Consultation with youths whips up storm of action so camp can take place

October 25, 2019
Consultation with youths whips up storm of action so camp can take place

It was understandable there weren’t many advance sign-ups for a four-day regional capacity-building camp for young people to be held in Covington, Georgia, over Labor Day weekend. Hurricane Dorian was imminent, and no one knew where it would make landfall or how devastating its impact would be. 

The camp was designed to bring together young people from Georgia, South Carolina and Florida and strengthen their ability to foster community building where they live. But as Labor Day neared, few people had registered to participate, facilitate the camp’s sessions or provide service to keep it humming. 

Then, as the storm began to turn away from a direct hit on those states, a different kind of storm took over: the power of consultation. A team of Baha’is and friends “shared the situation” with youths in the region who had participated in previous camps and were learning in study circles how to initiate and sustain the core activities of community building.

Youths at a camp in Covington, Georgia, over Labor Day weekend gather in a devotional circle. Photo by Lisa Flynn

“It was suggested we say prayers, and immediately the youths began collaborating to visit those who had not yet registered for the camp,” according to team members. 

Junior youths enjoy getting out in the water at a summer camp in Covington, Georgia. Photo by Khadijih Gore

Explains Nabil Kleinhenz, who serves as secretary of the elected Regional Baha’i Council for the Southeastern States, that kind of youth outreach to friends “has been the primary mode of expanding the nucleus” of people engaged in the community-building process the past six months. 

The youths’ “friendship and their understanding of the purpose of the [training] institute process and the vision for the camps motivated them to make sure that their [friends’] families were visited and they got registered,” he says. 

“By the next day we had 39 confirmed youths and facilitators from neighborhoods in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida participating in the camp beginning that evening.” And phone calls streamed in confirming transportation for participants. 

The lesson team members take from this process? “When we turned the consultation over to the youth, they took ownership for the camp happening.” 

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