Strategies to advance the process of entry by troops cannot ignore children and junior youth, if the victories won in one generation are not to be lost with the passage of time. It is imperative, then, that at this point in the process of systematization of the teaching work, definite steps be taken to ensure that the vision of the community fully embraces its younger members. (The Universal House of Justice, 1999 Nov 26, Announcement of 12-month and 5-year plans)
The Great Sector 9 Baha’i Youth Gathering was PHAT! It was amazing how everything just seemed to fall right into place. Everybody who participated just seemed to come out of it so energized and full of ideas on teaching the Baha’i Faith. Also we ate a lot of pizza. 10 boxes full, at least. And watched crazy videos. And acted like heyvoons. No doubt you will see the pictures up soon; the above is a sample (and, admittedly, the nicest, most representative one I could drum up).
Seriously tho, the meeting was really something. Just seeing the youth working together and consulting together, so diligently and so sincerely, about ways to reach out to their friends and offer them a taste of what the Baha’i Faith is about was simply intoxicating. There were around 30 youth and junior youth, which is about the number we had expected. With the help of the Assistants to the Auxiliary Board and Junior Youth study circle animators, the whole day went smoothly and fluidly, without too much pressure and with just the right amount of zing and goofing off. Everyone I spoke to so far enjoyed the experience and several were clamoring for more events like this. Afterwards, many of us attended the always-interesting Howden fireside – the underrated Brian Braithwaite M.D. gave us an engaging talk on using our potential for service to humanity. All in all, a day (and a night) well spent.
Today’s gathering was Ottawa’s first large-scale “planning party”, a gathering meant to help guide participants through the process of reflection, consultation and action in a Baha’i teaching campaign, and the first one aimed at youth and junior youth. What does this mean? It means that the youth are more freakin plugged in to the plan than all of you adults out there. Be warned. The youth are taking over and are gonna blow up your spot. WORD. Holla!
A couple more random comments: As these young heroes were walking the path of spiritual transformation with us this afternoon, Pope John Paul II, away in an apartment in Rome (or the Vatican?) passed on to the limitless worlds of God. Being a Baha’i, I don’t have any particular attachment to clergy (the Baha’i Faith has no clergy and promotes individual investigation of reality and a personal search for God). Still, having been educated partly in Catholic schools, I learned to appreciate, at the least, the role of the head of the Catholic Faith. Besides which, I know sorrow, anguish and bewilderment when I see it. What would you do, how would you feel if the man you regarded as your spiritual Father, the man who provided you with spiritual leadership and direction, were to pass from this life? All any of us can do, really, is offer prayers and comfort – so please accept mine. This, too, shall pass.