Sunday, March 2, 2008

“My advice: Just do it!” – to reach Junior Youth

The friends in Lower Maine/New Hampshire cluster (A) share that it is best to just start a junior youth group, use the materials from the Book 5 animator training, and learn about the process. Here’s what they learned from one of the animators . . . .

I don't even know where to begin. We have 6 participants, all of which have at least 1 Bahá’í parent. The Bahá’í Faith was very new to a couple of them as well, so this is one of their first Bahá’í experiences. We still don't have regular attendance from everyone, but it is excusable because 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. L___ 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 to have 1 lead animator soon. What we do at each meeting is 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 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".

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