Sikh Student Camp – Chigwell, England

It’s been quite the busy week meeting with different people and doing other fun things with new friends from the camps. Ashvinder just left this morning to return to Singapore and Mandip is off at the airport getting ready to go to India tomorrow. So… I have a little time to catch up on the blog and write a journal entry.

I have really had such a great experience being here in England, particularly at the Sikh Student Camp. This was DEFINITELY the high point of my visit. If I left after that week I would have been satisfied. I guess I kind of figured that the camp might just be “business as usual”. But to my surprise I had an amazing experience. This camp is truly unique.

Much of my experience with other Sikhs has left the overall impression of Sikhs in general being very critical, judgmental, and close minded. So…even though I knew that this camp was focused on Sikhs who might not really know that much about Sikhi, and had a very openminded approach, I didn’t expect to have the experiences that I did.

There was such a mix of unique people that shared so much. The approach of the camp was really great. I watched as everyone around me transformed as they had different experiences at the camp. Everything that was taught was done so in such an openminded way. Everyone was able to participate and do things that they might never have done. It allowed people to really experience sikhi in a way that many have never experienced. During the week it was like I was in a different world. It was like I was in a bubble at the camp and totally involved in the activies.

My heart really opened up at the camp. There was so much love and joy from everyone. It was contagious. There were some campers that outwardly did not look like Sikhs but were so spiritual and had some amazing things to say. It really surprised me. It really goes to show that given the right environment people can really open up and blossom.

The last few days of the camp I was so full of love and joy. Every time we got together and sang shabad kirtan in the Gurdwara tears would flow. I don’t know why. I wasn’t sad. This is the same experience that I normally have when I go to the Summer Solstice camp in Espanola. Guruji was definitely present with us at camp. You could feel it in the air.

I know I haven’t really said many specifics about the camp, but there is soo much. I don’t even know where to start. Every aspect of it was great. The sangat of people there really did make the experience. The sevadhars of the camp really have to be commended. They worked really hard to organize this week long camp. I wish there could be camps like this all over and much more frequently.

The Sikh youth of today are so confused and don’t really have a chance to experience sikhi. There is so much judgment and closemindedness that it pushes our youth away. It is sad to see this. However, when I go to camps like this and meet beautiful singhs and singhnis like I did…. I feel that there is hope. Slowly I know things will change.

I highly recommend that you participate in the camp next summer. I will definitely try to come again next year. This will be a visit to remember. I look forward to traveling more and meeting sangat in other places around the world. It has been a blessing for me to be a part of this all. We all have so much to learn and share with eachother.