Surrey cadet corps funded by Sikh community to raise its flag on Thursday

Published: March 13, 2013
Harbinder Singh Sewak and Major Jim Blomme

Harbinder Singh Sewak, chair of The Friends of the Sikh Cadet Corps Society, is congratulated by commanding officer Major Jim Blomme in Surrey on March 13, 2013. Submitted photo

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Only two months into Surrey’s newest cadet corps, Dr. Pargat Singh Bhurji can see his 12-year-old son growing into a fine young man.

“He listens more to us than before,” said Bhurji, chair of the corps’ parent sponsoring committee.

“Two months — if he goes another six years, this guy will be so sensible, mature and respectful.”

His son is one of 60 new members of the 3300 B.C. Regiment Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps (RCACC) — the first-ever corps funded by a Sikh community group, The Friends of the Sikh Cadet Corps Society.

Their cadet program officially started in January, but the inaugural flag ceremony is Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Surrey’s Bombay Banquet Hall on 135 Street.

But it wasn’t an easy start for the 3300 RCACC.

“(Today) is a culmination of at least two-and-half years of behind-the-scenes work,” said Harbinder Singh Sewak, chair of The Friends of the Sikh Cadet Corps Society.

Sewak met his biggest setback in October over the cadet corps’ proposed name, “Surrey Sikhs.” The Department of National Defence wouldn’t approve it because they said it was not inclusive of all youths aged 12-18 and might deter non-Sikhs from joining.

So they put the issue aside and settled on the temporary name 3300 RCACC, so the program could get rolling.

They needed to look at “the real picture for our youth,” said Bhurji.

With gang violence and recent murders in Surrey, the community needed a positive program like this, he said.

“Kids coming out of the cadet program, they are good citizens, they have value-based training,” said Bhurji. “These kids then, they can change the world around them.

“In two months I have seen kids’ self-esteem going up, their courage, their discipline has improved.”

The corps’ commanding officer, Major Jim Blomme CD, agrees.

“They’ve actually come a long way in two months,” Blomme said. “We’re slowly getting them working together as a team.”

The corps also marks a “giant leap for the Sikh community,” said Sewak.

“It’s such a historic moment that a community-based cadet corps has been formed,” he said. “We never had something community-based like this before.”

“We had a lot of temple-based or school-based activities, and I think this is important because it is part of the National Defence — and a lot of Sikhs resonate with the military tradition.”

Sewak has been fielding inquiries from people in other cities like Abbotsford, Calgary and Toronto who would like to establish similar programs.

“Everything that we are doing is creating a new blueprint,” said Sewak.

“This is a very historic moment — this will be written in golden words in Sikh and Canadian history,” added Bhurji.

As for the corps name, community groups will be meeting in the coming months to come up with ideas to submit to DND.

According to Sewak, the name will reflect the Sikh community, but will also be universal to Canada. They’re considering the names of Sikh warriors, personalities and events.

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute


Tags: ,





Featured

bully

Video of Sikh boy being bullied, called ‘terrorist’ on school bus goes viral (w/ video)

VANCOUVER DESI A video of a young Sikh student in the U.S. being bullied and called a “terrorist” by a group of children on a…
Continue Reading »

vaccinate

Pakistani police arrest hundreds of parents for refusing to vaccinate their kids against polio

RIAZ KHAN THE ASSOCIATED PRESS PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Hundreds of parents in northwest Pakistan were arrested and jailed on charges of endangering public security after…
Continue Reading »

Aliya

Indian family struggles to feed 41-pound baby addicted to curry (w/ video)

VANCOUVER DESI An Indian family is struggling to make ends meet and feed its 10-month-old baby who weighs an “astonishing” 41 pounds – making her…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Flowers, cards for owners of Manitoba convenience store beaten by man

THE CANADIAN PRESS BEAUSEJOUR, Man. — Owners of a convenience store in Manitoba who were beaten by a customer are seeing an outpouring of support….
Continue Reading »

Canadian men pleased Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh jailed in Nepal for abuse of child

By Michael Tutton THE CANADIAN PRESS HALIFAX — Two men who testified against Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh say his conviction in Nepal for the sexual abuse…
Continue Reading »

Canadian men pleased Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh jailed in Nepal for abuse of child

By Michael Tutton THE CANADIAN PRESS HALIFAX — Two men who testified against Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh say his conviction in Nepal for sexual assault of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Hands Against Racism

Hands Against Racism: Send us a selfie and make a statement against racism (with video)

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi’s digital anti-racism campaign, Raise Your Hands Against Racism, officially kicked off Thursday, with people across the Lower Mainland sending in selfies…
Continue Reading »

triplets

U.S. mom with 2 kids celebrates one-month birthdays of rare identical triplet boys (with photos)

COREY WILLIAMS THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. – A suburban Detroit couple who have two older children are adjusting to life after becoming…
Continue Reading »

File photo: An Indian Muslim bride, her hands decorated with henna, attends a mass wedding organized by a social service organization in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool

Groom dumped by bride-to-be for a wedding guest accuses her of drugging him before ceremony

VANCOUVER DESI A 25-year-old Indian groom who was dumped by his bride-to-be for a wedding guest after he suffered an alleged seizure has accused his…
Continue Reading »

bikram

Vancouver woman sues hot yoga guru Bikram Choudhury for sexual assault

SUSAN LAZARUK VANCOUVER DESI A Vancouver woman is claiming the leader of one of B.C.’s largest yoga chains repeatedly sexually assaulted and coerced her over…
Continue Reading »

murder plot-Pakistan-love triangle

U.S. man convicted of setting up fatal shooting of Pakistani wife while walking with young son

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MORRISTOWN, N.J. — A man was convicted Thursday of setting up the fatal shooting of his Pakistan-born wife while the couple was…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to perform a song and dance number in promo video for Jazbaa

HINDUSTAN TIMES Since Aishwarya Rai Bachcha’s comeback film doesn’t involve a song and dance number, the Bollywood star has decided to come up with a…
Continue Reading »

This image released by Fox Searchlight Films shows Lillete Dubey, left, and Richard Gere in a scene from "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight Films, Laurie Sparham)

Film Review: Despite a classy cast, Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel lives up to its title

JOCELYN NOVECK THE ASSOCIATED PRESS If you’re going to do a movie sequel that doesn’t quite measure up to the original and seems rather hurriedly…
Continue Reading »

Ranbir Kapoor-sports

Ranbir Kapoor abruptly ends conference when pressed about Katrina Kaif

HINDUSTAN TIMES Ranbir Kapoor made an abrupt exit at a press conference after he was continually pressed about his rumoured relationship with fellow Bollywood actress…
Continue Reading »