Sikh Youth Symposium 2023: local level edition held at Cincinnati, Ohio

Team Parvasi – Inside

Sikh Youth Symposium 2023: local level edition held at Cincinnati, Ohio
Ohio, USA: The local level edition of the annual Sikh Youth Symposium 2023, a public speaking competition under the aegis of Sikh Youth Alliance of North America (SYANA) was organized at Guru Nanak Society of Greater Cincinnati Gurdwara Sahib in Cincinnati, Ohio. Youth between the ages of 6 and 20 years from Cincinnati and neighboring Dayton, participated in 5 separate age groups.

Sharing the information regarding the event, the local convener for the Symposium Sameep Singh Gumtala, said that the participating youth are divided into 5 different age groups. Each group is given a book 3 months in advance and the participants have to answer the 3 questions given to them in the form of a speech for 5-7 minutes.

This year first group was given the book, “Basic knowledge of Sikhism”, second “Sikh Sakhis for the Youth”, third “The Turban”, and the fourth “Guru Granth Sahib – A Supreme Treasure”. The program started with the recital of Ardas and Hukumnama. Harjinder Singh, who earlier volunteered as local convener since 2006, while speaking to the participating youth, family and community members said that the Symposium provides youth with a platform to learn and reflect on many topics, starting from the basics of Sikhi to an in-depth study of Gurbani.

It encourages youth to reconnect with the foundations and roots of Sikh faith. The objective is to provide an environment where Sikh youth can develop public speaking, oral and written communication skills. Sikh youth can learn the skills of public speaking along with delving into Sikh history and philosophy. On this occasion, his son Jaipal Singh was also remembered who taught and mentored the Sikh youth in the community year after year selflessly and with utmost devotion.

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Continuing with the tradition, weekly classes were held at the Gurdwara Sahib. During these classes, students engaged in discussions and activities relating to the skill of public speaking and various Gurmat concepts. All symposium participants and group coaches attended these weekly classes.

All the participants put in a tremendous amount of effort to prepare speeches for the final day. Many of the younger entrants were amazing considering that it was their first time.

Each question carried 20 points and rest of 40 marks out of 100 total were allotted for style, eye contact, voice, pronunciation, effectiveness, and delivery. All the participating youth were awarded trophies and books including “Fauja Singh Keeps Going”, “The Garden of Peace”, Why Am I Here”, which were well liked by them. The winner from each group will participate in the State level symposium with winners from other cities in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Gyani Amrik Singh, Head Granthi of the Gurdwara Sahib thanked all the students, parents, volunteers, and Sewadar Committee members for making this event a success. The Sewadar Committee assured full support for organizing such events for children and youth in the future.

According to Kuldeep Singh, national convener of the Symposium and SYANA, since the year 2000, every year in the month of March-April, these competitions are conducted in different cities of USA & Canada, then at the State level followed by the final International Symposium in the first week of August. Winners of state level symposiums participate in the finals. The US and Canada are divided into 13 different regions.

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