Hindu Heritage Camp Teaches Dharma

Bharat Pallod and Sagar Patel camp co-directors

Bharat Pallod and Sagar Patel camp co-directors

HOUSTON: This summer marks the 30th year of Hindu Heritage Youth Camp. Like most summer camps, the HHYC provides a wide array of activities, an opportunity to make lifelong friends, and a summer experience the kids will never forget. In addition to this, educations are embedded into their time at camp, allowing them to learn about their religion and culture.

While I always acknowledged and respected the information and education provided to me by elders, I always struggled to apply the in-depth, abstract concepts of Hinduism to today’s society. I felt many of the practices and rituals taught to me weren’t relevant in my daily life.

The great thing about HHYC is that the counselors, second generation Hindu-Americans, identify with this gap that many of our youth face. Drawing upon their own experiences, they provide relevant educations for each camper, and help them apply the principals of Hindu Dharma in today’s society. There are a total of thirty-five counselors for this year’s HHYC. “We come from a very vast and rich culture. Our goal with camp is to expose campers to different pieces of this, and hope that when they go home, they’ll be inspired to continue to learn and explore on their own,” says Bharat Pallod, co-director of HHYC. Bharat Pallod, a 2012 graduate from UT Austin, currently works as an analyst in San Antonio. Bharat has been a counselor for six years, and a camper for ten.

Camp focuses on the mind-body relationship, reflected in the daily schedule. From waking up to bhajans early in the morning to falling asleep exhausted after pillow fights, every moment of camp is an enriching one. We stay physically active by playing games and practicing yoga in the morning, and mentally active during educations sessions for which counselors spend months preparing. We become spiritually active by singing bhajans and doing aarti together. Camp co-director Sagar Patel, states, “Hindu camp aims to enrich our campers’ lives by teaching them unique Hindu Dharma values and inspiring them to be proud of their rich Hindu culture in a fun-filled, camp setting.” Sagar Patel is a 2013 graduate from University of Houston, and now is a senior systems analyst. Sagar has been a counselor for three years, and a camper for eight.

This year, HHYC will be held at a new location: Camp Lantern Creek. The Gordon Campsite, where we have held camp for over 25 years, has been sold to Fort Bend County. Camp Lantern Creek provides a wider array of amenities, and in order to accommodate more campers, there will be two camps. The high school camp is August 5 – 10, and the elementary/middle school camp is August 12 – 17. Visit hinducamp.com for further information and to register for the first camp session (the second camp is full)!

Article contributor, Unnati Shukla is a sophomore at UT Austin and is studying Marketing with Plan II Honors. She has been a camper for 10 years, and this is her second year as a counselor.