2007 Krishna Culture Festival Tour
Posted April 5, 2007
We are now accepting applications from youth ages 16-25 for the 2007 Krishna Culture Festival Bus Tour through North America. From June 24 through August 22, fifty youth will travel in two buses around the USA, Canada, and Mexico to inspire each other in Krishna consciousness by performing kirtanas, dramas, and dances at Krishna Culture festivals in halls, at auditoriums, and at Ratha-yatras. Along the way we'll have morning and evening programs with swamis and senior devotees. We'll visit temples, camp at national parks, go hiking, swimming, whitewater rafting, and build friendships with other devotee youth.
We are looking for youth who would like to come on the tour.
We are also looking for volunteers to help promote the hall programs along our travel route, for experienced bus drivers to drive the buses, and for well-wishers to sponsor exceptional youth who cannot afford the tour fees.
The tour costs $1,995 per person ($81,000 total cost). Each youth pays their share of the costs to travel and perform devotional service throughout the summer. (Yes, these young people are amazing.) Some youth with exceptional talents and abilities would like to travel with the festival tour but cannot afford it. They need your help. Please sponsor a portion of their tour fees so they can come on the tour. (Contact us for a list of names.)
Perhaps you know a young person who may get inspired by coming on this festival tour, and who, in turn, would inspire others in your community? Encourage them to come on the tour. Help them raise the funds.
The Krishna Culture Festival Bus Tour is organized by volunteers at ISKCON Youth Ministry as an offering of love for Srila Prabhupada and for the young Vaishnavas. Get involved. Volunteer. Come on the tour. Encourage others to come. Help drive one of the buses. Help promote the hall programs. Sponsor a youth. Find sponsors for exceptional youth. Find out more information at our website. Send us an email and get in touch.
Photo Gallery of last year's tour:
"Words seem inadequate to express exactly how grateful I am but I'm going to try my best. Maybe the easiest way to tell you is to quote something I wrote in my diary when I had just gotten home from the bus tour. "I feel a new sense of confidence, of identity and purpose ? a new sense of hope for the future; a greater sense of gratitude for all I have and all I am receiving; a newfound appreciation for service and Krishna consciousness, a new faith in the goodness and kindness of others, a greater sense of humility, a new sense of adventure, a new outlook on my ability to be surrounded by others and to adapt to new situations and surroundings and the wonderful feeling of having fifty new friends from around the world!" - That was just what I wrote before I had settled back into life here, but now that I've been back for over a month, not a day goes by when I don't think about the bus tour or realize some new skill or confidence that it has given me. I am honestly stunned at what an impact it has had on me?" - Jahnavi, age 19, England
"I have had the opportunity to spend three awesome summers with the bus tour. I can't thank you enough for the time, energy and everything you sacrifice every summer to create the best opportunity for any gurukuli! We all have a chance to get to know the kulis in the area as well as the kulis from around the world. I feel like I have a big family of brothers and sisters that just keeps growing. The bus tour is a great way to see the potential and encourage the youth to use their talents in devotional service. Soon there will be bus tours all over the world! Again, I am so glad to have this great opportunity and hope I spend my future summers on the tour! I will always be thankful! Had an awesome summer!" ? Priya, age 20, Alachua, Florida
"I am having so much fun on the tour and for that I have you to thank. I know you guys won't be doing this forever but while it lasts I am going to be on every tour I can. So I hope you will let me back on the tour next year, I'm planning on it already. Once again, thank you for making my summer so awesome!" ? Kalindi, age 16, Chicago, Illinois
"I have had the most amazing time in the most amazing places. This has been by far the best vacation I have ever been on. I now can say that I have been all across North America. You have opened my doors to traveling. And to think that you have been doing this for 11 years. So many kids have benefited from your dedication to Krishna and the youth that follow His teachings. If I hadn't gone on this tour, I would not be able to say that I would be a devotee for the rest of my life. I hope you continue to organize the bus tour for years to come. I know I would love to come again and that there are many others who would also." ? Rama, age 18, Lake Orion, Michigan
"It has been my third time already on the bus tour. The first time I joined the bus tour it was so great and life changing that I couldn't believe that bus tours would always be as good again. Well, then the 2nd time I joined I experienced that it was as good as the first time. So I thought this must be coincidence, that two bus tours in a row make me have a great time. So now I have been on my 3rd time and I realized that there is a reason why bus tours with the Hare Krishna Youth Ministry happen to be so good. If it wasn't for the excellent organizers who put so much effort, time, love and joy into this tight plus adventurous schedule of the bus tours, then bus tours would not happen to turn out so well. I want to thank you for having had me on the bus tour for a third time. You inspired me to keep on going in Krishna consciousness and thank you for showing me what a bliss bug is. Please continue with your bus tours and let everyone participate at your wonderful mission of bringing Krishna consciousness closer to a gurukuli's life. Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything." - Madhusudana, age 21, Hamburg, Germany
"This bus tour is such an amazing experience. The first time I came on the tour, I was so surprised there was so many other devotee kids my age. Where I live, there aren't that many and I had no idea what was out there. Now, I have so many devotee friends from all across the world that I would never have if it wasn't for the bus tour. Not only that, but it has made me so much more Krishna conscious than I was at home. I have experienced so many other temples other than the one at New Vrindavan and got to go to so many Ratha-yatras. Now I am on for a second time and it is just as fun and exciting as the first. I think this bus tour is the best thing out there for us devotee kids growing up. I am very thankful for you guys for doing this for all of us. Thank you." Padma, age 19, New Vrndavan, West Virginia
"This is one of the best experiences I have had in this life time. The service you are doing is amazing! .. Krsna consciousness, fun, excitement, austerity, work, service, beautiful deities and temples and so much more. I had so much fun, the tour is definitely the best summer I have ever had!! I hope I can come again but I don't think I will be able to next year because as soon as I get home I have to work and pay [my parents back] for half the tour. Hopefully I will have money and time at least in 2008. I will be 18 then so I could have more responsibility and most probably be 10 times more mature. I hope that when I'm older and settled I will be able to help this program a lot because us youth and the future youth really need this, it is the best thing for us. Thank you so much for letting me come on the tour. I had a great time!!" ? Sumukhi, age 16, Los Angeles, California
"This is my best experience ever. When I started the bus tour I thought would be sucks, but then I been thinking about how can I make this bus tour better and I did simply things as giving service and I feel it's a beautiful experience. Always you are trying to give us the best opportunity, knowledge about Krsna consciousness and this is really amazing? ISKCON, so many devotees, temples, deities? I want to say thanks so much, this is the best service than you can give to Krsna, more bus tours." ? Narahari, age 16, Orlando, Florida.
"I was very glad I was part of the core group that was able to start the tour. The bus tour has been a life changing event for myself and I never expected to have so much fun. In fact, this bus tour was my graduation gift to myself and I haven't regretted one moment of it. As I look back on all the amazing times I've had, it nearly brings tears to my eyes knowing in 2 days it will all be over for me. What you do for the youth can't be expressed in words. All I know is the feelings and memories I have gained from being on the tour, and they are some of the most profound in my entire life. This tour has been a link for myself and the rest of ISKCON communities. It has made my faith and enthusiasm for Krsna and His devotees increase on a level I never imagined. You have my sincerest thanks I can offer. Thanks again." ? Bhaktin Sarah, age 22, Houston, Texas
"After two days on the tour, I had so much fun that I wouldn't have spent my summer any other way. I had never been to a Ratha-yatra before? only heard of them and dreamt of being at one. Because of school, I was never able to go to the N.Y. Ratha-yatra. Now I have gone to 4 Ratha-yatras, and at San Francisco I was even asked to help out on Balaram's chariot arranging bhoga for the oldest deity of Balaram in the western world ? I never EVER dreamed of receiving such mercy ? if it wasn't for the bus tour I never would have visited so many temples, met so many interesting and diverse devotees, eating prasadam in the wilderness and? of course ? 'showering' in natural bodies of water! .. I'm so glad I could spend an exciting summer on the bus tour." ? Shree Krishna Akilesh, age 20, Boston, Massachussets
"You guys are awesome! Not only do you organize this amazing bus tour every year, but you make it so much fun! And you also have fun doing it (sometimes) which makes it more fun for us! This bus tour has been the most amazing experience for me and I hope to come on the bus tour again in the future!" ? Pritha, age 16, New Vrindavan, West Virginia
"A short time before the bus tour began, Indradyumna Maharaj visited Alachua, and he regularly had programs at different local devotee's houses. For the last one of these such programs, there was an inspiring lecture followed by a rocking kirtan where me and a handful of my peers danced and sang like mad. It was at this time I decided that I wanted to go on the tour. I was having so much fun in Krsna's name, and the idea of doing this same thing all summer long was irresistible. I got exactly what I had hoped for, and more, from coming on this tour. This has by far been the best experience of my life. I am completely amazed at your wonderful service. You sacrifice your time and money to put on this tour, and you always go out of your way to make sure we are all happy and comfortable. I will always be so thankful to you. You have changed my life and the way I see the world. THANK YOU so, so, so much!" ? Gundica, age 17, Alachua, Florida
"With a lot of arranging, I finally got on the famous youth bus tour. It's been one of the most exciting adventure-full summers yet. Wow. I'm going to go to my new high school with only thoughts of my wonderful summer and anticipations of the next summer. Hopefully C U next year." ? Niladri, age 16, Vancouver, Canada
"What can I say but Thank You! When I look around at all of my friends here, most of the time I am just having fun Krsna-consciously. But when I stop to think about it I realize what a big step it is to bring together these people from all over the world and bus us around the country, train us to perform plays, set up and take down the festivals, all the while feeding us and taking care of us through a cyclone of different circumstances. .. I can't get enough of the tour! I come back every year, and I'm planning on next year as well! (I'm going to start working right away to pay for it!) I don't know how you do it, but I hope you keep doing it each year! Thank you so very, very, very much." ? Pandita, age 18, Tallahassee, Florida
"Two years ago when I went on the bus tour with my brother, even though it was only for one week, it was a life-changing experience. I had so much fun, I had to go back next year. It was the same. Awesome kirtans, the best association, fun. This year I knew I had to go for the whole summer. It has been one of the best summers of my life. I don't know how you do it: managing 50 teenagers for 10 weeks. I can't imagine the stress. Thank you so much for everything!!!!!" ? Ramananda, age 16, Prabhupada Village, North Carolina
"Throughout my eight weeks on the bus tour I have never ceased to be amazed. .. Despite your busy schedules you still made sure that everyone had fun. This whole summer has been a very positive experience for me. I've seen so much, met so many people, made lots of new friends, grown as a person, and repeatedly stretched my comfort zone. It's been one of the best experiences I've had so far in Krsna consciousness. Thank you so much for everything and I hope to come back in the future!" ? Deva, age 18, Dublin, Ireland
"Thank you for the sunsets & waterfall showers & beach bhajans & inner-city harinams. I wanted to come on the bus tour so that I could see all the temples & see America but never imagined how amazing this tour is. This is the perfect tour for maximum fun. So much to do, friends all around, all the time, traveling to beautiful places & always reminders of Krishna. That's what makes it perfect. I realized on the tour that that is the best bliss & never gets boring. The kirtans & the temples make it exciting and unforgettable. Thank you for giving us the bliss boost for the rest of the year." ? Nila Madhava, age 19, Alachua, Florida
"I don't know any other way to get the most out of my summer. Not only is it fun, it's like a spiritual awakening. Every year I've gone it's been a new leap into Krsna consciousness. It changes who I am and makes me think in a whole new light. I'm always going to remember my summers on the bus tour." ? Syami, age 17, Alachua, Florida
"I just don't know how to express my gratitude toward you. This has been so helpful for me and my devotional life. I hope you guys invite me back." ? Prabhupada Charan, age 24, New Talavan, Mississippi.
"A simple thank you is not enough to express my gratitude for all you have done for me, and for all you have done for each Vaishnava youth who is lucky enough to come on the tour. It is obvious to me how much you love each one of us and want us to have great memories and experiences in Krishna consciousness." ? Krsna Chandra, age 21, Toronto, Canada
"Thanks for organizing such a wonderful summer tour. I had such a blast and can't wait to come on another tour? It's a pity it's taken me so long to join your regular bus gang? I can't say how much I admire everything you give to this tour and your dedication to ensuring everyone has a wonderful, safe, happy, K.C. time? I hope the tours can go on and on for years to come. Thank you so much." ? Ananda Bhakti, age 26, Auckland, New Zealand
"I first heard about the bus tour when it began in '95, and since then I've been wishing I could go, but somehow it never worked out. Usually when something is built up for a long time it falls short of expectation, but this far exceeded my wildest hopes. I've never before had so much fun or such a boost to my spiritual life. Whenever I heard about youth leading ISKCON in the future, I had my doubts that we could do it, but after being on the bus tour I knew it could be a reality. I hope I can help you more next year on the bus tour, now that I have a good idea of how things go." ? Madhava, age 20, Dublin, Ireland
"You have changed my life in ways you don't even know. I chant 3 rounds a day now! I'm starting out steady. I now am going to the temple more often and have gotten over fears and many challenges. I am forever thankful and will never forget the best summer of my life. I never thought you could do so much in one summer!" ? Caranamrita, age 16, Alachua, Florida
"Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to travel with the best youth in North America. I had an awesome time when I was with you. Some of the funnest times were in the last week of the tour. Visiting the Grand Canyon, the cacti in Arizona, and the awesome springs just out of Alachua. Another of my favorite parts of the summer was taking the part of "anger" in the Age of Kali play. Thank you!" ? Nitai, age 19, Prabhupada Village, North Carolina
"I found that I have learned so much more than any other period in my life. The bus tour has proved itself to be a beacon of realizations and light on a very dark and depressing material world. With my own eyes I have seen teenagers who, before, wouldn't have even considered Krsna as an answer to anything, pick up bead bags, close their eyes, and let the vibrations of the Maha-Mantra penetrate the recesses of their minds. I have witnessed people who would never have led kirtan, never set foot to a stage, or never would have opened up about their lives, who have done these things and have proven themselves to be shining super stars. For me, I have been able to find strength to fight against the dangers of this age of Kali and I have found a taste for devotional life. For the first time in my life I have found the desire to be a true devotee. It didn't happen at first. It took patience, bhajans, and a lot of chanting. It's like seeing the world through totally different eyes. When I see the deities, they aren't just brass or marble to me anymore. Chanting japa, which hardly ever happened before, now happens more often, and with as much sincerity as I can muster. It's been a rough road and as the years go by I expect it to just get rougher but at least I have with me the memories and skills I have learned on the bus tour. You have changed my life in so many ways. .. You said once that if you find one person that has changed for the better the sweat and endeavor would be worth it. You don't have to look far to see these people you search for. They are everyone who gets on the magic Vaisnava school bus with you .. with lots of love and inspiration to go around. Thank you so much." - Sarasvati, age 20, Chicago, Illinois
"I've just had the best summer of my life? again! After coming on the bus tour last year I suppose I had expectations for this year, based on the experiences of last time. .. This summer flew by so, so quickly and I can't believe I have to go back home already. I genuinely had an amazing time and am really going to miss everyone! It was great coming back for a second time and meeting up with old friends everywhere we went. I would love to come back again and maybe even take more responsibility to help. The bus tour helps me realize just how much happier I am associating with other youth devotees and I wish I could have a similar environment at home. I guess I'm inspired to get more involved in Ireland, with Deva and co. Basically all I have to say is a big, massive "Thank you" for everything!" ? Subhadra, age 18, Belfast, Ireland
"Thank you so much for making this tour happen every year. I can't describe the positive impact these tours have had on my life, or show my gratitude (although my coming back every year is directly related to that). This tour just enhances the joy of being a devotee. Every year I come home just charged? and ambitious. I spend weeks with amazing devotees and hard workers who really make a difference in people's lives, like yourselves, Madhuha Prabhu, and all the temple presidents and other leaders who we meet on the way. They run temples and programs on such low resources, and are still so grateful for devotee association that they treat us like family. It just inspires me and encourages me to start working harder, become a better devotee, treat others in a very heartfelt special way. .. This program has made such a change in my life, it has introduced me to so many amazing devotees. And I have seen this indescribable change in so many of my peers. Thank you so much.? ? ? Shanti, age 19, Alachua, Florida
"Wow. What can I say? It's been my 4th bus tour and it was a blast!" ? Sri Rama, age 21, Alachua, Florida
"This year was another AWESOME bus tour! Hard for you at some times but I also think you had fun." ? Uddhava, age 21, Montreal, Canada
"Thank you for allowing me to come year after year. You have encouraged and inspired me so much by making Krsna consciousness so much fun. From the make-over in Atlanta to the drum circles [at] the Rainbow [Gathering], and the walks down the beach in Mexico, you've brought Krsna to so [many] places and closer to so many gurukulis' hearts. It has been inspiring to see them catch the "bliss bug," which helps each tour to be a rejuvenating and new experience." ? Jaya, age 20, Alachua, Florida
"Thank you very much for allowing me to come on this year's bus tour. Traveling with the Festival of India for 3 years prior, I always envied how the youth on your tour showed up at the festivals with stories of how fun their week had been. Not only do you pack in so much fun but you also raise the consciousness of all the participants. After arriving back .. I found myself longing for good kirtans and devotee association." ? Rasacarya, age 23, Washington, D.C.
Would you like to get involved with the tour? Email us: email@example.com