Bhujangi Youth Academy is one of Jakara Movement’s most challenging and promising programs. Now in its second year, we take a group of young men into the woods for 10-days in a program that couples Sikhi with discipline and emotional growth.
Early wake-ups followed by morning Nitnem set the tone for the rest of the day, which includes classes on Sikh history, emotional development, Gurmukhi, life-skills, survival skills, martial arts, sports, swimming, physical activities, and campfires.
A theme based on the life of Guru Nanak opens the day and provides unity in all the classes. One of the days opened with a class on Guru Nanak and Wali Qandahari. Upon Guru Nanak’s arrival at Hasan Abdul (Panja Sahib, in West Panjab – Pakistan), Wali Qandahari, a well-known Sufi in the area, was troubled that his followers would now leave his fold for that of the Guru. In possession of the water source of the area, he used his power to attempt to create a drought to gain submission. After Guru Nanak provided a new source of water for the villagers, Wali Qandahari boiled with rage. His insecurity and anger even led him to attempt to assassinate the Guru. This opening theme opened discussions on anger management and learning to love oneself and overcoming insecurity in the emotional development classes, particular shabads about controlling anger by Guru Nanak, relaxation techniques in the life skills class, water purification in the wilderness in the survival skills class, and other such themes. Each day was built on a similar premise, inspired by the life of Guru Nanak.
Special activities are rewarded to the young men based on the fulfillment of ‘challenges’, including jet skiing, a day on the lake, zip-lining, movies, and paintballing. The idea is to reward team-building and sharing, but also have the young men understand consequences when expectations are not met.
The camp is aimed at young men in high school and fosters brotherhood (hence our special ‘tribe’ – “a tribe called Bhujangi), connection, loyalty, discipline, and responsibility in young men. Organizers include former military soldiers, social workers, teachers, academics, mentors, and counselors.
Despite some stumbling blocks and much learning, our second annual Bhujangi Youth Academy was a huge success. Still we need your help to make it grow!
Start a mini-camp in your area! – Although the 10-day camp is held in the Sierra Nevada Mountains (outside of Fresno), we are looking for partner projects in locales throughout the United States. If this particular age group (high school males) speaks to your interest and heart, reach out to us through our contact page and let’s start a weekend camp in your area!
Want to volunteer? – Applications for Bhujangi Youth Academy 2013 will be up in March 2013. We are always seeking fresh volunteers that are interested in making a real difference in the life of a young Sikh man and by extension in their communities.
Have a young Sikh man that you want to attend? – Get in touch with us. So many parents have shared that they are nervous sending their often 14-17-year old sons/brothers/cousins/nephews, because they refuse to go. This is normal for the age! However, we are asking you to be a parent and push them anyways. This is the only time you can ‘force’ them before they are 18! This is the period to be a parent! You have no larger investment in life than your children. Regrets later are the worst tragedy. Chat with us more about the young Sikh man in your life – send us a message through our contact page and a counselor will get in touch with you.