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New Book – Scouting Our Way features Sikh prayers!

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American Sikh Council representatives from the Boy Scout Task Force worked closely with Dr. Edmonds for several months in order to accomplish this meaningful contribution.

For the first time Sikh prayers have been included in the brand new edition published by Dr. Robert Lee Edmonds and Linda Tucker Edmonds in late May 2015. ‘Scouting Our Way’ contains prayers under three sub-headings, namely Duty to God, Duty to Self and Duty to Others with a prominent photograph of two Sikh-American Eagle Scouts. Prayers from various Faiths are included in a simple yet beautiful manner creating a commonality, and universal brotherhood while trying to follow the Creator through responsible citizenship.

There over 2.7 million boy scouts and over 2.8 million girl scouts (including adult leaders) across the nation. This new book is being placed in every Boy Scout Council store across the nation and is also available on: http://www.amazon.com/Scouting-Our-Way-Guide-Fellowship/dp/0989202607

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Wray Johanning honored by WSC-AR at Sikh Study Circle Gurdwara, St. Louis, MO

Wray Johanning, Gulbarg Singh

On January 18, 2015 Wray Johanning a long time Scout Leader who is also the Chair of the Religious Relationships Committee of the Boy Scouts of America was honored in the presence of the Sangat, his wife and friends at the Sikh Study Circle Gurdwara, St. Louis, MO. S.Gulbarg Singh the Chairperson of the WSC-AR presented the award and a letter of appreciation. Mr.Johanning spent umpteen hours guiding and giving input for the last few years in order to get the Sikh Religious Awards workbooks and medallions implemented. WSC-AR really appreciates the commitment and selfless service of Mr.Johanning.

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WSC-AR representative nominated to the Religious Committee of the Boy Scouts of America

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Kavneet Singh the Chair of the Boy Scouts Task Force (WSC-AR) spearheaded the project to design, plan and implement the four Sikh Religious Workbooks along with the five Sikh emblems/medallions with the help of other members of the WSC-AR, which have all been approved by the Boy Scouts of America after a seven year effort. He has been nominated to the Boy Scouts of America’s Religious Relationship Committee as the official Sikh representative, effective September 30, 2014.

Kavneet Singh has had a long active working relationship with the Voorhees school district in New Jersey and has recently been nominated as a ‘key communicator’, in an advisory role within the Voorhees Township Public School system, effective September 5, 2014.

We want to congratulate Kavneet Singh for his achievements and pray that he continues to carry the torch of Sikhi forward.

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Sikh Religious Awards from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA)

American Sikh Scouts receive the first Sikh Religious Awards approved by BSA – July 2014.
American Sikh Scouts receive the first Sikh Religious Awards approved by BSA – July 2014.

Several years of dedicated service by the Boy Scouts Task Force of the WSC-AR has finally paid off. Kirpal Singh, a member of the Task Force and a former Chairperson of the WSC-AR, was instrumental in writing the workbooks. The Boy Scouts of America has finally approved all four Sikh Religious Award workbooks and the four emblems/medallions which go with them. All four workbooks; two for the elementary school level, third for the middle school level and the fourth for the high school level are now available nationally to be used by Sikh or Non-Sikh children. Upon completion, the Scout will receive an emblem/medallion with a certificate in the presence of the congregation in the Gurdwara. A fifth emblem/medallion has been approved for adults, which will be given through a nomination process for ‘distinguished service towards youth empowerment’.

Also all the five Sikh emblems/medallions are now being included in ‘Duty to God’ an important brochure which includes the emblems/medallions of all the major faiths and denominations. Over 17,000 brochures are being printed which will be stocked in every BSA Council store across the US and also put on the BSA’s national website www.scouting.org.

Furthermore the ‘Sikhs and Scouts’ brochure is now available on the http://www.scouting.org/filestore/membership/pdf/Sikhs_and_Scouts.pdf for dissemination and a teaching resource material. Boy Scouts of America is printing a few thousand of these brochures also to be used for educating the Scouts across the US.

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Boy Scouts of America Approves Sikh Religious Award in Consultation with WSC-AR

These four medals can be earned by the Boy / Girl Scouts of America by learning different books on Sikhi and passing the respective tests.
These four medals can be earned by the Boy / Girl Scouts of America by learning different books on Sikhi and passing the respective tests.
The fifth medal for adult Scouts than can be earned as a special honor for Sikhi related Services in the Boy / Girl Scouts of American.
The fifth medal for adult Scouts than can be earned as a special honor for Sikhi related Services in the Boy / Girl Scouts of American.

The World Sikh Council – America Region (WSC-AR) has worked closely with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for nearly two years to prepare and finally secure approval of ‘Sikh Religious Award’.

Scouts of any religious tradition (Sikhs and non-Sikhs) and gender can participate and work on this Religious Award. Upon completion of the Sikh Religious Award, the Scout will receive an emblem/medallion with a certificate provided by WSC-AR. The emblem/medallion along with the ‘Universal Religious Square Knot’ can be worn on the Scout uniform.

This will provide a significant opportunity for Scouts from various faiths to learn about Sikhs since there are over 2.6 million active Scouts across the US. In turn, it will help in enhancing interfaith understanding and harmony among various segments of society in the country and beyond.

WSC-AR’s recent participation in the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Mt. Hope, West Virginia in July 2013 provided an outstanding opportunity to bring awareness about the Sikh Faith to over 40,000 non-Sikh youth. WSC-AR will continue to collaborate with BSA, in instituting the ‘Sikh Religious Award’.

The Boy Scouts of America has as part of their program developed various religious emblems which encompass many of the major faiths of the world. This is to encourage the Scouts to grow stronger in their own faith. The approval of this program allows emblems/medallions to be worn on the official uniform.

The World Sikh Council – America Region (WSC-AR) is the umbrella organization representative of Sikhs in the United States. It is an elected body of Sikh Gurdwaras and institutions. Currently 51 Gurdwaras and other Sikh institutions across the nation are members of WSC-AR. The major governing purpose of the organization is to represent the collective view of Sikhs in the United States. WSC-AR works to promote Sikh interests at the national and international level focusing on issues of advocacy, education, and well-being of humankind.

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WSC-AR participates in National Scout Jamboree

American Sikh Council (formerly World Sikh Council - America Region) participates in the National Scout Jamboree in July 2013
Kirpal Singh, Sutinder Singh and Savraj Singh with Boy Scouts
Kirpal Singh, Sutinder Singh and Savraj Singh with Boy Scouts at Jamboree 2013

The World Sikh Council – America Region (WSC-AR) participated in the National Scout Jamboree held by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia from July 15 – July 24, 2013. The National Jamboree is held every 4 years. This year over 40,000 Boy Scouts and 12,000 adult volunteers and organizers participated in the event.

The WSC-AR participated in the event with a full contingent of ten (10) Sikh volunteers, eight (8) adults and two (2) Sikh Boy Scouts.

WSC-AR had an exhibit at the Jamboree that consisted of a number of posters that highlighted the basic principles of the Sikh Faith (such as ‘ik-onkar’: One God, Khanda, The three main principles of the Sikh Faith, Sikh soldiers in World War I & II, and a Sikh Eagle Scout from New Jersey). A presentation explaining the salient aspects of Sikh principles was running continuously in a loop throughout the event. Three brochures were distributed to the participants. These included a WSC-AR brochure on ‘Sikhs and Their Religion’, one on ‘An Introduction to the Sikh People and Their Faith’, and another one on ‘Sikhs and Scouts’. In addition, a few videos were shown at the event. These included Sikhs in America, Gatka the Sikh martial art, and Gurpreet Singh a recent contestant on American Idol. The Scouts particularly expressed their appreciation of the video on the Gatka performance.

Karanveer Singh (Eagle Scout) being interviewed by a Radio host
Karanveer Singh (Eagle Scout) being interviewed by a Radio host

The Sikh exhibit at the National Jamboree attracted tremendous attention, with constant lines of participants waiting to visit and learn about Sikhs. The streams of attendees had lots of questions, and groups of Scouts gathered around Sikh volunteers listening attentively to the presenters. The Scouts waited patiently and enthusiastically in lines, for their turn to get a turban tied on their heads, which many wore with pride around the event grounds. Over a thousand turbans were tied and after wearing the turbans on their head through the day, most Scouts took their turbans with them.

The organizers of the BSA Jamboree expressed their appreciation for the detailed presentations provided at the Sikh exhibit. They complimented the WSC-AR participants for an awesome job, and also made a strong request for continuing and further strengthening the collaboration between WSC-AR and BSA by inviting us for Jamboree in 2017.

Kirpal Singh and Ajaypartap Singh with a young group of Boy Scouts
Kirpal Singh and Ajaypartap Singh with a young group of Boy Scouts

The Jamboree provided an outstanding way to bring awareness about the Sikh Faith to a large number of youth. WSC-AR is engaging in further collaboration with BSA, in particular instituting a ‘religious award’ on the Sikh Faith for the Boy Scouts. This will provide a significant opportunity for Scouts from various faiths to learn about Sikhs since there are over 2.6 million active Scouts across the country. In turn, it will help in enhancing inter-faith understanding and harmony among various segments of society in the country and beyond.

You can see more pictures from Jamboree 2013 here