Commemorating the 550th birth anniversary of Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak, Sikh Youth New Zealand is once again bringing four days of family summer camp in the last week of January to be hosted in West Auckland.

Sikh Youth NZ (SYNZ) is a youth-led charity that aims to educate, empower, serve and connect young Sikh New Zealanders, the wider Sikh community and the New Zealand public.

The annual summer camp is one of the many activities youth-led community organisation Sikh Youth New Zealand organises every year during the school holidays to get a maximum number of registrations to one of the most popular summer camps in Auckland.

The aim of this summer camp is to empower young minds, especially school going children, to participate in various activities to be held during the camp that is not limited to just outdoor exercises but also learning values and teachings of Sikhism, inspiring young minds to take leadership roles and spend an eventful summer making new friends.

The theme for this year’s summer camp is exploring Guru Nanak Dev Ji's journey and teachings of three pillars of Sikhism that is kirat karna, naam japna, vand chhakna.

The objectives set for the summer camp is to imbibe those teachings and values of Guru Nanak into daily working life and in individuals of all age groups. The organisers, volunteers, have prepared the programmes that will facilitate leadership skills in young Sikhs, support parents in strengthening their spirituality, empower parents in guiding their children to make safe, positive and healthy life choices. The goals are also to connect with the broader communities and understand the importance of saadh sangat.

Some of the outdoor activities include Burma trail, archery, glow-worm walk, in-house activities debate on current issues with Sikh community, kirtan and music, and sessions on leadership etc.

To facilitate different activities, two mentors are travelling from overseas to conduct separate programmes and sessions. Coming from India, Avneet Kaur will focus on teaching and educating the participants the basics of Sikhism and Gurpreet Singh from the USA to facilitate and enlighten them with his knowledge in the religion and share his experiences.

Avneet Kaur has over a decade of experience in presenting and interacting with diverse audiences between 6-60 years. She has conceptualised BLISS, committed to helping people through a holistic healing process. She is on the mission to Heal the World - One Soul at a time with Guru as the medicine.

Gurpreet Singh from the USA is a senior professional in the corporate world with an MBA from a world-ranked university. He has extensive experience conducting inspirational and interactive sessions at Sikh youth camps in USA and India. He is passionate about Gurmat Sangeet and spreading the light of Sikhism to the next generation effectively.

“We welcome participants to come and get immersed in our Guru’s teachings, in a positive and encouraging environment with local and international facilitators; make new friends, lasting memories; and fun & outdoor activities that Carey Park campsite has to offer,” one of the convenors of this camp from SYNZ, Navjot Singh Gulati said.

The camp will run from Friday, January 24 to Monday, January 27 at Auckland Carey Park in Waitakere, West Auckland.

Besides organising the summer camp, which is one of the most significant annual activities of SYNZ, the community organisation also conducts Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen every last Saturday of the month, Auckland Turban Day at Aotea Square in Auckland CBD and Youth Diwan, a celebration of local and regional talents who praise the teachings of Sikh Gurus.

The Auckland Turban Day is one of the most popular and renowned local events in the city where more than 500 people turn up to try a turban and understand more about the values and teachings of Sikhism. The aim is also to create awareness about the turban, which is often subjected to bullying, discrimination and racism by some and tell its significance.

“The Youth Diwan in 2017, 2018, and 2019 was a prestigious celebration of local and regional talent where non-professional jathas (bands) commemorated the greatest gift granted by our gurus – to be able to sing the praises of the akaal Purakh in saadh sangat,” Mr Singh added.