We are very honored to share some excerpts from this article in a recent cluster newsletter of Monterey County, CA (A). It is an interview with a youth who is serving as a home-front pioneer to this and two other nearby clusters. Two concepts really stand out in this joyous conversation. First, with a dedicated group, it is possible to do so much more than can be done by lots of individuals working in isolation. Second, the older and younger generations can encourage each other and work together to support each other’s efforts. Here is the interview! (By the way, how many people does it take to support a children’s class . . . remember that question?)
Q: How did you hear about the opportunity to become a home-front pioneer in this area?
A: The Auxiliary Board member called me and brought up the idea of home-front pioneering into a cluster in California. I was humbled to even receive the offer from him . . . Already the learning has been incredible and it’s been a blessing to get to know all these wonderful people and learn more about the Cause. . . .
Q: How did going through the sequence of training institute courses prepare you for the work you’re doing?
A: To be in the field, putting the knowledge into practice really makes you appreciate the depth of the Ruhi [curricula] . . . it’s becoming apparent that the books function as a way to systematically get people working together in acts of service.
Q: What other experiences have you had that prepared you for your service?
A: I used to be in the East Bay cluster. After a cluster reflection meeting, we energized a group of believers around the idea of forming a junior youth group. This group consisted of 5 to 6 dedicated individuals. Once this happened, the difference was indescribable. Although the junior youth group eventually became a children’s class, as that seemed to better suit the resources we had available, it was apparent that having this dedicated group supporting each other, with various levels of experiences was the key to sustaining an activity. This was largely because even when we didn’t achieve the results we originally desired, the group was able to adapt to the situation and formulate a new plan of action. We all felt as though we were going to continue serving and working together, regardless of what came in our way, we would learn and work past it. Nobody felt overwhelmed or overburdened, rather the sentiment was one of feeling blessed to be able to serve in such a joyous atmosphere . . . Diverse groups with a unity of purpose and a unity of vision, who proceed in a unified action can do nothing but progress.
Q: What is your view on the power of youth when it comes to service?
A: The youth are an incredible resource, with all kinds of energy and capacity. For us to not help them develop their spiritual capacities is to squander some of our most valuable resources. Rather than focus on trying to make them do things, we should figure out how they want to serve, help them feel supported in groups and emphasize their abilities.
Q: How can youth inspire older members of the community to identify where they are needed and encourage them into action?
A: The roles of the youth and the older Bahá’ís in the community are both of great importance and again, successes in other clusters in California have come from people in diverse age ranges working together with a common goal to serve. In Orange County, a friend said that for his junior youth group, led by a youth, there was an older Bahá’í who provided rides to some of the junior youth and also brought food. Other older Bahá’ís have offered their homes for service activities.
Q: Any additional comments you would like to share?
A: As communities grow united in their vision of the systems being upraised to support massive expansion and consolidation, Bahá’ís are becoming increasingly prepared for the advent of the new world civilization promised by Bahá’u’lláh.