Sikh Youth Camp in Fremont Provides Youngsters Connection to Culture

July 29, 2006

Source: The Argus

On July 29, 2006 The Argus reported, "Karandeep Singh Sasan stood outside the Gurdwara Sahib of Fremont in traditional garb: a blue robe and turban, an iron bracelet and a sword. 'What's up,' the energetic young Sikh said to a visitor. Then, he explained: 'I always say, "What's up" when somebody new comes to the gurdwara. I want to make friends with everyone who comes here.' Multiethnic societies stress tolerance, respect and understanding for cultural differences, but many communities also are teaching their youth to understand their heritage and roots so they can educate the greater community. That was evident Friday among the 270 youth who participated in the Sikh summer camp. For six weeks, these children, some in hip-hop T-shirts and others in NBA basketball jerseys, have spent their time at the gurdwara, where they learn math, martial arts, creative writing and scriptures. Ram Singh, a member of the gurdwara's Supreme Council, said those born in the United States practice reading the sacred Gurmukhi scriptures in Punjabi, while newcomers to America also can use this time to brush up on their English. The camp is the brainchild of Union City residents Sarabjit and Pritam Singh Cheema, who urged the gurdwara's leaders to encourage young adults to volunteer to mentor and counsel the younger ones in Sikh traditions. Pritam Cheema said he hopes the camp gives Sikh youth a sense of belonging and an opportunity to make new friends, as well as give parents some much-needed breathing room."

See also: Sikhism, Youth