the Canada Day long weekend, the Richelieu Vanier Community Centre was
host to a youth conference involving over 60 young people. On 29 and 30
June 2019, youth between the ages of 15 and 30, from all corners of
Ottawa, gathered together in a spirit of joy, fellowship and
camaraderie to participate in the Badasht Youth Conference.
galvanized participants to see themselves as part of a worldwide
movement of youth who are working collaboratively to create a better
world. The conference opened with a letter from the Local Spiritual
Assembly of Ottawa, who reminded participants that youth have a
tremendous contribution to make towards addressing the problems of the
world and in building vibrant communities.
In a spiritually edifying environment devoted to study and friendship,
participants explored topics such as the period and capacity of youth.
They also reflected on the positive and negative forces in society.
Many participants commented that they have a better appreciation of the
role they are to play in fostering the spiritual and material
development of their neighbourhoods and local communities, an outcome
which will directly benefit their families, friends and neighbours
alike. Over the weekend, many friendships were strengthened and built,
helping the youth to see themselves as working together as part of a
supportive network of friends.
Through workshops and plenary talks, participants at the conference
came to see themselves as part of an unbroken chain of effort to create
a better world. The program included an address and comments by
Auxiliary Board Members Rhona Scoffield and Ayafor Ayafor. Drawing upon
the examples of the Dawn Breakers as well as the 80,000 youth who
attended a series of 114 youth conferences around the planet in 2013,
the youth were encouraged to see themselves as agents of social change
and to courageously set aside time during the summer to be of service
to their communities.
Conversations included discussions regarding the opportunities for
service close to home, as well as in neighbouring cities such as
Brockville. A memorable part of the two-day conference was when youth
from the Cornwall, Lanark, Renfrew and Ottawa neighbourhoods shared
vignettes of their work in their neighbourhood and glimpses of the
possibilities that lie ahead. At the end of the conference, several
youth were inspired to offer a period of service in Ottawa and in
neighbouring communities. Reflecting on the conference, Kaia Dallaire
said "The youth conference created and reinforced much needed
friendships that strengthened our service together. Hearing of
courageous stories from the early followers of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh
and being surrounded by those who will take the next steps made for an
inspiring event. The event made the future we are working towards feel