My name is Abhi Bhatia, and I am in the 11th grade. I have attended the Hindu Heritage Youth Camp for 4 years now, and it has completely changed my lifestyle. I have made lifelong friends, and I have learned more about my heritage as a Hindu.
At camp, we wake up every morning at 6:30 am and do yoga. Yoga is one of the most widely practiced forms of exercise and meditation in the world. It allows for one to live a healthy lifestyle and achieve inner peace. I have implemented this at home as well. Every morning, I wake up at 6 am, drink a glass of water, and do yoga. This has helped me focus more in school, allowing for me to perform better in my classes. When I returned from camp last summer, I decided to become a vegetarian. Camp helped me realize that I was not only hurting myself by eating meat, I was also damaging the environment. Becoming a vegetarian has changed my eating habits and has taught me to focus on the nutrients that food contains rather than paying attention to the taste of the food.
Camp has also taught me a lot about being a Hindu. I have learned about the history of Hinduism, and how it has become one of the most practiced religions in the world. One practice that has facilitated the spread of Hinduism is yoga. Yoga is practiced by many people all around the world, but its origins are in Hinduism. The practice of yoga has given many people the chance to experience Hindu culture. Yoga was one of my favorite activities at camp because I felt that it gave me the energy and focus to get through the busy days at camp.
Last week, I attended the HHYC Annual Winter Lock-In. I am glad that I attended because I got to see all the friends that I had made at camp. When I arrived, I was greeted by a familiar face. I was unsure how the night was going to play out because I had never been to a lock-in. After getting settled, I sat down in a circle with my friends, and we played a traditional camp game. Once everyone had arrived, the directors welcomed everyone, and gave a presentation on Hinduism and Individual Rights. The presentation was like the education at camp. I enjoyed the education because we discussed the role of the Bill of Rights in art, and how censorship rules do not apply to art. After that, we ate dinner, and moved onto my favorite camp activity; dodgeball. This brought back memories from my second year at camp because my team won the dodgeball tournament in 2017.
After dodgeball, we played a game of Musical Chairs, and I got 2nd place! By the time we had finished, it was 1 am. Everyone splits up and started doing their own things, when the counselors suggested that we do a fashion show. They brought out white sheets that we could decorate. Once the groups finished decorating, they picked a person in their group to drape the sheet on, so they could walk on the runway and show off their designs. In the end, my team won second place. A few of my friends decided to make a fort using the sheets and chairs and fell asleep inside. The counselors then put on a movie, and at 6:45, we all took a group picture and began to say our goodbyes. That was the end of the HHYC Annual Winter Lock-In.
I look forward to attending again this summer because that would be my last year as a camper. I have enjoyed my years as a HHYC camper and hope to become a counselor one day. I am thankful for all the hard work that the counselors and directors have put in to make the camp as much fun as possible. Camp has been the highlight of my summer, and I look forward to attending this summer.