UNITED SIKHS Youths Taking the Next Step in Education and Awareness

– Over 70 campers and 20 volunteers attended UNITED SIKHS Gurmat Camp, click here to view pictures.

– UNITED SIKHS youths memorable weekend in Oak Creek, WI, click here to view an album.

United States- We were all saddened and in disbelief at the tragedy that transpired at the Oak Creek Gurdwara in Wisconsin last year. We lost five brothers and a sister. But in essence our sense of sanctity was jolted and our nation shaken. It is at this moment that we must pause to remember: Paramjit Kaur, 41; Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65; Prakash Singh, 39; Sita Singh, 41; Ranjit Singh, 49; and Suveg Singh, 84.

These are the times which define who we are as a people and the fortitude we carry within must carry us forward. It emboldened us and UNITED SIKHS restated our pledge- To Educate, to Empower and To Protect our community in order to recognize the human race as one. Our children must be the first source we educate so they can protect and empower themselves as they progress in life.

gurmat campEnlight of this, UNITED SIKHS followed the anniversary weekend with the start of their annual Gurmat Camp in Wolcottville, Indiana. The UNITED SIKHS Gurmat Camp is an annual event designed to bring young Sikhs together from across North America. This year, the camp was held from August 4th through August 10th. The goal of this week-long experience was to foster an environment where young Sikhs are exposed to Sikh principles and disciplines, in the hopes of encouraging a love for the Sikh faith. The camp was structured to encourage relationships that strengthen a spiritual experience through Sangat. This Gurmat camp experience provides a glimpse into the Sikh way of life but it is the Sangat created that helps provide the dedication to continue the lessons learned when returning home. In addition, this year’s theme of the camp was “Environment.” Campers were also taught the importance of keeping the environment safe; including water safety, disposal of garbage, avoid wasting, and sharing with others so there is no wasting.

UNITED SIKHS Camp Coordinator, Jaswinder Kaur, was delighted with the success of this year’s camp. She said, “Seeing the smiles and pleasure on the faces of our next generation as they attended classes and performed activities that reflect the teachings of Guru Nanak is so fulfilling.”

Volunteers and parents shared many activities with the campers, ages 7-20. Activities include canoeing, archery, walking the high ropes, and rock wall climbing.

20130803_122212 UNITED SIKHS also salutes six of our youth volunteers who participated in the 6K Chardi Kala Memorial Run in Oak Creek, WI on August 3rd, 2013. Ekamjot Singh, Hardave Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Pardeep Singh, Rajvir Singh, and Sawinder Singh made the trip from Texas to honor the lives lost at the Oak Creek, WI shooting by partaking  in the 6K memorial run and by performing seva at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. They drove 16 hours each way and some missed school while others missed work. UNITED SIKHS is indebted to the dedication and commitment shown by these youths and earnestly desires that more come forth to stake leadership within the community.

The memorial event attracting over 700 people, was an opportunity for volunteers to represent the community, interact with the local Sikh community of Oak Creek, as well as people of other diverse faiths. The congregation was able to perpetuate the concept of “Chardikala” by celebrating their diverse faiths, performing seva, and uniting together for a common cause. As Rajvir Singh, UNITED SIKHS volunteer shared, “The 6K memorial event symbolized that in the face of tragedy, a community can and will come together stronger than ever, despite their differences, in order to celebrate the value of life.”

“We Are One” was the message of the weekend, with Chardi Kala being the theme. The run displayed that the youth are capable of playing a vital role in the betterment of today’s society.

“It was truly our honor to be welcomed with such warm hearts and to meet real life heroes like Lieutenant Brian Murphy,” said UNITED SIKHS volunteer Sawinder Singh. When Lieutenant Brian Murphy was asked, “What did you take away from this experience that you will take with you forever?,” he replied, “The Bigger Picture,” meaning that he realizes there is more to life and that personal sacrifices are needed for something bigger than oneself. Lt. Murphy endured 15 rounds of bullets as he was face to face with the shooter but still persevered in performing his duty. Other notable names in support of the event included Mr. Stephen Scaffidi, Mayor of Oak Creek; Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, Army Doctor; and Gurpreet Singh Sarin, American Idol Contestant.

20130823_152807For four weeks, UNITED SIKHS held a Summer Camp for children, ages 7-13 at the UNITED SIKHS Educare Center in New York. Children were exposed to many activities including anti-bullying strategies, leadership exercises, tutoring in all subjects, team building, religion, arts & crafts and much more. UNITED SIKHS Program Coordinator Jaspreet Kaur expressed much excitement about the first ever camp at the Educare Center. She said, “Coming to camp each day was not only fulfilling for the students but also for us teachers and volunteers. The children learned so much valuable skills that will definitely make a positive impact on the upcoming school year.”

UNITED SIKHS proudly sponsored this trip for these youths and for any youths wanting to engage in tangible seva, do contact us at volunteer@unitedsikhs.org.


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