Monday, June 30, 2008

East Coast Youth Conference, Washington DC

Illuminate the path of humanity with the light of spirituality

The two day youth conference held by the Washington DC branch was an inspiration to all those who attended. More than 400 young saints (between years 16-30) formed the majority of the attendants, who were more commonly referred to as “participants”.


The first day started at 10 AM with registration. Here the participants were given a T-shirt with the Mission's message on it and a binder which had the details of the program and various other documents that were used during the presentation. Each participant was also given a group number. The day started with an “ice breaker” game. Here each group played a game where a group member would introduce themselves, and chose a word that is associated with spirituality. Each consecutive member would repeat the information of all those that preceded him or her.

The next exercise involved taking the groups one at a time through the exhibition where saints from all over NA had displayed pictures of the activities that they had organized in the past.

After lunch, three presentations were given that touched the Missions history, especially its history in NA. Often questions were asked from the audience. This was followed by two group discussion events. In the first, each member of a group would talk about ideas that would help promote the Mission among Non-Indians. A group leader was elected who would explain the group’s ideas to all the participants. For the second group discussion, each group was given a unique question to answer. Questions were like “How would you introduce the Mission to someone who is unfamiliar with it?” and “What would be one thing that you would use to spread the Mission’s message”. Before the dinner break, 3 saints conducted a panel discussion on the topic – “Peer pressure & Stress management”. One saint shared, “Why should I be stressed, When I am so blessed!” . An interesting discussion also involved “positive peer pressure” and “parental pressure”. All these discussions involved heated debates and participants had lots to share and were often hurried due to time constraints.

The program ended with cultural performances by Toronto, Montreal, Washington DC, Michigan and Boston. One skit demonstrated how we erroneously attempt to customize the Mission as we customize our coffee. Another attempted to host a Nirankari version of the popular TV show “Are you smarter than a fifth grader” called “Are you smarter than a young saint”.

The second day congregation was from 10 AM to 2 PM, but prior to that, Sheelu Ji from Houston held a Yoga session. Here too the talent demonstrated by young saints was spectacular and very often the audience broke into a rapture of applause. All speeches that were delivered were heartfelt and some even broke into tears.


  • The event took place in Shady Grove Middle School.
  • The main objective of the event was to give the youth opportunity to demonstrate leadership and develop leadership abilities.
  • The binders were created so that participants would preserve them. It will serve as a memory and a quick way to show those who could not attend what they missed out on. They served as a medium for note taking as well.
  • An extensive publication stall was set up and advertised by the stage secretary every so often.
  • Except for the discourses from the stage, the entire event was presented by youth members.
  • An essay writing competition was held prior to the event. Essays were printed and filed in the distributed binders.
  • All saints from abroad were put up in a comfortable hotel about 7 miles away from the event.