Welcome to the Junior Youth Empowerment Program web site for Guelph, Ontario and surrounding communities. The other pages of this site have information on the objectives, vision and purpose of the program. Please feel free to contact the program coordinator for our area at: coordinator@empowerjy.ca

The junior youth empowerment program is a community based initiative that strives to empower youth ages 11-14.

Among the young ones in the community are those known as junior youth, who represent a special group with special needs as they are somewhat in between childhood and youth when many changes are occurring within them.

As they enter this period of their lives their faculties of observation are broadened and deepened, their intelligent capacities are trained and awakened and the limitations and environments of childhood no longer restrict their energies and accomplishments

Along with this they become more vulnerable to the forces of their environments. From all sides, they are bombarded by images of who they are supposed to be and illusions of happiness coming only from material means.

The junior youth empowerment program looks to devote creative attention to involving the junior youth in programs of activity that will engage their interests, mold their capacities for service, involve them in social interactions with older youth and the employment of the arts in various forms through out the program.

The three main objectives of the junior youth empowerment program are the enhancement of their powers of expression, bettering their understanding of the implications of their thoughts and actions and empowering them to take charge to offer meaningful service projects to their community. Junior youth texts have been developed from various agencies around the world, specifically, for this program, and through these texts they explore various issues that are relevant to their current life experiences.

The junior youth groups are facilitated by an older youth from the community who is a true friend to the members of the group and can assist them in the development of their capacities. Those who perform such a function are known as the animators of junior youth groups. Their presence helps the members of each group to remain hopeful and convinced that they can protect themselves against the negative influences of a disintegrating society surrounding them. Animators assist junior youth to navigate through a crucial stage of their lives and to become empowered to direct their energies toward the advancement of civilization. Animators themselves are usually graduates of the program.

The program is offered and insured by the Bahá'í Training Institute of Ontario, and all animators are required to have up to date police checks.

This program is offered by the Bahá'í community, for anyone to participate in. Our animators and participants come from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, faiths and races.

Provided are selected testimonials from participants who have engaged in the Junior Youth Program in our region. These give a wonderful glimpse into the thoughts of a young individual.

Megan's Testimonial about the Junior Youth Camp:

"This camp changed my life for the better. When I first arrived, I was uncertain that I would make any friends or have any fun. But as soon as I walked in those doors, I was warmly greeted by the kind and caring camp councillors. They helped me learn lots of new things and I made some amazing friends on the way! I feel as though this camp has made me a better person, and changed the way I think about myself and others.

"I will use the lessons that I learnt here through my entire life and I hope that one day, I will be able to be the positive influence to others, which they were for me."

Nadim's Testimonial as a Graduate of the Junior Youth Empowerment Program:

"You know, the Junior Youth Empowerment Programme is what really helped me make a difference in places as small as my neighbourhood to as large as internationally. All activities, ranging from simples acts of service like a garbage clean up to more complex acts of service like creating a music video for an International Film Contest, have all derived inspiration from a single source: this programme. Throughout the years as a participant, the programme has given me a fresh perspective about everything in my life, my surroundings and the world. Furthermore, The Junior Youth Empowerment Programme has helped me gain confidence with talking about deeper concepts such as our higher nature and our lower nature with my friends, classmates and even large audiences."