Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sixteen youth. Three states. Four days of Animator training.

The best part about this story? Youth, youth, youth. It’s so powerful to hear about how they overcame their fear and reluctance about doing home visits and then reading their own words about how much they appreciated the experience afterwards. It’s a lesson we could all learn. Keep it up, everybody!

Sixteen youth from three states completed a four-day intensive Animator training course in Lapwai, ID (C cluster). The youth completed Ruhi Book 5, studied the Dec 27, 2005 letter from the Universal House of Justice, studied two of the junior youth books, created lesson plans, did home visits in the area, and created an action plan to start their own junior youth groups.

Two key concepts learned through the study of Book 5 were that “whatever the nature of the cluster, it is imperative to pay close attention to children and junior youth everywhere … no attempt at community building can afford to ignore it,” and, that junior youth who are “accompanied for three years through a program that enhances their spiritual perception” represent a “vast reservoir of energy and talent that can be devoted to the advancement of spiritual and material civilization.” The most challenging of all the activities was doing home visits. Youth were not expecting it and were quite reluctant at first, but the facilitator from California insisted on the importance of learning how to conquer the fear of talking to friends and neighbors about the junior youth programs.Understanding the importance of the tutor accompanying the participants in their endeavors, the Idaho-based facilitator committed herself to visit each participant to help establish junior youth groups. Furthermore, the youth set up a network system to help each other.Here is what the youth gleaned from the training:

“Becoming spiritually involved.”

“Taking a great risk and using a great amount of confidence.”

“The home visits gave us a sense of what is possible, and that other people are open to the idea of change.”

“I am kind of frightened because I realize what a responsibility this is—its going to be a continuing process.”

“The Writings say that the youth are the spearhead or the tip of the arrow; a 14 year old shared his understanding that, we (youth) are the arrow head, the community at large is the shaft and the institutions the fletching, guiding our direction.”

“This weekend opened my eyes to equality of age groups.”

“It is sad that this is over, but I am happy that we are going to work on bringing entry by troops and contributing to the Five Year Plan.”

“I am so glad we did home-visits because it got me out of my comfortzone. At first I was quiet, nervous and confused, but the tutor was right there, and after a while I got into it.”

“This opened my eyes to new possibilities and now I understand the purpose of HOPE.”

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