– By Mitushi Khare (6th Grade)
This year, me and my family went to a Hindu camp called Shantiniketan Hindu Camp. It is held annually at the Smith Center in Rockville, Maryland. It is a nice place settled near the woods, where there is a main building and 4 cabins. Me and my mom was in ladies side cabin, my brother and my dad were in one of the boys cabins. We were the 18th family to register, so we didn’t find many bottom bunks to sleep on, but we managed anyways. For me, it was actually fun sleeping on the top bunk! Read on to delve deeper into our amazing adventures at camp this year!
Thursday is the day we arrived at camp and registered. We also found out which cabin we were sleeping in and met many old friends, as well as making new ones who were at camp for the first time. I met my old friend Geeta Sawhaney and made 2 new ones-Yamini and Daatri. They’re really nice. We arrived in the evening, so after exchanging hi’s and hello’s we went to the main hall and drank milk and ate savory chocolate chip cookies, then trooped back to the cabins to go to bed. Geeta, Yamini, and Daatri were in my cabin as well-all our beds (top bunks) were next to each other so we sat up talking for a while before we finally fell asleep.
On Friday, we woke up, showered and ate breakfast, then headed down to other cabins for some educational classes on the Hindu culture. But they weren’t just on the Hindu culture! We also learned, took notes, and watched videos about the basics and foundation of Ashtang Yoga, Vedic Math, The Mahabharata(a great Indian Epic), Panchatantra Tales, and other stuff. After that, we had a break and ate lunch. But what came after that was one of the highlights of camp-something so interesting everyone was waiting for it! It’s…the Treasure Hunt! But just then it started raining. Everyone who was still eating lunch ran back to their cabins under an umbrella or their hands over their head. Me, Geeta, Daatri, and Yamini were in the cabins already so we didn’t have to go out in the rain. I was reading The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (I borrowed it from Yamini.) But since the Treasure Hunt was about to happen after the break, everyone was worried that it would be canceled because the rain would make the forest grounds muddy and slippery. Even Daatri and Geeta kept running to the Main Hall every 10 minutes to inquire whether it was still going to happen(they were thoroughly soaked when they came back the last time). 30 minutes later (it was still pouring outside), everyone had to come to the main hall, where the counselors would inform us about the treasure hunt. I borrowed another girl’s pink, Barbie umbrella and ran to the Main Hall, where they told us that we would still be having the Treasure Hunt, but instead of running around in the forest, we would be doing different activities around the Main Hall area.
After much dashing through the rain to get to the different activities, we came back to the Main Hall, wet, but with a trace of a grin still visible on our faces from the excitement of the events of the day. Our team came 2nd, but we still got candy. After the treasure hunt, we had something as exciting but more relaxing-a campfire! We even ate smores(marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers in a sandwich)! The high schoolers were making them on the fire, and one high schooler even offered (as a joke) to make us 50,000 because we kept on asking for more! Then we had movie night and watched a movie called “Kung Fu Panda.” We then showered, changed, ate dinner, and I was so exhausted that I fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow.
Saturday was the most fun day of camp. We woke up, followed our usual daily routine in the morning, and then set off for classes. After lunch and prayers, we had a carnival in which we played many outdoor games and competed for tickets. At the end of the carnival, we could spend the tickets for prizes like play dough and bubbles. I got 5 tickets. After the carnival, I changed into a lehenga because I was going to do a Rajasthani folk dance in the Cultural Program later that evening, and I was also going to be a part of a skit on “Ahimsa,” or non-violence. Both skit and dance turned out beautifully, and to add to the awesomeness, the dinner was delicious! Paneer, choley, rice, gulab jamun, and other scrumptious food! After the cultural program was over, we did lots of garba, a style of dance. Me and my friends even dared a high schooler to sing a rap on parts of yoga! After a fun-filled day, we changed our clothes, washed off our makeup(for the dance), and went to bed with our feet aching from all the dancing.
Sunday was the last day of our camp. We woke up, ate breakfast, showered, and went to the main hall to divide into teams(mine included Geeta and Yamini) to play final jeopardy. The questions included all the things we learned about in class, and in our study packets. I guess our team’s intelligence really paid off, because we WON!!!! Still singing songs of victory, we ate lunch, said good-bye to our friends, and set off for home. The annual Shantiniketan camp is awesome, and it’s also something I look forward to every summer!