Junior Youth Program
The Junior Youth Program brings together junior youth (age 12 to 14) from diverse backgrounds in small groups of 5 to 15 members and offers them a setting in which young people can discuss ideas and form a strong moral identity. The basic premise behind the program is the belief that junior youth are capable of thinking deeply about the world and their place within it and that they need an environment that gives them support and encouragement. The program has three interconnected components, described below.
Developing the Power of Expression
The program enables youth to develop their powers of expression - with a focus on critical reasoning, literacy, comprehension and eloquent speech – in order to participate more effectively in the planning, decision-making and development of their communities.
Developing Human Potential
Junior youth groups are accompanied by trained animators to work with materials developed by various organizations around the world designed specifically to develop language skills and the power of expression. Some materials address mathematical concepts and social issues, while others seek to prepare young people to approach the investigation of physical, social and spiritual reality in a scientific manner. Though the moral concepts in the materials are drawn from the Bahá’í teachings, they are not religious in nature, nor do they treat subjects that are specifically Bahá’í. The short stories impart essential moral concepts and build certain attitudes that underlie the decisions and guide the actions of junior youth as they mature into young adults. Many kinds of organizations, including public and private schools find them useful for their educational programs with junior youth. The current titles of these materials are:
- Breezes of Confirmation
- Glimmerings of Hope
- Walking the Straight Path
- Thinking About Numbers
- Learning About Excellence
- Observation and Insight
- The Human Temple
- Drawing on the Power of the Word
Service to the Community
Service is a critical component of the program as the animators help groups analyze the needs of their community and, through consultation, design, carry out and evaluate service projects that help address those needs. Between the ages of 12 to 14, they can support a children’s class teacher and help them in their activities as well they will organize activities for their communities that are important to them, whether it be cleaning their neighborhood, do community gardening, have arts night, visit senior homes, shovel driveways, etc. Service activities are very broad because they are based on the suggestions and interests of the pre-youth in the class. Therefore, these service activities may differ from group to group and from community to community.