Sikh Scout recognized for community contributions in East Brunswick

Karman Singh-Gill, a member of East Brunswick's Cub Scout Pack 501, receives his Sikh Emblem award.

EAST BRUNSWICK – In January, Karman Singh-Gill, a member of Cub Scout Pack 501, received his Sikh Religious Emblem. The award is reserved for scouts who complete specific coursework and pass an interview with the American Sikh Council.

Since kindergarten, Karman has actively participated in the scouts, building up an impressive resume of accomplishments along the way.

“Karman, a Sikh Scout, is no different than any other scout except that he covers his uncut hair with a patka (mini turban). As a Sikh he is supposed to stand out so anyone who needs help can easily recognize him. … Sikh Scouts are allowed to wear traditional turbans as part of the scout uniform,” said his mother, Roopreet Dovey Sawhney-Gill.

Currently in fourth grade, Sawhney-Gill said her son has earned many trophies, patches, pins and ranks in the scouts. But most importantly, she said he has learned how to become a more thoughtful and selfless person. Through different outreaches and projects, Karman, along with his fellow scouts, have learned the importance of community service.

“Scouts participate in many community service projects such as food drives for the local food pantry, bike drives, book drives, toiletries and a clothing drive for the Afghan refugees, also flag ceremonies to retire U.S. flags respectfully, park cleanups, and many more. Scouts earn their advancements by learning and having fun. … Scouting basically teaches the kids to be prepared,” she said.

According to Sawhney-Gill, the community-oriented approach of the scouts shares similar principles with Sikhism.

“The Scout Oath and Scout Law blend seamlessly with the Sikh belief system. The focus on giving back to your community goes hand-in-hand with the Sikh teachings that prescribe ‘serving humanity through completely selfless service.’

“Basic principles of Sikhism are: Remember God at all times, earn an honest living, do good deeds and share with others. These principles go along with the scout law and a scout is expected to live up to those each day,” she said.

As a new member coordinator and den leader for Webelos, a den within Pack 501, Sawhney-Gill explained the scouts are open to boys and girls from kindergarten to fifth grade.

“Irrespective of where they live, any prospective family can sign up their child,” she said.

As a mother, Sawhney-Gill said she believes the scouts develop well-rounded children and provides parents with an opportunity to bond with their kids.

“A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. … Parents and children who work through the adventures together can get more quality time together while learning and having fun,” she said.

For more information on the Sikh Scouts, visit

To register for the scouts, visit

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