Hindu Heritage Youth Camp of Houston

Photos: Junior camp: Daksh Kapoor  & Senior camp: Niti  Desai

Photos: Junior camp: Daksh Kapoor  & Senior camp: Niti  Desai

By Rosch Wadera

HOUSTON: The 33rd annual Hindu Heritage Youth Camp of Houston took place at Camp Lantern Creek in Montgomery in the month of August. Over 200 children attendees plus 50 student volunteers eagerly await to participate in this annual event with activities ranging from educations to yoga, cricket to volleyball, from Holi to talent shows full of singing, dancing, and comedy. Per tradition, camp begins with establishing rules, which includes no cell phones! This allows campers to disconnect from wifi and reconnect to themselves. This generation faces constant distraction from smartphones, a serious threat to maintaining relationships. The morning practices of yoga and meditation are implemented to help sharpen mental focus and unite the camp in creating a fruitful experience for all.

Campers and counselors alike return year after year to reconnect with their community, building lifelong friendships along the way. Years later, grown-up campers return the favor by giving back to this community, serving as counselors themselves. Akash Dhingra, Senior Camp Director, reflects. “The magic of camp works because of the beautiful cycle that sustains it. Elders who created this camp and nurtured the first campers led to the creation of amazing counselors. Our counselors taught us how to think critically about Hinduism, and in turn ourselves. Now as director, I am fortunate enough to continue this humble duty of promoting spiritual growth in all parts of the organization. That’s the true beauty of this camp, we are all one family, learning, growing, and living together.”


25 year old Akash has been with camp since he was in 3rd grade. Now, as a certified yoga teacher, he shares his knowledge with campers, coworkers, and fellow counselors too. Counselors spend months preceding camp researching Hinduism and developing presentations to share with the campers. These emphasize on adapting an adult understanding of Hinduism to the children’s daily lives.

22 year old Namita Pallod, director of junior camp this year, elaborates on what she aims to achieve out of camp: “We want kids to walk away being proud Hindus who are curious to continue to learn more about their faith during the year. Camp is a home and family for all of us, and we truly feel it is the best weeks of the year” Namita has been involved with camp before she was even born, as her beloved mother, Sushma Pallod, has been volunteering with camp since the beginning and is still head chef of the delicious camp menu. Full of grace, she takes care of all the campers and counselors needs, wants, and even leaves them laughing and smiling afterwards. Namita embodies the essence of camp: it’s a loving family.  

The need to pass down our ancient value systems has become increasingly important in today’s turbulent times as we face a world that is becoming more materialistic and egotistical day by day. Swami Chinmayananda once said, “The tragedy of human history is decreasing happiness in the midst of increasing comforts.”. As Hindus, it is our duty to rediscover our ancient values which withstand the test of time but have become neglected in today’s world, adapt and devise new methods through which they can be practiced in today’s social context, and spread the love as far as we possibly can, leaving this world much better off than it was when we were brought into it. As Hindu Heritage Youth Camp moves forward, in order for us to advance our mission and expand our reach, the committee behind the camp hopes to garner their own campsite for the exclusive use of the Hindu youth in the Houston area, and increase the amount of resources available so that more of our children can be included each year in response to the overwhelming demand. 200 registration spots filled up within 1 hour this year, and it is very heartbreaking to not be able to accommodate all the spirited youth, especially when what is holding us back is not even a formidable adversary. This will be an important test on our community … for a camp that has positively impacted so many and has given so much to its community, how much is the community willing to sustain and give back to it? “Manushya tu badaa mahaan hai, bhool mat” when we join together in unison, we truly show how great we are and what we can achieve.


Rosch Wadera graduated from University of Texas in 2014 and works in the finance industry.