Commonly asked questions about the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Programme
What is a ‘junior’ youth?
A junior youth, also commonly known as an adolescent, is aged 12–15.
What is the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Programme?
In recognising that 12–15 is a key transitional phase for many youth, the Junior Youth programme aims to help members establish an identity, work with each other to foster a positive peer group and develop a social conscience that will enable them to service the community. The programme is divided into three main areas: study, recreation and service.
- Study consists of reading through a series of books that present moral issues through stories and questions for discussion. These fables also help with reading comprehension and numeracy, and have been adopted in some countries as part of the school syllabus, making this activity an extension or complement to school, while also enhancing members’ moral and spiritual perception.
- Recreation consists of group-led activities that may range from sport and games to arts and crafts as decided by the members.
- Service consists of a change projects where the junior youth identify issues facing their community and work towards solving them. The objectives and scope of the projects are decided and acted upon by the group.
‘Spiritual’? Is this programme religious?
No, it is not a religious education programme. However, the material is Baha’i-inspired, which means that the books do mention God and do include prayers.
The youth do not need to be from a family of the Bahá’í Faith (most members are not) and there is no expectation that they become Bahá’í following the programme as there is no doctrine throughout.
Many members from other religions—Hinduism, Christianity, Islam— and non-religious backgrounds find that the programme complements their beliefs.
Junior youth and their families can preview of the books that will be studied in the group.
Who runs the programme?
Accredited* volunteers known as ‘animators’ run the programme. Animators can be as young as 15 (usually graduates of the programme), but many are adults, from university students to professionals. The animators’ job is to facilitate the programme through enabling the youth to undertake the activities using their own motivation and initiative.
* Accreditation is provided after participants undergo Child Protection training and pass a mandatory police check.
How often do the groups meet?
This is up to each group and largely on the availability and desire of the participants. Most groups meet at least once a week for several hours but others might meet several times a week and increase the time during school breaks.
Are there any costs involved?
It is free to attend junior youth groups. There may be incidental costs along the way with regard to social activities (going to the movies, for example) but in the interests of keeping the activities accessible to families of all incomes, these are kept to a minimum.
How do I find out more?
If you’re interested in finding out about junior youth groups near you, use our contact form to get in touch.