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Camp Gian 2009

Camp Gian is an overnight Sikh camp dedicated to promoting the Sikh way of life and strengthening Sikh morals and teachi...

Los Angeles, California – During the week of August 9th, approximately 150 Sikh youth from the ages of 5 months – 22 years gathered at Gurdwara Vermont to attend the 11th annual Camp Gian. Camp Gian is an overnight Sikh camp dedicated to promoting the Sikh way of life and strengthening Sikh morals and teachings while emphasizing leadership within one’s sangat.

With Camp Gian’s commencement on Sunday, August 9th, the campers learned that they would be exploring vital Sikh historical events during the years of 1708 – 1751. The children explored this theme further by learning about the lives of significant figures in Sikh history, such as Banda Singh Bahadur, Bhai Mani Singh, Nawab Kapur Singh, and many others. This year’s theme shabad was “So Satgur piaaraa mere naal hai” and this year’s song was “I will remember you”.

During the course of five days, the children attended an exercise session at 6 A.M., which was followed by Morning Diwan, characterized by the recitation of Nitnem and Simran. Over the course of Camp Gian, following Diwan and breakfast, an act from a play that summarized the events from 1708-1751 was performed for all of the campers to enjoy. The play exemplifies the unique opportunities Camp Gian offers the Sikh youth of today, for the play was solely written and performed by the youth of this camp.


The campers then attended three classes that discussed a myriad of topics ranging from sovereignty to leadership to history. Classes were not only taught by knowledgeable adults, but also veterans of Camp Gian, who have taken on a leadership role. The material covered in these classes is not only relevant to Sikh issues, but can also be paralleled to modern day world settings.

After an academic base during the first half of the day, the campers enjoyed pleasurable activities during the afternoon. Each day, the campers would travel to Griffith Park for three-legged races, water balloon fights, sports games, and a handful of other activities. This year, the children also spent a day in Santa Monica for a field trip, where they enjoyed the beach and the sun while playing group-oriented games such as volleyball, sand castle building, and water balloon tosses.

Upon returning to the Gurdwara, each camper was given the opportunity to learn how to do gatka, perform kirtan, tie a dastar, make a roti, or braid their hair during their intensive learning classes. This year, Camp Gian was blessed to be able to cater to a rising interest in the martial art form of Gatka. Bhai Onkar Singh, 5 time world gatka champion, taught this year’s gatka classes, as well as instructed early morning exercises.

 

Evening Diwan followed these classes, which included Rehraas Sahib, Simran, and Kirtan, which gave individual or groups of campers the opportunity to showcase their skills. Following Evening Diwan and langar, campers enjoyed quality time with one another during evening activities such as Ice Breakers, Family Fued, relay races, movies, and discussions.

After five days, the end of camp came on August 14th to all of the children’s dismay. However, many of the campers were anxious to see the exciting displays of talent. On the last night of camp, the Main Diwan Hall was filled with campers adorned in white and orange. The parents of the campers were in attendance and the Sangat watched as the campers recited speeches, performed kirtan and tabla, and, to everyone’s excitement, showcased a gatka performance that will never be forgotten.

Once the performances ended, all the campers were anxious to receive their annual Camp Gian gift bags, which, this year, included a certificate, trophy, bookmark, Camp Gian T-shirt, and quilted travel-sized weekend bag.

Camp Gian 2009 was a truly unique amazing experience that brought together Sikh youth from around the country with the common goal of strengthening one’s Sikh morals and leadership in a positive sangat setting.  

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