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Region 1 - Sports and Family Values Day 2013

On Saturday 29th June, Region 1 held their Annual Sports and Family Values Day at Tooting Bec Athletic track and Sports Stadium and, once again, Swami gave us the perfect Weather ..... after a rainy week before – Blue Skies and warm Sunshine, with a gentle Breeze for the children – Thank you Swami!

It was a hive of activity at the Stadium, with helpers and volunteers setting up the Altar, the food hut (Sai Café!), the Track and the Registration Office etc and, throughout, beautiful Instrumental Bhajans were being played over the loudspeakers and the beautiful smell of incense drifted on the breeze – close your eyes and you could have been in Prashanthi!

Around 90 SSE children attended the event - ranging from Nursery to Group 3 yr 3 students, the Youth and approx 100 + Adults. We were joined for the first time by the admirable 23rd Wimbledon Scout Group, founded last September in the Sai Mandir, inspired by Swami’s own experiences as a young scout and run completely by Sai Volunteers who are based at Merton Sai Centre. The children (who are mostly from the SSE classes) and their Scout Leaders came with sports equipment, acted as referees and created Family Values Games that were enjoyed by all, adding greatly to the enjoyment of the day.

At registration each child was given a coloured wrist band denoting which value house they were in, Red – Prema, Purple – Shanti, Blue – Dharma, Yellow – Sathya, Green – Ahimsa. Then came the March past and the Salute to Swami with the Scout Troupe leading the way - holding small flags each representing a Value. After some very smart marching to stirring recorded music from the Prashanthi Brass Band, all the children had a quick change of clothes ready for the Games to begin!

The Games began with fun Obstacle Races, lively Sprint Races, Football and Rounders. We also had a lovely addition of a new game called Value Dodgeball! This involved each child representing a Value but they had to dodge 2 balls that represented bad values and they were attacked from both sides – great fun and an active way to learn about the need to guard yourself against negative influences and values in your life!

Relay races and the Long jump followed and, whilst these were being played, Face Painting was taking place for the little ones in between their own activities. Parents too were having their own games such as Musical Chairs for the mums and Shot Put throwing for the dads!

During the course of the afternoon, Councillor Penny Sheldon - the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kingston-Upon-Thames, honoured us with her presence. Everyone gathered around Swami’s altar as she spoke to us - saying how much she had enjoyed watching the Games and indeed the Face Painting! She said how impressed she was that we had all gathered together and it showed how united we all were. She also said she was amazed at the purpose of the day – The unity of families. She said that when she heard that we are a Multi-faith Organisation and how we come from all denominations - that in itself showed true Community Spirit. The Mayor finished by speaking to the children and telling them exactly what Swami tells us – that the children are the Leaders of the Future – and she told them to think about it carefully. She then presented them with the Certificates that they had won throughout the afternoon.

Snacks and Drinks were plentiful throughout the afternoon with trays of delicious sliced Melons, Apples and Oranges brought around by our dedicated Sai Volunteers, helping to keep everyone happy and healthy throughout the whole event.

Family Games then continued with the Mum’s and Dad’s races – which was run with eagerness and determination, as well as enjoyment for the children, cheering on all their parents!
The last item of the day was the all time favourite Tug Of War! First was Mums-vs-Daughters – the Mums won! Then Dads-vs-Sons – the Sons won! Then all the Girls-vs-Boys – Girls won. Much fun and laughter and cheering was created by all and a great way to end a day of sporting triumph and teamwork!
The day ended with Aarti to our beloved Baba. A great time was had by all and, with Swamis Grace, we look forward to next year’s Sports and Family values Day with great eagerness.

Thank you to all the SSE Teachers and Seva Youth, Uncles and Aunties who made the day so enjoyable for all the children and parents who attended a day full of laughter and enjoyment, teamwork and human values that created great memories and learning experiences for all those who took part. Jai Sai Ram!

Sandra Fletcher (Bromley Center)
Gisela Robinson (Wandsworth Group)
Geetha Maheshwaran (Merton)