Sutinder Singh tying a turban on a young Scout at the Sikh Exhibit, Jersey Scouts Jamboree
Representatives of the American Sikh Council (ASC) were invited to exhibit at the New Jersey Scouts Jamboree known as the ‘Jersey Jam 2019’, organized by the Patriots Path Council which was held at the Waterloo Village Historic State Park, in Hackettstown, NJ from Oct 4-6, 2019.
Over 5,000 Boy and Girl Scouts along-with adult leaders participated in the fun-filled weekend of multiple activities. Some of the following activities were included;
- Biathlon Course
- Military Displays & Interactions
- Obstacle Course
- Orienteering Course
- Team Challenges
- Knife making
- North Range Shooting Sports
- Tomahawk Throw
- EMS Interactive Demonstrations
- Hands-On Activities & Displays
- Outdoor Skills Training
- Fishing and Fly-fishing – Fly Tying
- Rocket Launching
- Backwoods Engineering
- Climbing/Cope Course
- Mountain Biking
Special Attractions and Events included, Science – STEM, Chess, Old-time Crafts, Civil Air Patrol, Vehicle Exhibit, Public Safety, Pulley Tug of War, Saturday Night Lightshow, Saturday Night Stage Show, and High Adventure Booths, a ‘Faith and Beliefs exhibit tent’ and much more.
The American Sikh Council (ASC) setup an exhibit with five (5) Sikh volunteers which included Arjan Singh (a young Scout), Inderpreet Singh, Satnam Singh, Sutinder Singh and Kavneet Singh helping run the exhibit. Scouts and visitors were given multiple brochures, and literature was disseminated to the Scouts and additionally the Sikh Religious Workbooks and books on Sikh military history were displayed.
Scouts lined up get colorful dastars tied walking away beaming ear to ear, while they asked questions and learnt about the Sikh identity and heritage!
Kavneet Singh with Scouts at the ASC Sikh exhibit,
Some of the brochures given out were ‘Sikhs and Scouts’, ‘History of Sikh Americans’, ‘Bullying of Sikh American Children’, ‘History of Sikh Americans’, ‘The Sikh Turban’, ‘Sikhs in World Wars’, ‘The Battle of Saragrhi’ and the ‘Sustained Sikh Genocide 1984-1998’. The Sikh Religious Award Workbooks; Nirbhau, Nirvair, Gyan-Kharag and Khalsa’ designed for the Elementary, Middle and High School levels were displayed along-with the books, ‘Bullying of Sikh American Children – Through the Eyes of a Sikh American High School Student’, ‘Sikh Ghadar 1907-1918’,‘Another Aspect of the Gadar Movement’ and more.
Harjot Singh, with a long line of happy Scouts at the ASC Sikh exhibit
The volunteers disseminated several hundred brochures as there were so many questions. The volunteers did get into discussions with many Scouts and adults opening doors to better interfaith understanding. The continuous impact of these ‘exhibits’ is already having far reaching and an impact on the national scene. There are two very prominently placed photographs of Sikh Scouts in action in the 13th edition of the ‘Boy Scouts Handbook’ on pages 21 and 418. Over 250,000 were printed, between 2016 to 2018. Sikhs and related content have been included in several types of scouting material. It is time for all Sikh American children and parents to step up and do their part by joining the incredible Scouting experience in order to empower their kids to become future leaders.
Satnam Singh and Harjot Singh with lines of Scouts waiting to get turbans tied at the busy Sikh Exhibit
ASC volunteers tied approx. 500 dastars/turbans at the all-day event. There were hour long lines waiting to get their dastaars tied. Some came back get them retied since many were running around engaged in other activities. All across the open grounds there were Scouts playing in colorful dastars while completely oblivious to the dastars they were wearing. The feedback and comments at the end of the day were overwhelmingly positive. Later in the evening and the next day we got several emails filled with compliments.
Scout and an adult in turbans at the Sikh Exhibit
Arjan Singh (a Scout), Inderpreet Singh, Satnam Singh, Sutinder Singh, Harjot Singh and Kavneet Singh collectively made this event a resounding success. The young Arjan Singh did an awesome job of helping at the exhibit.
Due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the Scouts the organizers of the Jersey Jamboree have invited us for the next Jersey-Jam and other events.
Inderpreet Singh, Arjan Singh with Mitch Erickson at the Jersey Jamboree
Mitch Erickson the Commissioner stated, “Thanks for all you did! The gentlemen from the American Sikh Council tied turbans on Scouts’ (and Scouters’) heads. While tying, they used the time to explain the Sikh religion, culture, contributions to British battles, and persecution, to the Scouts. A great cultural exchange and eye-opener for most of us. Longest lines I saw anywhere!”
Scouts and Adults in turbans at the Jersey Jam