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Our Programs

COVID Related Guidance

Guest Speakers.

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Dr. Geetha Govindarajan

Dr. Geetha Govindarajan MD, PhD, MPH, serves as the  Director of Clinical Innovation at a large Federally Qualified Health Center serving the Southside of Chicago, where she oversees population health efforts, innovates with digital health technologies to improve health outcomes and most recently led the Covid-19 Pandemic Taskforce for the health center.

Her Tryst with Divinity is likely timeless but at an early age nourished by family, SSE and YA programs. Geetha held leadership roles within the YA wing of Region 5 and has been actively involved in several medical and disaster relief efforts. She enjoys her "aha moments" from the universe;  not afraid to "travel a road less traveled by" and guided from beyond to think globally, and act locally.

Trained as an internal med physician, scientist and public health practitioner, she earned her MPH from Harvard in International Health, PhD in Cellular Physiology from Loyola University, Chicago and MD from George Washington University, Washington DC.

Dr. Govindarajan is an inspiration for all healthcare professionals and especially, the Sathya Sai Young Adults to serve the needy in their local communities.

Mr. Jonathan Roof

Jonathan Roof is currently retired and living in Kailua-Kona, HI. Jonathan first visited Sathya Sai Baba in India in January 1979. As a result of his interactions with Sathya Sai Baba, he wrote the three volumes of Pathways to God. The first volume came out in 1991 and the third volume in 2004. Jonathan served as a Sathya Sai Organization officer in many capacities for 33 years. In 2011 he led the USA pilgrimage to Prasanthi Nilayam. Mr. Roof was President of the Sathya Sai Baba Central Council USA from 2001 until 2011. He has spoken extensively at Sai conferences throughout the USA and Canada.

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Mr. Leslie Farkas

Leslie Farkas first visited Sathya Sai Baba for the first time when he was 21 in 1989. His mother Veronica was already an ardent devotee, but Leslie was very skeptical and not sure what to think. Swami would soon win him over with his Love.

It was on Leslie’s third trip in 1992, when out of deep desperation he finally surrendered and his whole life was transformed by the miracle of Swami’s Divine Love. This visit that was to last 6 months, turned into a five year spiritual odyssey of living and serving in the physical presence of the Lord. In Leslie's first interview in 1992, Swami asked Veronica and Leslie to run the Western Canteen. They had no prior training or experience, but with Swami’s grace, much hard work and the service of many devotees they managed, cooked and baked, feeding many hundreds and sometimes thousands of devotees per meal.

When Swami would move to Bangalore they would run the Canteen there. Their vacation time-off from the Canteen was when they would follow Swami to Kodaikanal, Otty and other locations in India. Through his time in India, Leslie was blessed with numerous interviews, Swami’s close personal attention and deep, difficult and liberating spiritual lessons. In the last year of his stay, Swami asked Leslie to speak to visiting devotees as a Public Relations Officer, sharing Swami’s messages, teachings and his own experiences.

After returning to the USA in 1997, Leslie has been working as an Electrical & Mechanical Engineer in the medical and electric transportation fields. He lives in Ventura, California where he continues the journey back to his Source.

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 up by Meditation and Yoga will bring the early morning program to conclusion. After a warm and nourishing breakfast, the morning devotional program will continue with Bhajans in the devotion hall, followed by inspirational discourses and workshops from our keynote speakers that enable us to delve deeper into Swami's teachings.

Afternoon and Evening

Continue with spiritual workshops on topics related to the retreat theme and Sai teachings, inspirational discourses and workshop sessions with our keynote speakers and conclude the evening with bhajans.

Offering by SSE children and Young Adults are also scheduled in the devotion hall. We will serenade at night with a campfire and group devotional sing-along.

Sai Spiritual Education.

Ages

SSE program for children in grades 1 – 12 are divided as follows: Group 1 (Grades 1-3), Group 2 (Grades 4-6), Group 3 (Grades 7-9) and Group 4 (Grades 10-12). SSE Group 4 students in Grade 12 are also welcome to attend YA sessions. All children between the ages of 6 and 18 are required to attend the SSE programs at the retreat.

Activities

A program allowing children from all ages in practicing Sai values in actual day to day settings / real life (SaiVal) will be the focus for the SSE program. Young Adults, Parent volunteers and teachers will aid mixed-aged groups in this design thinking activity. This is sure to be a very engaging and energizing experience for all attending retreat - after all - we are all students of Life!

Other Programs.

Workshops

The retreat will offer several interactive workshops based on the retreat theme and covering areas of devotion, education, service, and practical spirituality.

SSE Program

This year's SSE program features a unique approach focused on engaging children across ages in a team based collaborative effort. Using principles of design thinking, students will be asked to dive deeply into their creative imagination as they work together on real life scenarios with the human values as the foundation. Each team of students will be given a chance to present their work to an audience similar to the LEAP Program in the past.

The children will have an audience with the guest speakers. There will also be an outdoor "Sai Sports and Games" for all SSE children.

"Man comes into the world so that he may bask in the Presence of God, through the exercise of love and the cultivation of love. The earth is a great enterprise, a busy factory, where the product is love. By means of Sadhana (spiritual practice), it is possible to produce love and export it to millions and millions of people, in need of it. The more it is shared the deeper it becomes, the sweeter its taste, and the vaster the joy. By means of love, one can approach God and stay in his presence, for God is love, and when one lives in love, he is living in God. If you deny God angrily, you are drying up the strings of love in your heart. If you declaim that God is nowhere, you are installing night in your heart and making it ready for dark schemes and misdeeds." - Sri Sathya Sai Baba - Jan 1st, 1971 (https://links.sairhythms.org/4CqN)

Young Adults

The Young Adult (YA) program will go hand in hand with the adult and SSE program, which will include unison singing, workshops, games/activities, a cultural program Sunday morning, and private sessions with our captivating guest speakers, who will share their experience.

A YA can find a home across any activities occurring at the retreat. YAs will be involved in working with SSE children on their experiential learning program, leading workshops for the retreat participants, serving our devotees in the parking lot through the infirmary, and providing a snack on Saturday.

Please note: YA programs are meant for ages 18-40 only. SSE Group 4 students in Grade 12 are also welcome to attend YA sessions.

This year's cultural program will express the YA’s attitude of gratitude, this year’s retreat theme. Our Swami has provided us with so much to be grateful. Through the program, we would like to express our gratitude and revisit some core teachings and messages for us to carry home.

Retreat Service Opportunities

Multiple Service opportunities are available during the Retreat and devotees are encouraged to volunteer for any Service opportunity that appeals to them (Please see the "Service Opportunities" page for more details). Apart from these Service activities, Service Workshops are also being planned for this year's retreat.