For anyone who’s ever felt a little discouraged when their efforts don’t seem to achieve results, here is something that will surely lift your spirits. As these animators of a junior youth group in Fort Collins, CO (A), found out: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. What dedication! What steadfastness! What reliance and faith in Bahá’u’lláh! Well, that’s what the animators used; their first two participants did the rest.
Despite our best efforts, our junior youth group in Fort Collins got off to an unexpected slow start. After meeting with a few junior youth and their parents in the close-knit community, the animators of the group attempted to hold the first meeting the following day at the community’s club house. Waiting with great anticipation, nobody showed up. But determined to hold our first meeting, we revisited the homes we visited the day before. We were unsuccessful in finding anyone interested. . . .
Trying to figure out what we did wrong, I was reminded by my co-animator that we need to be detached from the results and put in our best efforts and Bahá’u’lláh would do the rest. A few weeks later, revitalized and determined, we once again visited with junior youth in the community and their parents, further explaining the group and inviting them to come the next day. We felt better about our meetings this time around and once again we waited at the clubhouse with great anticipation. Fifteen minutes after our planned meeting time, nobody had showed up and the feeling of discouragement had started to settle in once again. One of the animators suggested that we give it one last shot to revisit the houses, but this time we focused on remembering to be detached from the results. Two animators decided to stay at the meeting venue while the other two headed off to visit people.
As soon as we started walking towards our first residence, we were hesitantly approached by two junior youth aged girls. I was reluctant to think they had come for the junior youth group because they were not anyone I recognized from the previous day’s visits. They kept walking towards us and one of them asked, “Are you doing the youth group?” I couldn’t believe it! These were our first two participants! And what Junior Youth they were. We invited them to come with us to invite more kids their age. Willingly they accepted, and just a half hour later and a few rounds of the neighborhood, there were 10 kids walking with us towards the clubhouse. You should’ve seen the look on the two animators’ faces as all the kids walked up!
Astonished, we gathered the ten kids aged 10-16 (and one 6 year-old sibling who we just couldn’t turn down when he asked, “Can I come too?”). We sat in the circle and introduced ourselves and the idea of the junior youth group. The group dynamic was better than we could’ve ever imagined. The youth were happily participating in discussion and team-building games. We even had two more youth join us that had seen the group while riding their bikes. Feeling blessed we thanked the youth for coming and invited them to come back the following week and to invite their friends.
Since that first meeting, we’ve had three more meetings with a total of 18 different junior youth aged 10-16, an average of about 12 youth showing up at each group, with new faces showing up each week. This week we will be embarking on our first community service project, gathering sunflowers from a local friend’s garden and delivering them to some of the elderly in the community. The week after, we plan to start our first lesson in Breezes of Confirmation.
We always hoped for a group like this, but realized that it can only be achieved through our best efforts and being detached from the results, leaving the rest in Bahá’u’lláh’s hands. Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá!