Summer Youth Institute Camps 2023

Community Building Apr 27, 2023

Dear friends,

We are pleased to share the link for registration for the upcoming summer camps, which is now open, please register HERE and in order to prepare for welcoming large numbers of youth to Atlanta the registration deadline is May 21st.

Registration: Youth Summer of Service in Atlanta, June 9-18th, June 23-July 2nd, and July 7th-16th
The camps will be held in Atlanta at the Baha’i Unity Center, 2370 Wesley Chapel Rd, Decatur, GA 30035, for ages 15- 30. Registration deadline May 21st, 2023 The camps will begin on Friday evening with dinner at 6:30pm and registration will be between 7:30 and 8:30pm Lodging and all meals will be p…

For each of the camps there will be a weekend option. This option means that participants can register only for the weekend and must attend all sessions for the weekend.

New insights into the purpose of the institute and particularly the role of this generation in nurturing those younger than them, and contributing to meaningful social change, are among the most precious gifts of the series of camps from June to December, 2022. Building on these strengths the institute was able to reflect and set a goal for our region that will rely heavily on the support and accompaniment of youth across all four states, and yet we are confident in our ability to achieve it, which is the establishment of a basic junior youth programme or 5-10 junior youth groups with 50-100 participants in the clusters of Jackson, Mississippi, North Fulton, Gwinnett, and Metro Atlanta, Georgia and PeeDee, South Carolina.

In order to ensure as many young people as possible can participate, the Regional Institute Board is offering three different, ten-day camps, on the following dates.

  • June 9th-18th
  • June 23rd- July 2nd
  • July 7th-16th

The camps are overnight and housing is provided in Atlanta. Each one begins on Friday evening with dinner at 6:30 with registration opening at 7:30. The last day of each camp falls on a Sunday and the program finishes at 2:00 pm. Every day will begin at 8:30 with devotions, and then participants will move into their respective study circles. Books 1,2,3,4,5 and 7 will be offered and you are encouraged to register for the next book in your study of the sequence. Following lunch there will be time for recreation and afternoons will be spent in the field of service, engaging families, children, and junior youth in conversations and activities in neighborhoods or carrying out home visits to share prayers and deepening themes. Evenings will include reflection, stories, and art activities. As with previous camps, a field trip to historic sites in Atlanta that are connected to the social and spiritual legacy of the civil rights movements and previous generations' efforts to address social injustice will be part of the schedule.

Youth are invited to register for any one of these dates, or you are welcome to register and attend more than one camp. We would also like to invite families of the youth, and the youth themselves, to consult and prayerfully consider the possibility of giving a full-time, five week period of service to the region. We call to mind the following words of the Universal House of Justice, which remind institutes of their sacred charge, of releasing the potential of young people, and the request of the House of Justice that young people begin to view the institute in the “very same light”.

“Appreciating the effectiveness of the institute process, every follower of Bahá’u’lláh will feel a desire to contribute to its advancement in some way—not least, the Bahá’í youth. Institutes know well that releasing the potential possessed by young people is, for them, a sacred charge; we now ask that Bahá’í youth view the future development of the institute in the very same light. At the vanguard of a nine-year, community-wide endeavour to bring the institute to a higher level of functioning, we expect to see a broad movement of youth setting the standard. They should seize every opportunity—in their schools and universities, and in spaces dedicated to work, family, or social interaction—to encourage more and more souls to benefit from the institute’s programmes. Some youth will be able to devote a period of service—perhaps even successive years—to the provision of education, especially to those younger than themselves; for many, support for the institute’s activities will be an ever-present dimension of their lives throughout their own education and as they seek a livelihood from their calling in this world; but for none should it be anything less than a cherished commitment.” Universal House of Justice 30 December 2021

We are certain that among you, will be some whose circumstances allow them to devote a period of service this summer. We are eagerly anticipating welcoming each of you, whether for one camp or the full five weeks.

Attached to this email and also the registration form is the Spirit of Excellence which every participant and their family is encouraged to study. Groups of youth attending from the same community will also be encouraged and assisted by coordinators and Auxiliary Board members to study and reflect on the document as part of their preparation for the camp.

On a final note, the costs of the camps are subsidized by the Regional Training Institute Board. The remaining cost is $50, which is applied towards room and board for the 10 days of the camp. Financial assistance is available for those who are unable to pay the fee and/or travel costs on their own, helping to ensure that financial obstacles are not a barrier for participation in the camp. Once you register, a member of the coordinating team will reach out to you to share more details on registration payment and support.

With loving greetings,

Natalie Colbert

Secretary of the Regional Institute Board of Southeastern States