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Love and Light

Region 1 - Young Adult Programme

YAP in Region 1 has been revamped.

YAP has been taking place in Region 1 for many years now. Each month, on 3rd Friday of the month; we have picked a topic that we want to discuss, discuss Sai literature that is relevant to the Youth or conduct a service activity. This format worked well for the youth who were able to attend regularly. However, there were various limitations by having it at this time. We were constrained to predominantly plan 2 hour indoor activities such as study circles, and were compromising on attendance due to work commitments for some who wanted to come but couldn’t as it was a working day.

We also realised that we were only getting a small percentage of youth attending YAP compared to the number of youth we actually have within the Region. The Region 1 youth committee decided the need to unify and energise all the youth in the Region and so something that will attract many youth to come. The initial idea was to have a Regional Youth Conference over a weekend. However, after much discussion and guidance from experienced confidence; we realised that this was not necessarily the only option. All around the world youth have tried this method, but have not achieved the lasting result of increasing the number of youth attending regularly. The way in which the Youth think and behave, would only provide a short burst of a spiritual recharge with a conference. We identified the best method to attract the non-active youth, would be to have more appealing activities at more regular intervals. Therefore this led to us deciding to change our YAP sessions to the third Saturday of the month, opening more doors to a much wider range of activities that we could do and plan activities that can be done at any time during the day / all day events.

We also felt that another reason why youth were not coming to events, was because they usually prefer to “relax” during “free time”, or partake in a more sociable activity with friends or spend time with families. Therefore the Region 1 youth committee decided, we had to come up with activities in which we could synergise this with spirituality. We also felt that the best way to introduce this new initiative would be to instil the idea that, the activity would feel like something they would plan to do on their days off from work. However by doing these activities with other Sai Youth, they will be surrounded with spiritually minded people, be in good company and will have the opportunity to talk about spiritual topics and the chance to discuss their everyday spiritual challenges with like-minded youth, who are all trying to tackle these same challenges using the beautiful teachings laid down by our Bhagawan.

After a lot of consideration, we decided to arrange a surprise trip to Longleat Safari. We told all the youth that we will be going on a day outing, but didn\'t tell them where we were going until we were on our way to the Safari. As Swami always made sure we experienced how to love his uncertainty, we decided to replicate that same feeling in the region 1 youth. As it was a 2 and half hour drive to get there; each car (5 in total) was split deliberately by separating the youth into cars with youth from different centres in the Region. Icebreaker games were set as well as topics for discussion, resulting in each car having a 2 hour study circle and sharing of Sai experiences. This was a great way of youth from different centres to bond with you in their Region.

When we got to the Safari, two of the sisters revealed that they were very scared of animals. However, as we were in the comfort of our cars and surrounded by good company, they were happy to continue on with the safari.

On the safari we saw some of the greatest animals that God has created. We saw various wild cats; Swami has countlessly told the Youth to lead like Lions. We also saw exactly what Swami has told us about the monkey mind and how destructive it could be, with four out of five of our cars experiencing some kind of damage by the meddlesome monkeys. Aptly, one car that experienced damage to its parking sensors by the monkeys, were discussing that to be a MasterMind one must master the monkey mind and control the senses! We saw many other beautiful animals that we don\'t usually have the opportunity to see or even get close to in the western world.

After the Safari, some youth had to get back home; however the rest of the youth wanted the day to continue, so we decided to drive to Cheddar Gorge, which wasn\'t too far from the Safari. This showed us another beauty created by the Lord. As it was late by the time we got there, we couldn\'t actually go inside the Gorge itself, but we could still appreciate the beauty of the mountainous area. Which also resulted to some light Bhajan singing at the top of a hill, which I’m sure was a prayer to those who gathered the courage from the lions to climb as high as they could on the rocky incline.

The day was highly enjoyed by all who were able to attend, and we were able to experience the beauty of so many different wild animals, and realised why Swami always loved animals, and constantly referred to animals when He was teaching us valuable lessons. It also gave us the opportunity to experience the teaching that we should see God in everything. A Safari is something we usually wouldn\'t relate to as being a spiritual day out. However it all comes down to what we want to take out from the day, everything that we do will always have some level of spirituality in it, sometimes we just need someone to point it out to us. If we begin to do this with everything we do, it will make that ultimate goal of thinking of God all the time every time that little bit easier.

Sai Ram
Ketheeswaran Saiganesh
Region 1 Youth Coordinator