slokas along with the purports detailing the application of this timeless knowledge in our daily lives. They were also presented with recognition awards and certificates by the visiting HH Bhakti Nilamani Radha Raman Swami – a travelling preacher and one of the principal organizers in India of the Vrndavan & Navadvipa parikramas. The students enjoyed the Gita Camp and look forward to starting Sunday School with their close camp friends in just over a month.

There will be another week-long, full-day Gita Camp next summer at the Hare Krishna Dham which is within a reasonable driving distance of downtown, the Medical Center, Sugar Land, Katy and the uptown (Galleria) district.

For further information visit ISKCON Hare Krishna Dham, 1320 W 34th Street, Houston TX – 77018 or visit or Call 713-686-GITA (4482)