Aum Sai Ram Sri Sathya Sai Baba Organization of the Mid-Atlantic Region 35th Annual Regional Retreat, May 28-31, 2010 Camp Westmont, Poyntelle, PA 18454 Retreat Theme: Sai Ideal Men have to realize that they are sparks of the Divine. They have to develop sacred thoughts and lead ideal lives. They must seek to promote the welfare of society... it is not enough to speak about one's ideals. One must live up to them. Today everyone must develop a compassionate heart and be truthful in speech. Truth is the means to realize God. God is the very embodiment of Truth. Where there is Truth, there is God. - Summer Showers April 1996 Retreat Highlights Guest Speakers Professor Hemalatha Burra – Hemalatha is the former Principal of Anantapur College serving the campus for 31 years. She has compiled the poems Bhagavan sings in the beginning of His Divine Discourses in a Volume, entitled “Subhodha”. She currently resides in Chicago, USA where, along with her husband, Dr. B. Srinivas she promotes Sai teachings, especially service activities and the learning of the Vedas among spiritual aspirants. Mrs. Geetha Ram comes from a family which has been associated with Swami for the last four generations. Her great grandfather, Mr. Seshagiri Rao, came to Swami in 1943 and was the temple priest of Prasanthi Nilayam for many years. Her father, Dr. Padmanabhan served Swami and was a familiar figure in Swami's ashram in Bangalore. Having come to Swami at a tender age, her life is full of exciting and illuminating experiences. On Monday morning we will conclude the retreat by hearing wonderful experiences from Alumni of Swami's Colleges Workshops Based on the retreat theme and covering areas of devotion, education and service SSE Program Group 1 and 2 children will participate in a special workshop that imparts values through stories, games, and music. Group 3 and 4 students will partake in a special workshop to help them deepen their understanding of being Sai Ideal students as well as mentoring sessions with our YAs. All SSE students will be involved in age appropriate Seva activities. Outdoor "Sai Sports and Games Competition" is also planned for all SSE children. SSE Children will also have an audience with our guest speakers. An exhibition by the SSE children of the region will allow adults to step into the children's views of Swami's teachings and life applications. Young Adults The Young Adult program will be based on the "Sai Ideal" theme. There will be opportunities for service at the campsite, an interactive session with SSE group 4 students, a nature hike and a special session with Prof Hemlatha. Cultural Program A musical offering from devotees of Sri Sathya Sai Centers of Bridgewater and East Brunswick. Bookstore will feature many books/CDs that are sold by the Sathya Sai Book Center in Tustin. Health Camp screening for blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, body-mass index etc. will be provided at the retreat. The blood sugar and cholesterol tests provide more accurate results if done prior to taking any food or tea/coffee/juice (that is, fasting). Devotional Program Morning: The morning devotional program will begin with Omkar gently wafting through the darkness of the pre-dawn hours. The Suprabatham, which is an ancient hymn symbolizing the awakening of the Lord within each of us, will follow next. Nagarsankirtan, melodious singing of Bhajans while walking around the campgrounds, followed by Meditation will bring the early morning program to conclusion. After a warm and nourishing breakfast, the morning devotional program will continue with group Bhajans in the main hall, followed by inspirational discourses from our keynote speakers. Afternoon: Spiritual workshops on topics related to the retreat theme. Evening: The evening devotional program will begin with group Bhajans in the main hall. It will be followed by dinner. After dinner the evening program will continue with cultural programs in the main hall. We will serenade the night-time with a campfire and group devotional sing-along. Sai Spiritual Education Classes (SSE) Ages: Group 1 (Grades 1-3), Group 2 (Grades 4-6), Group 3 (Grades 7-9) and Group 4 (Grades 10-12). All children between the ages of 6 and 18 are required to attend the SSE programs at the retreat. Activities: A diverse program incorporating human values has been planned for the SSE students and includes spiritual, physical and creative activities. Logistical Information Retreat Registration: Registration can be done on the web at http://events.sathyasai-region2.org. On- line registration on the web is easy and convenient. You will be given instructions on where to mail your payment. If you prefer to register by mail, please fill out the attached registration form instead. Please return the completed forms along with your payment to your local Sai Center President or Ajit Virani as soon as possible. These should reach Ajit Virani no later than Sunday May 4, 2010. Those planning on coming for a single day should also pre-register. There is an additional fee of $5.00 per person for late and on-site registration. Please note that credit cards are not accepted. Accommodations: Campsite accommodations are in cabins with beds for 8 to 12 people. Men and women stay in separate cabins. Young children normally stay with their mother. The cabins are not heated. Northern Pocono can be 8-10 degrees colder than the rest of our region. We recommend that you bring a few personal items to ensure that your stay at the retreat is comfortable and safe. Items should include warm clothing, rainwear, walking shoes, pillow, sheet, blanket, sleeping bag, towel, toiletry including hand soap, flashlight, alarm clock, insect repellent, cushion, pen, notebook and water bottle. Offsite accommodations (Hotels): Devotees who choose to stay offsite are responsible for making their own arrangements. During Memorial Day hotel room availability is at a premium. Please call early to ensure accommodation during this busy vacation weekend. The following is a partial list of hotels close to the retreat site: (additional list can be found at http://www.campwestmont.com the camp website under "Westmont Families/Visiting Westmont" tab). Major hotels are in Scranton, PA, which is an hour away. Vacation Inn Motel, Route 171, Union Dale, PA, 18470, Phone: 570-679-2100, www.thevacationinn.com (6 Miles from the camp) Inn at Starlight Lake, Starlight, PA – 570-798-2519 (9 miles). Please mention SAI group for discounted rates. Econo Lodge 1175 Kane Street Scranton, PA 18505, Phone 570 - 348 – 1000, (45 Miles from the camp, Motel owned by a Sai Devotee, discounted rate of $50) Other Motels - Day's Inn (Dunmore), Scottish Inn (Dunmore), Comfort Inn in Clark Summit Retreat Check In: Upon arriving at the Camp, please proceed directly to the Registration desk and pick up your badges and cabin assignments. If you are a walk-in registrant, your forms will be processed on site. Overnight accommodation can not be guaranteed for devotees registering at the site. There will be volunteers to assist with the luggage for the elderly. Retreat Rules: This is a spiritual retreat. To ensure that all attendees can spiritually benefit from the Retreat, we require that everyone observe the following basic rules: General: Park only in the designated areas. Only authorized vans will be allowed to move around the campsite. Camps have underground tanks as well as hilly areas where cars/vans are not allowed. Please respect the campsite rules and property. Do not tamper with cabin fixtures. Stay in your assigned cabins. Do not leave children and valuables unattended. Men and women will be seated separately for all activities. Do not undertake any independent workshops or group activity. Engaging in any commercial transaction is prohibited. Dress code: Modest clothing, suitable for an Ashram, is required at all times. No shorts, mini skirts, or tight fitting clothes are allowed. Early morning and evenings can be cold so please come prepared with sweaters and shawls. As children will take part in outdoor play activities, sneakers and comfortable play clothes are encouraged. Behavior: Smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages and possession of firearms, fireworks, and illegal substances are strictly prohibited. We appreciate your cooperation in obeying these rules for the benefit of your fellow devotees. Please ask your children to keep away from swimming pools and from wandering around after designated lights out time. Directions to Camp Site Driving Directions Please note that the Northern Poconos are remote and GPS reception may not be available in all places. It is recommended that you carry a print-out of the directions in your car. Camp Address – Route 370, Poyntelle, PA 18454 (Phone: 570-448-2500) From Carbondale, PA Take US- 6 East to exit 7 - Carbondale business district (16.6 miles) – Sharp Exit on left. Turn Left onto US-6 Business (2.0 miles), Turn Right onto Belmont St / PA-171 Continue to follow Main St / PA-171 N (16.6 miles) Turn Right onto PA-370 (4.5 miles) Look for Camp Westmont sign on the left. Via I-80 GW Bridge-80W (towards the Delaware water gap) Stay on route 80W for approximately 27 miles to exit 293. (Route 380N) Take 380N approximately 20 miles to exit “route US-6 East-Carbondale”. Follow signs above “From Carbondale, PA”. From Philadelphia Take NE extension of PA Turnpike to exit 37. Take route 81 north to route US-6 East. Follow signs above “From Carbondale, PA”. From Philadelphia From Baltimore NE extension West. Turnpike to 83 North (towards York north to route 6 East through Take 1-95 to 695 of PA Take 695 West exit 37. Take route 81& Harrisburg). Take 83 North (towards Wilkes- Carbondale, PA Take 81 a left to route US-6 East. Follow signs above “From Carbondale, PA”. Barre and Scranton). making norths after you ride through onto route 171 north. Continue about 15 miles, making From Maryland a right turn onto route 370 east. Go approximately 4 ½ miles to Camp Wesmont sign on left side, make left. Take I-270 N to Frederick. Take Route US-15 N to Harrisburg. Take PA-581 E towards I-83. Continue on I-83 N. Take I-81 N towards Hazelton. Continue on I-81 towards Wilkes-Barre / Scranton. Take exit 187 to US-6 East towards Carbondale. Follow signs above “From Carbondale, PA”. Via I-87 NYS Thruway NYS Thruway to exit 16 (Harriman). Take route 17 west to second Hancock exit #87 (not 87A) about 1 3/4 hours. Turn left off exit, left onto Main St... Go 1 long block making a right after a gas station. Go over RR tracks & bridge and continue on Rt. 191 for 1 mile, making right turn onto route 370 west. Go approximately 12 miles to Camp Westmont turn right at camp sign, just after the blue & white sign for Village of Poyntelle, PA. Service Opportunities Two attainments mark out a service volunteer - absence of conceit and presence of love. Service to those needing help makes you the comrade of all, irrespective of other considerations. Be looking all around you, all the time, even beyond the horizon of your allotted tasks, for any extra chance to serve. An old man may be stranded in the hot sun, …a child may be wailing for its parent, a mother may be clamoring for water to slake her thirst... - watch for these, and run towards them, with a smile and a word of cheer! - Divine Discourse, Feb 21, 1971 General Guidelines: Devotees are encouraged to volunteer for any seva opportunity which appeals to them. To practice Unity in Thought, Word and Deed, all volunteers are requested to follow-up on their commitments. This is your commitment to Swami. Please review carefully the major opportunities that are briefly outlined including the timings. Note as you volunteer, you might have to miss some of the programs as the timings of some service opportunities might conflict with the main program. Most activities (except SSE Teachers) require 2 to 3 hours of commitment. The retreat is made possible by the efforts of many dedicated volunteers. Note that this year Sai Centers will be signing up to take responsibility for many of the service areas. Please check with your center before volunteering to ascertain whether your center would like you to participate in the service they have committed to. Centers and the retreat service coordinators will also be looking for additional volunteers from those that sign up to perform service via this registration form. For further information on service opportunities, please contact: Douglas Gaum (email@example.com or call 301-972-3650) or Sai Kishore (firstname.lastname@example.org or call 646-552-9938) or Rajen Ghayal (email@example.com or call 732-276-6727). Brief outline about various service opportunities are shown below. Please indicate your preference by entering the letters A-U on the registration form. A. Audio and Projection Support: This group takes care of the Audio system requirements during the retreat. They help transport, setup and monitor sound system and projectors in Devotion Hall, Dining Hall, SSE programs, Young Adults meeting room and workshop venues. B. Camp Setup: (Friday Morning and Afternoon only) - Committed volunteers are needed to transform the campsite into an atmosphere where all can enjoy an uplifting, spiritual experience. This is done on Friday prior to our first bhajan session that evening. A large number of volunteers are needed in the devotion hall to help with setting up of the altar, decorations and seating arrangements. Volunteers are also needed to help place signs and banners throughout the campsite for easy navigation. Assistance is needed in transferring groceries / supplies to the kitchen area and in setting up the dining hall. C. Camp Cleanup: (Monday morning) - We all want to leave the camp and head home as soon as possible but our goal is to leave the camp in a better condition than when we arrived. If you can stay back and help in the camp cleanup, it would be greatly appreciated. D. Camp Fire: Volunteers will help set up, maintain safety, encourage bhajan singing, and manage campfires on Sunday night. E. Dining Hall: (6-8am, 1-2pm and 5-8pm) – Please note that this seva does not involve cooking. Do not check off this service if you are participating in cooking a meal with your center. This service involves setting up and keeping the dining area clean and lovingly serving all devotees. F. Environmental Cleanup: (Sat or Sun afternoon) - Volunteers will pick up and bag trash along the entrance road and in the woods surrounding the camp. Gloves and trash bags will be provided. G. Health Camp: (Sat and Sun morning) - Volunteers will help setup the infirmary, assist medical personnel, register and guide devotees through the various check-ups. -- Service Opportunities (Continued) -- H. Luggage Support: (Fri afternoon and evening, Sun evening, Monday) - This group will assist in transporting devotees‟ luggage to/from the registration area, parking lots and cabins. I. Parking Lot: This is the first impression that devotees will get of the retreat. After a long journey, seeing a friendly, helpful parking attendant will go a long way in making the devotee feel warm and comfortable. J. Sanitation: (after meals and other times) - This will be the clean up brigade for the kitchen after each meal. They will also keep an eye on the rest rooms and other areas. Supplies and other resources will be provided. K. Service Desk: These volunteers will be at the service desk which forms the central point of contact for devotees for all their needs. Service desk functions include matching attendees to the service activities they have committed to, serving as lost and found, disseminating messages, managing emergencies, dispatching golf carts, etc. They will ensure that problems with cabins are dealt with appropriately. They will have directions and information about nearest hospitals, hotels and other facilities. L. Shoe Arranging: In the devotion hall, help is needed in arranging and maintaining the shoes in an orderly fashion. M. SSE Exhibition - Help set-up before the exhibition, manage devotee lines and flow during the exhibition. N. SSE Games and Activities: (Sat, Sun 8.30AM-6.00PM) - This involves helping the SSE children in their games and activities. O. SSE Refreshments - This involves supplying SSE students with snacks and water in the afternoon and during Sai Games. P. SSE Teachers: (Sat, Sun 8.30AM-6.00PM) - This involves working with SSE children. Please note that you will miss some of the main program and/or bhajans. For additional information, please contact Prity Bhatt, regional SSE coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Q. Swami’s Room: (Sat and Sun) - Volunteers are needed to maintain the tranquility around Swami‟s room in two-hour slots from early morning till late evening. R. Transportation: This group takes care of rides to/from nearest bus station and help in transporting various materials in and around the camp. S. Video and Photography: This is an aspect where memories created are kept for a many years after the event. This will be a major service to all the devotees who are unable to attend the retreat or who were providing valuable seva in the areas identified above. If you have cameras/camcorders/video equipment and are good at using them, then please consider signing up for this seva. T. Wake up Bell: (Sat, Sun, Mon morning 5 AM) - This service involves „arousing‟ the devotees from their slumber and alerting them to the start of a day filled with spiritual activities. Please check the timings involved. U. Wherever Needed: You can volunteer to be part of a team eagerly willing to help out wherever needed. God will not ask you, when and where you rendered service? He will ask with what motive you did it. You may boast about the quantity, but God seeks quality, the quality of the heart, the purity of the mind, the nobility of the motive. The Lord is pleased only when you do the things He desires. How else can you win His grace, but by nursing and nourishing His children? March 19, 2008 Thought for the Day SSSO of Mid-Atlantic – 35th Annual Retreat - Registration Information Instructions: To register please use the website - http://events.sathyasai-region2.org. After completing the web registration please mail your confirmation and check to your local Sai Center President or Ajit Virani. These should reach Ajit Virani no later than Sunday May 4, 2010. The camp has limited overnight capacity. Accommodations for people registering late cannot be guaranteed. Devotees planning on coming for a day should also pre-register. There is an additional fee of $5.00 per person for late and on-site registration. All cancellations must be done no later than May 15, 2010 to get a refund. Please contact Ajit Virani by phone at 703-709-9343 or by email at email@example.com if you have any questions or are unable to register on the web. The address for mailing the check and confirmation is: Ajit Virani, 13006 Monroe Manor Dr, Oak Hill, VA 20171. Costs: The costs below include retreat programs, meals and overnight stay (if applicable) in the camp for the duration that you are registering for. There is no charge for children below 5 years of age. Please enter Stay option and check number on the registration form. Camp Stay No Camp Stay Stay Arrive Depart Adult Children Adult Children Option Nights (over 12) (6 to 12) (over 12) (6 to 12) 1 Fri Mon 3 $86 $60 $65 $43 2 Fri Sun PM 2 $86 $60 $65 $43 3 Fri Sun AM 2 $76 $54 $54 $38 4 Fri Sat PM 1 $54 $38 $43 $33 5 Sat AM Mon 2 $86 $60 $65 $43 6 Sat AM Sun PM 1 $76 $54 $65 $43 7 Sat AM Sun AM 1 $65 $43 $54 $38 8 Sat Day Only - - - $38 $27 9 Sat PM Mon 2 $76 $54 $54 $38 10 Sat PM Sun PM 1 $65 $43 $54 $38 11 Sat PM Sun AM 1 $54 $38 $43 $33 12 Sun AM Mon 1 $43 $33 $38 $27 13 Sun PM Mon 1 $43 $33 $38 $27 14 Sun Day Only - - - $38 $27 Note: Please register early, the camp fills up fast.