Junior Youth Groups
Falling between the ages of 12 and 15 and representing a transition from childhood to youth, young adolescents—referred to as “junior youth”—experience rapid physical, intellectual, and emotional changes. Their spiritual powers expand. A new level of awareness fosters in them an increased interest in profound questions and in their talents and abilities. During this short and critical three-year period, ideas about the individual and society that may very well shape the rest of their lives are formed. However, delight at these new powers is often combined with feelings of worry, discomfort, and doubt that may produce contradictions in behaviour. Directing their new abilities towards selfless service to humanity is therefore needed at this age.
Some views of junior youth do not cast this period of life in a positive light. Popular views, for instance, regard this age as full of confusion and crises. Such thoughts foster conditions in which undesirable patterns of behaviour are spread. A proper understanding of this age is that of selfless young people with “an acute sense of justice, eagerness to learn about the universe and a desire to contribute to the construction of a better world”. The negative traits they sometimes show are certainly not intrinsic to this stage in human life.
The key issue to consider then is what the sources of unacceptable patterns of behaviour are that sometimes characterize some junior youth. Two factors require particularly careful thought in this regard. First, the effect of negative social forces on many communities has led to the spread of various social ills that have great influence on how young people view themselves and society. Second, junior youth are heavily affected by the behaviour of adults towards them. Although at this age they are gaining insights into many profound matters, adults sometimes insist on treating them like children. In addition, the difference in words and actions that some adults at times exhibit can be a source of confusion to young people who are looking for standards by which to shape their lives.
Stressing the effect of negative social forces on junior youth does not imply that young people are basically fragile. They can, with help, face these forces. They can develop the powers of the soul and mind that not only enable them to transcend such challenges but also make them contributors to building a new society.
To this end Training Institutes have attached special importance to its work with youth aged 12 to 15; specifically, it has sought to understand the dynamics of maintaining small groups in local communities that offer a setting in which young people can discuss ideas and form a strong moral identity.
The spiritual empowerment program is offered to junior youth in small groups, usually formed in a village or neighborhood by an older youth. The Ruhi Institute is developing a series of branch courses, beginning with Book 5 in its main sequence, to prepare older youth and adults to serve as “animators” of such groups.
For more information about various youth activities conducted throughout Tucson that are not publically posted, or to get involved in any capacity, please call 520-838-1293 or contact us via email by visiting our Contact Page.
Emerge Program for Youth & Junior Youth
Contact Ruha Temlock for details (520-584-8101, firstname.lastname@example.org).