Ameek Singh, Jasneet Kaur, Ashleen Kaur and Kavneet Singh with Scouts at the Sikh Exhibit, WashJam
Representatives of the American Sikh Council (ASC) were invited to exhibit at the Washington Scouts Jamboree known as the ‘WashJam 2022’, organized by the Pacific Harbor Council which was held at the, Fort Steilacoom Park, Lakewood, WA from Aug 18 – 21, 2022.
Over 2,500 Boy and Girl Scouts along-with adult leaders from four North-Western states all from over 200 Troops, participated in the fun-filled weekend of multiple activities. Some of the following activities were included;
- Military Displays & Interactions
- Obstacle Course
- Orienteering Course
- Team Challenges
- Medieval Jousting
- Stamp Collecting
- North Range Shooting Sports
- Tomahawk Throw
- EMS Interactive Demonstrations
- Hands-On Activities & Displays
- Outdoor Skills Training
- Kayaking and Canoeing
- Rocket Launching
- Backwoods Engineering
- Climbing/Cope Course
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 several Sikh volunteers which included Jasneet Kaur, Ashleen Kaur, Nihalveer Singh, Chiragveer Singh, Ameek Singh, Manpreet Kaur, Gurpreet Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Gagandeep Singh, Rupinder Singh, Bhupinder Singh and Kavneet Singh who collectively ran the exhibit. Scouts and visitors were given multiple brochures and literature was disseminated to the Scouts. Additionally, the Sikh Religious Emblems Workbooks and various books were displayed.
Hundreds of Scouts lined up get colorful dastars tied then walking away beaming ear to ear, while they asked questions and learnt about the Sikh identity and heritage!
Scouts from various Troops in in turbans 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.
Ashleen Kaur and Jasneet Kaur with Scouts in turbans
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 2020. 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.
Jaskaran Singh, Chiragveer Singh and Kavneet Singh with Scouts from Troop 692
ASC volunteers tied few hundred 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. One group of older Scouts must have retied their dastaars over half dozen times. The same group sat up at night trying to learn how to tie a dastar while watching YouTube videos and two of them helped us tie dastars the next day.
Chiragveer Singh a Star Scout about to speak at Interfaith gathering (WashJam)
Chiragveer Singh a 14-year-old Star Scout Singh had the privilege of speaking and presenting at the main Interfaith event on Sunday morning in front of all the Scouts and adults assembled at the Jamboree. Chirgaveer Singh spoke of how Scouting and Sikhi has helped him while making a positive impact. This hour-long event was held immediately after the flag raising ceremony.
Due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the Scouts the organizers of the Washington Jamboree are excited to involve us for other events in the near future.
Bhupinder Singh, Kavneet Singh and Rupinder Singh with Scouts
The Scout Commissioner stated, “Than you for your wonderful and very interactive exhibit! This has been a great eye-opener for most of us. Longest lines and the most smiles I saw anywhere!”
Manpreet Kaur and Kavneet Singh with a Scout leader at the ASC exhibit
Harchinder Singh, Manmohan Singh, Harcharan Singh, Jasneet Kaur, Ashleen Kaur, Gurpreet Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Manpreet Kaur, Chiragveer Singh, Nihalveer Singh, Gagandeep Singh, Ameek Singh, Rupinder Singh, Bhupinder Singh, all Sikhs of the greater Seattle area, must be sincerely thanked for organizing and their enthusiastic support for making this such a successful event.
Sikh Americans must make an effort to involve themselves in Scouting while getting their own children into Scouting which will not only enhance their overall life skills while having fun in the great outdoors but also empower them to become great Sikh American citizens.