Nearly 30 young Sikh activists came together earlier this month for Adhaara 2012: Vision 2015. Adhhara is a word that comes from Gurbani that means 'support.' It has multiple contexts that are applicable to us. From the Mundavni of the 5th Nanak in Rehraas, we learn that in this thaal (Guru Granth Sahib) along with three other components (truth, contentment, and reflection) is Naam. Waheguru (Thakur) has placed this Naam that gives adhhaar (support) to all. The third Nanak, Guru Amardas, challenges us that seva is the very breath that gives adhhara (support) to the Gurmukh. And the fifth Nanak, Guru Arjan, reminds us that it is in the Sangat (community) that one obtains adhhaara (support).
In this light, the Jakara Movement held the first annual Adhaara Retreat. Set in beautiful Big Bear, participants from San Jose to Los Angeles (and everything in between) arrived well into the evening. Despite fatigue from traffic and motion sickness, everyone was ready for the first workshop. The evenings workshops started off with a discussion of understanding “why” each participant chooses to volunteer and why the organization itself takes on the issues it does. From there the conversation moved towards leadership – the strength of the collective leadership (and its importance in Sikhi) were highlighted. The workshop closed with the presentation of the new chapter structure and its role in the movement.
Saturday morning the nerves and excitement were high! The day was spent with Lodestone Adventures, an organization that works with groups on team building, trust exercises and self-discovery challenges. The first half of the morning focused on the team and working on a challenge together. The group was led through trust-building (and testing!) exercises and physical challenges. After a serene lunch by the lake, each individual was challenged. Participants climbed up cargo nets, across wires and jumped off trees. Fears were confronted (you heard a lot of Simran from climbers), and perseverance tested. Screaming, laughter, tears and hugs aside, the day gave participants a chance to look within and at each other.
The weekend closed with dinner and the debut of the Jakara Movement’s multi-level board system – the Levels of Involvement.
Throughout the weekend participants looked within and to each other for their support. By understanding themselves and each other the value of team work and trusting themselves was appreciated. A space for bonding, reflection and learning, the Jakara Movement sevadars left inspired and ready to make a difference in their communities.