Bahá’ís look upon junior youth - aged roughly 11 to 15 - with a sense of hope and optimism. They believe youths of this age are characterized by “an acute sense of justice, eagerness to learn about the universe and a desire to contribute to the construction of a better world.”
Starting from this viewpoint, Bahá’ís have created a junior youth spiritual empowerment program to help people of this age group develop their intellectual, moral and spiritual capacities.
While the junior youth program is inspired by Bahá’í spiritual principles, it is open to young people of all faiths. between the ages of 11 and 15. There is no religious indoctrination; rather the program's focus is to apply universal spiritual principles to the challenges faced by junior youth.
During junior youth classes, participants develop their powers of expression, their ability to solve problems and their capacity to be of service to humanity.
What happens in junior youth groups?
Participants develop these capacities through a combination of activities.
- The program seeks to create a warm social atmosphere in which junior youth feel welcomed, accepted and respected.
- Junior youth participate in the art, music, storytelling and cooperative games as both means of developing their power of a expression and ways to bond with others in the group.
- The participants read, reflect upon and discuss stories about junior youth from different parts of the world. In relating these stories to their own lives, they can think about how to apply the spiritual principles found within them to real-life problems.
- The junior youth come up with ideas for community service projects and carry them out themselves. In so doing, they develop their capacity to consult with others, solve problems and be of service to humanity.
- Older adolescents and young adults assist the junior youth as "JY animators," but it is the junior youth themselves who take the initiative in group projects.
As our friends at bahaiteachings.org state, the junior youth spiritual empowerment program is designed to help youths between the ages of 11 and 15 to "develop into focused, happy and productive teenagers and young adults."
For more information about how to join the program or become an animator in St. John's, call Robert at 709-221-1873