Here is information on bringing children to the Yatra.
Each year we welcome a number of children to the Yatra. For many of us, having children participating in the Yatra is a fundamental part of what makes the Yatra so special. It can also be challenging at times. Amidst basic condtions in the nature, we offer a full programme.
Please take the following information into consideration before you register, so you can decide if this is the adventure you want for yourself and your children.
Both teachers are parents.
During the Yatra, we live out in nature in very basic conditions. We sleep in tents and change camp every few days. We use portable toilets and use buckets of cold water to take a shower. The campsites have trees around but the sun can be hot during the days. Even if it rains, we continue our walks.
Participants volunteer to cook food in a simple field kitchen. The Yatra provides a healthy vegan diet. Please note that since we are cooking for a large number of people, it is simply not possible to provide special meals for children, nor is it possible for the parents to use the kitchen at any point to cook meals for their children.
During the Yatra, we live as a community which includes children.
As a parent/caretaker/guardian, you remain fully responsible for your child(ren) at all times.
Please connect with other parents and people who volunteer to look after children.
The Yatra is not a children’s camp or a family resort in which you can leave behind your responsibility as a parent/ caretaker.
If you come as a single parent/ caretaker, please ensure you have additional support on the Yatra. Ask a person (s) and explain your needs. Or ask a teacher for advice. Do bring a friend if possible, to give support.
Arriving at the Yatra
We ask families arriving with their own transport to arrive early on the starting day of the Yatra. We invite families to have a meeting together in which the children and parents can get to know each other.
Walking and activities for children
Generally, all the children walk (or are carried) in the morning. There is the option for children to go by minibus to the campsite in the afternoon, with as many adults as are needed. Since the minibus can only take 8 people at a time there are times that you will need to wait before you and your child can be taken to the campsite. It is important to understand this. Someone will volunteer to be the family coordinator. There will be some non-parent volunteers to go with children , who are happy to be without a parent/caretaker. Depending on who offers to do that, how much experience they have with children and what languages are spoken, we all need to really make sure that there are also enough parents with the group of children. There will be a sheet for people to sign-up for looking after the children in the afternoon. Usually there will be several people who offer creative activities for the children both during the afternoon and in the evenings. We will also offer children's yoga and meditation.
Children who need to be carried
We can ask for volunteers once the Yatra is underway. There are generally people who are happy to carry small children when needed for portions of the walk.
Please really make sure that children of all ages have suitable clothing and footwear for all weather conditions including heatwave, rain and colder weather. The weather can be very, very changeable. Everybody definitely needs waterproofs, sun-hats and sun protections. An strong umbrella gives protection from the sun and rain.
Meals and snacks
The meals are nourishing and wholesome. Since the kitchen team works in very basic conditions it is not possible to provide special meals for children. In terms of snacks, the Yatra provides fruit for everybody during the morning walk. In the afternoons, back at camp, there are snacks such as rice-cakes, fruit and basic biscuits. Sometimes there will be 'treats' for the children but if your child(ren) get very hungry or expect more 'treats', then do bring a supply of healthy snacks for your children.
We have a limited number of car-seats for the children transported back to camp in the afternoon. If you are coming by car and are happy to offer your car-seat(s) for general use, please let the family coordinators know when you arrive at the Yatra.
Contribution and Donations
In terms of the cost of children at the Yatra, it might be surprising to know that the daily running costs of a child on the Yatra are as high as an adult, such as the renting of the mini-bus for 10 days, primarily for the chldren and parents. We add this information because some parents asked for clarity with respect to child registration . As always, we do not ask each person to pay the same amount; we wish to make the Yatra accessible to all. In addition to contributing towards the shared expenses, you are also welcome to support the work of the teachers through offering dana (donations) to them. Donations for expenses and teachers can be given in advance or at the end of the Yatra.