As a mother of four, attending Sat Nam Fest for the first time this year, I was so happy to take a time out and drop in to interview our Children’s Camp Director, Jai Fuller. Jai is returning this year as the Director with some really amazing insights and gusto for this year’s Children’s Camp at Sat Nam Fest.
SNF: What’s your background and connection to Sat Nam Fest?
Jai: My best friend and I grew up together in an ashram in Virginia, and she (and her brother/friends) used to help manage the Sat Nam Festivals in the very beginning. The first festival had a baby sitting option, but not necessarily a program. By the second/third festival she recruited me. I was reluctant at the time because all the work I did previously with kids was in an established structured program or camp. So I was anxious about the festival scene–a lot of kids you don’t know, the kids coming-and-going, and needing to figure out how do you hold a space and give them real content and an experience when it has the messiness of the festival life. That piece was daunting and a new challenge, but I loved it! The challenge was there, but it was so rewarding. These were my people! Children that loved and wanted to do yoga. They were enthusiastic and familiar with the chants. It was awesome to teach in this scene, and I was pretty much hooked! I did it for many years, until I had my second child; but now I’m coming back and couldn’t be more excited.
SNF: What is it important to you?
Jai: My work with kids in general is important to me because they’re so sponge-like and absorb everything easily–so my impact and affect has a ripple effect that impacts them when they’re older in such a big way. To be able to do that and spread that is awesome! The Sat Nam Festival is so awesome because I love what they do, what they stand for, and the fact that they are bringing and spreading these teachings is exactly what the world needs right now.
SNF: What’s your experience working with children in general, outside of Sat Nam Fest?
Jai: I was born into the Sikh ashram lifestyle. My mom decided that instead of sending us to daycare she wanted to work with us and worked at our Montessori style school at the ashram. That was the beginning of her now 40+ year career of childcare. When we moved to an ashram in Massachusetts she opened up her own thriving daycare. So for me, I have always been surrounded by kids and would always pretend to be a teacher.
My passions in life were dancing Ballet and later West African dancing, and now I teach dance to kids! It was healing for me to teach, and the rhythmic work with the drums is great right-left brain healing for kids too.
Everything I loved growing up (sports, swimming, gymnastics, etc.), I somehow organically have been able to teach it back to kids. I run a summer camp with my sister: we get to teach kids to swim, do daily yoga, horseback riding, and more… It’s super fun! My other passion is to get kids to perform, and we’ll get to do that at the Sat Nam Festival. They feel empowered and shine! Their pure spirit is so contagious.
Jai: Definitely this year’s children’s program theme of UNITY!
And my team is exciting this year! I have a ton of enthusiastic people on the team to work with the kids, so I’m excited to meet and work with them. I’m working with a couple that will have a workshop creating instruments from recycled materials that I haven’t done before and I’m looking forward to
It’s also the first time I’m bringing in many artists and musicians of the festival, so we will have many fun workshops and opportunities.
SNF: Tell us more about this years UNITY theme and the vision behind it?
Jai: This years theme of UNITY comes from what I feel is going on in the world, and the medicine and healing the planet needs right now. Also from my love from the One Creator song from Krishna Kaur. It’s what I teach my kids at my summer camp every year. We haven’t done it at the festival before, so I’m excited to have the theme of UNITY. With this theme, I’m really excited to see what we uncover in the sharing circle with the kids. It’s amazing what they say– they’re so wise!
SNF: As a mom raising kids, it can be so challenging to have a daily practice. What does your own sadhana consist of with your 2 year old and 10 year old little ones?
Jai: I don’t always get to practice every day and it’s not as consistent as it used to be because it’s tricky with a young child. I try to decide what I really need. So I’ll do 3 exercises, a wake-up series and a meditation for 40 days. But the timing of when I do it changes day-to-day. The real yoga is being a parent and being in relationship, so there is no reason to beat yourself up about when you can or can’t do it.
Jai: It is definitely the Kirtan Kriya. We’ve been doing it since my daughter was born. We light a candle and do it for 5 minutes. In part, it’s what we need as a family– the balance of it. For kids in general, being able to move your fingers and the movement makes it better for them to rock out on!
SNF: What’s something that you want everyone to know about Sat Nam Festival?
Jai: Know that Children’s Camp is a real program experience for the kids– it’s not childcare. It’s a mini-festival for them! The first day the kids are shy and do not want to leave their parents, but then by lunch they don’t want to leave camp!
What better way to make Sat Nam Fest a family affair than by giving your children their own festival experience? You can sign your own radiant children up for this year’s Children’s Program by purchasing tickets here. This is sure to be an opportunity for our little ones of the world to open their hearts and really become ambassadors of UNITY for us all. What better way to make Sat Nam Fest a family affair than by giving your children their own festival experience!
“Give them the true identity of themselves and you will have angels on the Earth.”
-Yogi Bhajan, 8/5-6, 1975