"Indeed, one of the important functions of a Regional Convention, at which the delegates are elected, is for the delegates to consult with the believers present so that they may be familiar with their views and interests in preparation for their own participation at the National Convention."
Written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, October 26, 1983
It’s that time again, unit convention. I’m really thinking about the children’s program. I’m responsible this year.
Below are some points that were copied and pasted from other sources. A little information-refresher for our the team and we’re sharing with you all. Happy voting and mingling with the friends in your area.
US Unit Convention Planning Guide (you'll need to log in for this site):
- "Unit conventions can be organized to provide a meaningful, positive Bahá’í experience for the attending youth and children."
- "The planning team should appoint a coordinator who will prepare a separate youth and children’s program that can be scheduled to coincide with that of the convention."
- "This program should support the purpose and spirit of the convention, and encourage increased attendance by parents."
Children's Class Resources
The children's program at unit convention could "draw inspiration and courage from the sacrifices" of The Báb and His followers, especially as we are about to celebrate the Twin Holy Birthdays of the Báb (November 8th at sunset) and Bahá'u'lláh (starting at sunset on November 9th this year). And we are about to start the special year leading up to the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of the Báb next year on October 28, 2019 at sunset.
"In this year’s Riḍván message, the House of Justice referred to the heroism of the Báb and His followers, the stirring accounts of whose lives are sure to be revisited and retold in the coming months. In keeping with the overall approach to this bicentenary, it will be important to reflect on the purpose of calling to mind these remarkable narratives, which possess a merit far beyond an exploration of history. They enable the friends, who are occupied with responding to the needs of the Cause in this day, to draw inspiration and courage from the sacrifices of the dawn-breakers. They assist the company of believers to realize that, by consecrating themselves to the acts of service required in this age, they are emulating the noble qualities of their spiritual forebears."
The Universal House of Justice, July 19, 2018 letter on the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab
We are searching for many stories of His Holiness, the Báb and His followers, including Tahirih, Quddus, and Mulla Husayn in honor of the Twin Holy Birthdays coming this year starting at sunset on November 8th (The Birth of the Báb) and sunset on November 9th (the Birth of Bahá'u'lláh). We are also preparing something special for the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Báb coming next year, starting at sunset on October 28, 2019.
Many resources we have found are free of charge:
- The Dawn Breakers at reference.Bahai.org
- ruhi.org Institute course materials for children's classes
- supporting the core activities - for children's classes There are many activities for the Training Institute's Ruhi children's classes you can choose from here.
- core-curriculum There are many materials about The Báb for many different age groups here.
- teachers-toolbox (need to sign into the US Baha'i website for these materials)
- brilliant star magazine They have 22 printable pdf stories/activities available on their site about The Báb and more materials.
- enable me to grow
- Baha'i colouring pages
- mine rich in gems 19-day-feast-pages-for-kids 16 Issues of "19 Day Feast Pages for Kids" with some Holy Days, arts and crafts, coloring pages, questions, skits/dialogues, word games, food art ideas, stories, music and activities.
- USBNC 2018 video about unit convention - A short video
- Sheyda sings a song about unit convention - A song by a youth
- Santa Fe friends sing about unit convention - A comedic musical performance featuring pantomime/dance, vocals, and piano.
Somethings you can order online:
What is the purpose and spirit of the unit convention?
From an interesting article about the unit convention on BahaiTeachings.org, "The mechanics of a Baha’i unit convention seem simple: We pray, there is music, then we are reminded about what to look for in those we choose to serve in this capacity: people who combine such qualities as unquestioned loyalty, selfless devotion, a well-trained mind, recognized ability and mature experience."
This way of electing works. "It’s been working since 1899, when the first elected Baha’i institutions came into being in Tehran, Iran and Chicago, Illinois. It builds unity, avoids the pitfalls of traditional politics and results in principled leadership."
But, we must be careful: "while Baha’is endeavor to acquaint ourselves with the qualities and character of our fellow Baha’is, we don’t discuss them, except in the abstract. As I’m weighing my choices, I might have a dialogue with a family member about whether humility or self-confidence is more important in consultation. But for me to say to another Baha’i, ”I like Ike, but he’s not humble enough to serve on an Assembly” or ”Gerta is great, but she’s not very assertive in consultation,” is a non-starter. This system, in which every adult Baha’i is electable and the ballot secret, makes avoidance of that sort of negative discussion easy for most of us."
What are some ways to help children learn about the election process, the consultative process, the importance of building strong qualities of
- "unquestioned loyalty,
- selfless devotion,
- a well-trained mind,
- recognized ability
- and mature experience."? -->> watch a cute video here
In the children's classes at the unit convention we can also explore these qualities through reading, puzzles, stories, skits about the Báb and His followers, as well as other stories. Please feel free to use the materials here at www.minerichingems.com. We have 16 sets of activities with the theme of the name of Bahá'í months. You could use this month's 19 Day Feast Pages for Kids where we share a story about Shoghi Effendi adapted from Ruhiyyih Khanum's book, The Priceless Pearl, to explore how The Guardian used his Will Power (Mashíyyat) to serve Bahá'u'lláh. A class could read inspiring stories to explore the five qualities mentioned above.
Further information from the US Unit Convention Planning Guide
We went to the US Baha'i National Center website,
www.american.bahai.org and spoke with their representative on Live Chat (and for further information, we can call them at +1-847-733-3400) to learn more about the Unit Convention.
They shared that the US Unit Convention Planning Guide (will need to log on in order to access this page)contains good planning information for children's classes, especially on page 44 which (will need to log on in order to access this page) describes the role of the youth and children's program coordinator.
Here is an outline of some of what can be involved with planning children's programs:
- Convener welcomes the gathering and, after prayers, asks the children to go with appointed teachers. (Perhaps children can pray for the unit convention?)
- Registrar provides the secretary with convention attendance record including the number of children/junior youth (14 and under).
- Perhaps in your children's program you can count the number of children and write it on a paper to deliver to the unit convention registrar and discuss the different roles at unit convention, the electoral process.
- Another activity could be for the children to consult about their ideas for teaching and building unity in our communities and share them with the delegate and friends at the end of the Unit Convention, before National Convention.
- Youth and Children’s Program Coordinator appointed by the planning team can carefully plan quality Bahá'í children's programs for children, junior youth and youth. Depending on the number of children involved, the coordinator may need to arrange for
- materials, or
- snacks (be aware of potential allergies).
- Volunteers for Children's Program: Do you have enough volunteers (Family members who are not eligible for the election portion of can attend the unit convention and serve in these kinds of capacities.)
- clearance be sure all serving children under 18 receive clearance
- youth can do many things at unit convention including participate in conducting children’s classes. Opportunities can be provided for groups of junior youth, and youth to consult and share their plans. They may also have learned through the study of Books 3 and/or 5 to work with children’s classes or with junior youth in various activities.
- friends serving in the capacity of children’s class teachers, animators or tutors, and even talk with the institute coordinator
- Bahá’í artists, musicians, and storytellers who are willing to serve as teachers, advisors, and resources to those coordinating children’s classes.