Thursday, June 18, 2015

Toronto Singhs Camp 2015...

With the blessings of Guru Sahib, Toronto Singhs Camp was held from Wednesday 27th May to Sunday 31st May. This is the fifth year the camp has been running. Toronto Singhs Camp provides inspiration and motivation to young and old who want to discover the essence of Sikhi. The camp is aimed to reach out to people of different backgrounds and levels of understanding of Sikhi. Bhai Jaspual Singh and the organising team of sevadaars are doing a great job with Guru Ji's Kirpaa. The group continue with seva beyond the camp with regular Amrit-vela sessions, weekly Simran programme, community seva and fun activities.
This year's camp was attended by around 70 people. The camp is aimed at people aged 17 years and above, however had some younger teenagers who also benefited from the Sangat, Seva, and Simran. It is a great opportunity to experience Sikhi in a relaxed, friendly and spiritually charged environment. Toronto Singhs Camp 2014 took place at camp Kintail, a beautiful scenic camp site located in South-western Ontario on the shores of Lake Huron. The beautiful beach scenery and natural surroundings helped to connect with and appreciate the Creator.

This year's workshop facilitators included, Bhai Gursev Singh (Toronto), Bhai Simerneet Singh (Chicago) and Bhai Mani Singh (Toronto). Special guests at the camp included Bhagat Ji (Bhai Jaswant Singh Ji), and Nihang Singh Bhai Maan Singh (Taruna Dal). 

The theme of the camp was "unity".  The theme of the camp very appropriately describes what Toronto Singhs Camp represents. The camp is a Panthic camp which has representation from different Jathebandis and has an ethos and feel which very inclusive, welcoming and goes beyond the minor differences of Maryada between individuals and seeks to show love to Guru Ji and all Gursikhs. 

The concept of unity was explored by the speakers and discussed with campers from different perspectives and angles. The first workshop was held on the beach. It was really hot that day and the sun was blinding. The workshop led by Bhai Simerneet Singh (Chicago) explored how we can merge back to the source through Gurbani and Naam and emphasised on unity between a Sikh and Naam. Veer Ji talked about the importance of Satguru and Naam.

The second workshop's seva with given to Daas. The topic was Ekta with Guru Ji and exploring the concept of Gurmat Bibek. The whole of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji revolves around unity between the individual with the Creator and this unity and consciousness of seeking to become one is call 'Bibek'. Different aspects of practical Bibek according to Gurbani were discussed, for example of Gurmat Bibek of speaking, Gurmat Bibek of seeing, Gurmat Bibek of what we hear, Gurmat Bibek or eating and so on.

The third workshop was by Bhai Gursev Singh (Toronto) on how we become united with our mind, thoughts and actions. The workshop practically looked at day-to-day living from family life and to being united within the community and Gurdwaras.  Bhai Sahib gave some really nice examples from the life of Gurmukh-Saints to show the virtues needed for unity amongst Gursikhs and with Akaal Purkh. 

The fourth workshop was by Bhai Mani Singh (Toronto) on survival skills and practical skills to help oneself. The Singhs were put in two groups and they had to compete with one another on a mission. (I didn't participate in this workshop as I needed some rest, but it looks like everyone had a great time!).

The fifth workshop was a questions and answers session. The session was interesting to say the least, with a lively discussion.

The sixth workshop was on Sarbat Khalsa. The history of Sarbat Khalsa and how Gursikhs in history would sit together and resolve matters and plan ahead in accordance to Gurmat was explored. We had our own 'mock' Sarbat Khalsa at the camp to form a Gurmatta on the issue on whether inter-faith marriages should be allowed in Gurdwaras and who should be eligible for Anand Kaaraj, as someone could argue it is not fair that someone is allowed to have Anand Kaaraj just because they are born in a Sikh familiy despite the fact that they might be an athiest, have no faith in Guru Granth Sahib Ji, have cut hair, drink alcohol and behave more un-Sikh like than someone of another faith. It was a really fun and thought-provoking exercise which made everyone realise how great the Gursikhs of the past were for being able to gather together and make decisions for the betterment for the Panth in very efficient and Guru-orientated manner.  And, the last workshop was on Panthic Ekta using examples throughout history. Old and modern examples were shared and reflected upon in hope we can all learn from our history for a better future.

Some photos from the camp:

Setting up Nishaan Sahib at the camp site.

 Satguru Ji arriving at the site and taking place on their beautifully decorated throne. The Seva of Maharaaj is done with lots of reverence and devotion by the Sangat.

Campers arriving at the camp site.

 Amrit-vela Naam Simran

 Amrit-vela Nitnem.

 Satguru Ji

Hukamnama Vichaar.

Singhs Camp is famous for Langar (also known as Langar Smaagam) because there are so many Langar breaks! This is the only camp I have been two were you get breakfast twice!

Post Langar Gurmat Vichaar on the topic of......... Langar.

Bhagat Ji explaining to Singhs about healthing eating and living (after everyone had pancakes, syrup and cream for breakfast. Vaheguru).
 Abseiling - You are never too old. Bhagat Ji showing the younger ones how it should be done.

Training for new spider man movie.

Enjoying the beach
Boating. (An example of how not to do it being shown by Bhai Palminder Singh)

Enjoying a walk in the woods.

Gurmat Vichaar by Bhagat Ji near the beach

Arrow firing - Veer Palminder Singh. He looks professional.
Arrow shooting.


Whilst everyone enjoyed the divaans, activities and rest, Bhai Sahib would be doing seva of washing dishes. Vaheguru.

Group photo on the beach.

Bhagat Ji and Bhai Maan Singh saying goodbye to the camp.

Rainsbaaee Keertan - Bhai Jaspaul Singh

Rainsbaaee Keertan

 Rainsbaaee Keertan

Rainsbaaee Keertan

More photos on Toronto Singhs Camp Facebook.

Dhan Hai Guru! Dhan Hai Teree Sikhee!

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