Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Thoughts on Animating a Junior Youth Group

Here, one youth from the Lower Maine/New Hampshire (A) cluster, who serves as an animator of a junior youth group reflects on his experiences, some of the challenges he has faced, and some of the strategies he has found successful.

“I don’t even know where to begin. We have 6 participants, all of which have at least one Baha’i parent. … The Baha’i Faith is very new to a couple of them as well, so this is one of their first Baha’i experiences. We still don’t have regular attendance from everyone, but it is the summer and there is a lot going on with some people. We will be much more regular about everything in the fall, I am sure.

Another Baha’i has been coming when he’s not working, and he is a great help. I definitely agree that it is better to have 2 co-animators. The plan is that someone else is going to be the co-animator soon. At each meeting we say some prayers, go through about one lesson in the book, and then one person each time shares with us a science or an art that they are interested in (music, a craft, drawings..) We all do it if applicable.

We decided it is best to do that at the end because it is a way to ease into the social portion. We usually have some sort of snack after. I think it is important to not make the junior youth feel like you are the teacher and that you are superior to them. I always include them in decision making and ask their input. I also read and answer questions while doing the lessons.

An issue that we have is getting side tracked and going on tangents. People often make random comments that slow us down while doing the lessons, so I think I am going to tell them to save their comments for the social portion unless they are relevant to the discussion. I also often read stories from Vignettes that relate to the themes in the book. Just one short story each time I think is a good idea.

I am also going to bring other quotes in that relate to problems we are having or maybe themes in the book, and suggest that they can memorize them. To make a long story short, everything is going well and getting better all the time and it will always be a learning process. My advice to people is to just do it and you will definitely be assisted and feel the “breezes of confirmation.”


Anonymous said...

This was really helpful. I will be animating a Junior Youth Group starting this week and I needed some ideas.

Anonymous said...

Hi, i know the post has been there along time but this was really great. i am starting my JY today and i have done this before but still am abit confused again on how to start.