Dozens of young Sikhs from across California were in Bakersfield last Sunday to attend the Sikh Youth Symposium. The aim of the symposium was a public speaking competition. For the last 24 years this Annual Sikh Youth Symposium 2023, under the ages of Sikh youth was organized at Guru Angad Darbar, Bakersfield. Kids between the 6 and 22 years from California participated in 5 different categories. Sharing the information regarding the event, the convenor of the Symposium Dr Manbir Singh, said that each group has given different books 3 months in advance and the participants have to prepare a speech for 5-7 minutes. Books like The Turban, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, 1984, Sikh Sakhis related to Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Rehat Maryada. The symposium is to train our youth in an effort to express themselves properly, to explain things in a nice flow, and to become good speakers.
The program started with the recital of Ardas and Hukumnama. Ms Navjot Kaur, who earlier participated as a participant several years ago, 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 the Sikh faith. The objective is to provide an environment where Sikh youth can develop public speaking, oral, and written communication skills. A Sikh child can learn the skills of public speaking along with delving into Sikh history and philosophy.
All the participants put in a tremendous amount of effort to prepare speeches for the final day. Many of the younger participants were amazing considering that it was their first time. Each lecture have a certain time period and marks out of 100 total were allotted for style, eye contact, voice, pronunciation, effectiveness, and delivery. All the participating youth were awarded trophies and T-Shirts.
The name of the winners from group one was Sehaj Singh, group two – Amrita Kaur, group three – Gursharan Kaur and group fourth – Ishmeet Singh. Winners for this level will be participating in the National Level that is taking place in first week of August 2023 in Charlotte, a city in the state of North Carolina, USA.