Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Programme
Arranging a programme for junior youth to engage in spiritual empowerment and education during summer school is relatively straightforward. Here are some tips to help you make a plan for your community’s junior youth.
NOTE: All children’s and junior youth activities must be supervised by individuals who have current child protection accreditation.
Please coordinate with organisers of the adult programme to synchronise scheduling, as appropriate.
Choose one junior youth text for your participants to complete during the 3-4 day period. It is best for junior youth to study the texts in order, starting with the entry level texts and then moving through Year 2 and Year 3 texts, but you are free to use your judgement. Consider participant age and complexity of the text.
This is the current suggested order of Bahá’í inspired junior youth texts:
- Breezes of Confirmation
- Wellspring of Joy
- Habits of an Orderly Mind
- Glimmerings of Hope
- Walking the Straight Path
- Learning About Excellence
- Thinking About Numbers
- Observation and Insight
- The Human Temple
- Drawing on the Power of the Word
You are also welcome to choose one of the texts which which explicitly explore Bahá’í teachings and are a continuation of Bahá’í children’s classes. Consult in your community about whether these texts will be appropriate and timely for your participants. They are:
- Spirit of Faith
- Power of the Holy Spirit
Most junior youth texts can be studied and completed within 3-4 days with joyful and disciplined focus. Plan your programme to include enough time for the junior youth to engage in focused study, memorisation, complementary activities and service, as well as recreation and relaxation time.
“If junior youth are to be empowered to take charge of their own development and contribute to the progress of their communities, they need to participate not only in the implementation of meaningful activities as a group but also in their formulation.
You will always be interested in discussing with other animators how you can motivate the youth to take part in the design and execution of activities that train their intellectual and spiritual faculties, help them express in practice some of their ideals through service, and reinforce their efforts to strive towards excellence.If employed imaginatively, complementary activities can serve to reinforce the lessons being learned by the junior youth in their study of the materials…you should not devise such activities on behalf of the junior youth, who will be eager to consult together and arrive at their own conclusions.”– Book 5: Releasing the Powers of Junior Youth, Unit 3
Unlike children’s classes, junior youth need to be actively involved in designing and running their own activities in the Junior Youth Programme. Appropriate activities that the animators can help the junior youth to implement include:
- Writing scripts and performing simple dramas
- Choosing newspaper articles and organising discussions around them
- Creating artistic pieces (illustrations, songs, poems, stories, sculptures, crafts) that express the values of the programme
- Carrying out service projects that beautify an area, educate or inspire locals, provide a solution to a social issue or relieve suffering in some way
Junior youth also enjoy running games, energisers, sports and other physical activities and should be encouraged and assisted to do so.
The best way to prepare for junior youth sessions is to…
- Be familiar with each lesson of the junior youth text
- Think of some activity ideas (just in case the junior youth have none)
- Have resources available (newspapers, art supplies, sports equipment)
- Help the junior youth to consult on the kinds of activities they wish to do
- Assist them in implementing their ideas
(These games are also displayed on the Children’s class page.)
Concept / vocabulary review
This is particularly useful when working with junior youth texts. The different words/phrases/concepts from recent lessons are written on slips of paper, and one of the following methods is chosen to use to review them. It’s good to vary the method used from session to session.
- Pictionary style – draw the concept/term; others guess
- Charades style – act out the concept/term; others guess
- Frozen scene – (Groups have a minute to think about how to portray the concept in a frozen tableau and then jump into position while the others guess)
- Triple guess – (In the first round, the terms are described; second round, the terms are acted out; third round, only one word can be given as a prompt
- Taboo style – (Teams are each given a few terms and create ‘Taboo’ style cards for these with a list of three or four words that can’t be used to describe the term. These cards are then given to another team who take turns to try to describe the word/phrase without using the forbidden words, e.g. Confirmation – wings, effort, assistance)
- Haiku – each team has two minutes to create a Haiku for a word and say it in chorus, and the other groups guess. This can be done over a few rounds.
- Reverse Charades – In a normal game of charades, one person from the group stands up and acts out a word or phrase while the rest of the team tries to guess. However, in reverse charades, it is flipped. One person (or a pair/panel of three) has to guess while the rest of the team must work together and act it out.
Junior Youth Text Summaries
Breezes of Confirmation Summary – Entry Level Text (Year 1)
Main theme: God confirms and assists us when we make an effort towards a noble goal.
Plot: Intro to Musonda
Plot: Cousin Rose arrives
Point: Introduction. Rose showed kindness to little boy.
Plot: Dinner. What should I be when I grow up? Want to serve others.
Point: Confirmation means God helps us
Plot: Bedtime chat. God gives each of us talents to use.
Point: Identify people’s talents
Plot: Chatting about fighting and preferring your brother to yourself.
Point: Selfless service and loving others
Plot: Chishimba shares his struggles
Point: Confirmation doesn’t mean no challenges. Work hard & trust God will help
Plot: Football match in neighbouring village
Point: The family is unified and serve one another
Plot: Musonda and Rose help at a health clinic
Point: This opportunity to serve and develop their talents is confirmation
Plot: M goes to special place to think
Point: Our lives should bear good fruit. The analogy of the little bird emphasises making an effort.
Plot: Godwin fixes Chishimba’s bicycle
Point: Godwin experiences confirmation – think about your talents
Plot: Godwin learns from Mr Chiyesu
Point: Example of confirmation – opportunities arise for service
Plot: Chishimba discusses solutions to his problems with the Mulengas
Point: Make an effort to receive confirmations
Plot: Chishimba thinks of a way to make money for school
Point: Doors open when you make a mighty effort toward a noble goal
Plot: Rose leaves
Point: Whatever we try, God will help us. Hope for the future!
- Drama where people experience confirmation in everyday situations
- Illustration of confirmation using the yellow bird analogy
- Painting using the metaphor of our lives bearing good fruit
- Make tiny sailboats or sail karts then blow so they move
Wellspring of Joy Summary – Entry Level Text (Year 1)
Main theme: The profound connection between joy, reliance on God and certitude. Also explores suffering, anxiety, sadness and challenges in life.
Plot: Saw Tu gets a low grade
Point: Intro to Saw Tu and his struggles
Plot: Saw Tu and his sister remember their old life
Point: Intro to Saw Tu’s family
Plot: Aunt and Uncle struggling to keep their restaurant
Point: Joy requires reliance on God and being certain of His love and power
Plot: Meeting about the neighbourhood’s economic problems
Point: Certainty in the power of unity and hope
Plot: Min Jau visits Saw Tu about the JY group
Point: A supportive group of friends can help us face challenges
Plot: The JY group are certain they are doing good
Point: Certainty in God’s assistance makes us firm and strong
Plot: Justin is moving away due to economic hardship
Point: Challenges continue to occur. Don’t lose trust in God.
Plot: Min Jau helps Saw Tu regain hope
Point: Seek light and turn our back on darkness. Be certain and you will become joyful.
Plot: Service project planting seeds
Point: Working in unity creates joy. Our certitude in God’s wisdom = wisdom for us
Plot: Celebration of the JY group with their families
Point: Sadness touches the surface, spiritual depths stay calm. Certainty brings joy!
- Mountain illustrations with quote “unmoving as a mountain”
- Decorative lanterns
- Shadow puppets
- Watercolour painting of ocean – rocky surface but depths are calm
- Newspaper articles discussion around global suffering and certitude
- Service project that brings joy to the downtrodden (volunteer at an animal shelter, make an inspiring publication then distribute it locally, visit lonely elderly people).
Observation and Insight Summary – Year 2 Text
Main theme: By observing physical and spiritual reality we can uncover truths such as what is needed in order to achieve enduring prosperity
Plot: Kalpana visits the village and meets inquisitive junior youth, Nanda
Point: Physical and spiritual light
Plot: Nanda observes leaves
Point: Classifying things
Plot: Nanda & Kalpana discuss plants
Point: Sight and observations
Plot: Nanda thinks under a tree
Point: The function of different things
Plot: Nanda questions her future
Point: Education for girls
Plot: Kalpana explains the mind’s function is to learn and develop
Point: The brain, the mind, perception and the soul
Plot: Nanda’s cousin will not get married due to dowry demands
Point: Tradition and change
Plot: Nanda and Ramnik talk change, ecology and improving our world
Plot: Nanda and Ramnik talk production and sustaining resources
Point: Sustainability & transformation
Plot: Nanda, Roshni and Ramnik discuss caste system
Point: Prejudice must be destroyed
Plot: Family discusses Nanda’s future education
Point: Education & work for community progress
- Observe nature (flowers, leaves, etc) and make displays
- Sketch items in nature
- Poems about the connectedness of the ecosystem
- Science experiments
- Drama around tradition and change