“Usually, the inspiration from a camp lasts me for a few weeks at the most, but YEP equipped me to remain inspired permanently.”
-Shilpam Shah


YEP was a very insightful experience. I’ve been motivated and inspired many times in my life through different people, camps, and experiences, but none has left as deep of a mark as YEP America.

The most important thing I learned at YEP was time management – planning the work and working the plan. We were busy from morning to night. Every minute of our day was planned. On top of that, we had daily seva that needed to get done. This meant no time was wasted in thinking about what to do. I’ve learned before that the mind should be calm – that it should enter and withdraw into any activity at will, but at YEP, I realized how much I could accomplish with a well trained mind. A year and a half later, I’m using the same technique to balance work, hobbies (hiking/snowboarding), Karate, CHYK Website Seva, 2 study groups, japa, puja, nightly reading, and anything else that gets thrown in.

At YEP, I also became more fearless. Growing up, I’ve always been on the timid side. Whether it was public speaking or going on a steep hike, there was always a lot of fear. I’m not quite sure what happened at YEP, but when I went snowboarding for the first time, I was surprised that I wasn’t nearly as afraid as I normally am. I’ve also become a much better public speaker.

Prior to YEP, I had lots of doubts about the ritualistic side of Hinduism. I felt that the philosophy was great and that the ritualistic portions were just mechanical actions without much value. However, at YEP, we learned puja vidhi, Vedic chanting, and japa all of which I incorporate into my daily life. I felt so light, energetic, and happy after YEP, that I felt that if I wanted to continue feeling the way I felt, that I should try practicing what I learned. Today, a year and a half later, I can look back and honestly say that these practices have kept me inspired and energized to live up to the lessons learned at YEP. Usually, the inspiration from a camp lasts me for a few weeks at the most, but YEP equipped me to remain inspired permanently.

After YEP, I have nothing but gratitude towards the many people that made my experience what it was. Countless donors, volunteers, and Acharyas put in so much to make this program a success.

Shilpam currently co-leads the CHYK West website team.