An animator in Carrboro, NC shares about her group’s first meeting:
"We gathered everyone outside at a picnic table. We had about 6 or 7 junior youth. The first question we asked was “what is everyone’s understanding of what a junior youth group is?” They had a basic idea because we had previously done home visits with each of their families when we went around the neighborhood to invite all the neighbors to the group. During the home visits we had focused our conversations on how the group would empower us serve our communities, develop our power of expression and our spiritual perception. We had a big poster and wrote out what people said in relation to the group’s purpose, goals, and activities they wanted to do. This led to a conversation about the definition of spiritual and intellectual excellence and we talked about what it would look like if we progressed in each of these dimensions.
The next thing that we talked about was service. We asked what the meaning of service was and we discussed the needs they saw in the community. They thought of a few projects they wanted to do in the neighborhood. We also talked about how in order to accomplish these projects they would need to rely on their powers of expression and spiritual perception. For example, one service project was to make a community newsletter that recorded stories of people who lived in the neighborhood carrying out courageous acts. We talked about how we would need spiritual perception to recognize when an act was courageous. We would be using our power of expression to describe exactly what about the acts made them courageous and drawing on writing and analysis skills in creating the newsletter. They each thought of one potential service project individually and then we went around in a circle and shared. Next, we memorized the quote, “Let each morn be better than it’s eve, and each morrow richer than its yesterday.”
The next week we started with [the first book, called] Breezes of Confirmation. We first read the introduction and discussed that we would really just follow the instructions of the books. So we split into pairs to read and write individually just as the text asks of us. Because we set the standard of studying the book this way it really helped them to engage in the study for the rest of our lessons. Also to help them follow the story we had them draw character trees of each of the characters we were doing on a white poster board.
We also had a conversation about the kinds of complementary activities and healthy recreation they liked. They said they loved games, drawing, painting and other visual arts. We had one of the junior youth teach us some of the movement games she had learned in her drama class at school."