published on sept 30th, 2018, 11:24pm
This past summer, I volunteered to be a junior counselor at Green Acre Bahá’í School in Eliot, Maine, for Camp Green Acre, a camp for middle school-aged children who were coming to learn more about the Bahá’í Faith and to meet new friends and enjoy each other. Throughout my week at Green Acre, I was responsible for bringing kids to various activities, making sure they were well fed, making sure they were safe, teaching them about the Faith, and ultimately, being a good and close friend to them, as well as a solid role model (I tried my best to fulfill that last one:)). Besides spending time with the campers, I also spent a day editing a music video that I and some of the other counselors made with the Digital Arts interest group at camp, (the kids were all asked to sign up for different groups that they were interested in, I was responsible for looking over the Digital Arts group along with some other counselors) that was made along the song Colors by Jason Derulo, written for the World Cup. Finally, when I wasn’t spending time with my and the rest of the campers, I was spending time with my co-counselors, many of which were youth that I had met before, but many were also new people I had never met before, and were so happy to meet and share amazing times with. I was so honored to spend a week of my time at Green Acre, and I can’t wait to go back and serve there again.
Over the summer, I volunteered Green Acre Baha’i School, a center of learning for Baha’i youth and children and a popular summer camp for Baha’is around the world. During my time there, I was a co-counselor for young children who were around ten years old, and my fellow counselors, the class teacher and I spent about five days teaching the kids about the meaning and the act of tolerance. Oftentimes we would read quotes from the prophet of the Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah, about tolerance, as well as quotes from other significant figures in the Baha’i Faith, such as Shoghi Effendi.
Through the time I was there, I made great friends with both my co-counselors and the children I was teaching. Sometimes I would sit with them during lunch, and we would talk about the class materials or just our lives in general. While I was there, I also met many long-lost friends, one of which was the class teacher I was working with who had taught me at Green Acre many years ago. It was wonderful to see her again and to catch up on all the time we hadn’t seen each other. As always though, the time I was in Green Acre quickly ran out, and before I knew it I had to leave. I was sad, but I made sure I would come back soon. Green Acre is such a wonderful place; it’s spiritually uplifting and it’s one of the best places to meet new friends and see old ones, and I can’t wait to go back and serve again.
I’m a new student this year in 9th grade, and participating in the Youth Philathropy and Intiative project was both a very rich learning experience and a wild roller coaster. My group and I spent weeks trying to find a non-profit to sponsor for the YPI competition, but unfortunately even though all of us reached out as far as we could, none of the organizations we contacted responded to us. Even though we couldn’t campaign, I learned quite a lot from this year’s YPI. I’ve been participating in acts of service all my life, and not many have been as rich as this in respect to gaining experience with working with people and organizations around you. We had to formally call each of the non-profits that we chose, something that I had never done before but I learned a great deal from. Watching my other groups work hard and collaborate with each other to campaign for their non-profit allowed to observe and enjoy the reward of the people who the non-profits were helping. Overall, I enjoyed participating in YPI, and even though I won’t be participating in it next year, I’m excited to see what new opportunities await the young students who will campaign for their future partners.