Quebec Baha’i Summer School participants reflect on the meaning of service

Quebec Baha’i Summer School participants reflect on the meaning of service

Participants of the 2014 Quebec Summer School. © Jean-Paul Moss
St-Alphonse-Rodriguez, Quebec, 21 August 2014 (CBNS)

More than 150 people from all parts of the province gathered at Camp Papillon in St-Alphonse-Rodriguez, Lanaudière Region, to attend the Quebec summer school, which took place 13 to 17 August.

The theme of the program, which featured workshops and artistic activities, was service to humanity. Workshop participants examined the development of the capacity to serve, in the context of interactions between individuals, communities, and institutions. The arts were incorporated throughout the programme. One evening was dedicated to the creation of collective artworks. Participants of all ages, adults as well as children, collaborated in the painting of approximately ten murals. Another arts evening was devoted to music. Short skits on the theme of the school were presented during afternoon “theatre walks.”

The summer school is a family event that provides a meaningful program for all ages. Many of the youth seized the occasion to serve those who were younger. Young people led classes dedicated to the development of spiritual capacities in children, and older youth organized activities for young adolescents. Other youth participated in the adult program, and everyone appreciated their contributions. Many of them spoke about their experiences at the youth conferences held this summer and last summer in Montréal.

At the request of the Universal House of Justice, the world governing council of the Baha’i community, a series of 114 youth conferences were held last year, three of which took place in Canadian cities — one in Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver. This year, the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada, the governing council of the Baha’is of Canada, decided to organize ten similar, regional conferences. The Montréal conference took place in July, and the youth who attended examined concepts such as serving humanity, the role of youth in society, and mutual support. They also discussed what they could do in their neighbourhoods. Excerpts from a Baha’i World Centre video entitled “To Serve Humanity,” which shows youth from various parts of the world reflecting on the conference themes, were shown at the school, and the youth who were present offered their own explanations and reflections.

While the summer school is a place for reflection and for developing one's spiritual capacities, it is also a place where one can enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Participants availed themselves of the various types of activities offered by Camp Papillon, such as swimming, hiking, canoeing, canoe races, climbing and archery. One of the organizers commented that this year's program was an outstanding success, and that rain and cool temperatures did not prevent participants from taking advantage of all the activities.

In other regions of Canada, Baha’is and their friends gather at annual summer schools, which took place this year in the Maritimes, Newfoundland and Labrador, and British Columbia.