My husband and I volunteer every year as cooks at a summer camp for teenagers in the South of France which our children attend. We were in charge of feeding 35 thirteen-years-olds with their young animators. As these are French kids, they expect an entrée, a main course and a desert. So all in all they ate some 75 kg of tomatoes, 25 melons, 20 kg of rice, 20 kg of pasta, and some 48 kg of delicious French bread! They also drank 108 l of milk in the morning!
As we were in charge of quenching their infinite hunger for food, the team of animators catered to their thirst for knowledge and the life of the spirit. Through study, games, sports, arts and music they helped them develop their spiritual perception, investigate their talents and capacities and discover how these could benefit the world on both the spiritual and the material plane. At an age where they struggle with their bodies and their identity, these teenagers surprised me with their understanding for each other and subtle humour. Of course the adults with them were totally exhausted by the end of the camp as these soon-to-be adults have what seems like unlimited energy. I admired how the animators were able to stay calm and focused with the kind of “background noise” a group of teenagers makes.
As I am now back home, I remember each one of them and especially how they sang every morning and evening these verses: “Be not careless of the virtues with which ye have been endowed, neither be neglectful of your high destiny. Suffer not your labors to be wasted through the vain imaginations which certain hearts have devised. Ye are the stars of the heaven of understanding, the breeze that stirreth at the break of day, the soft-flowing waters upon which must depend the very life of all men, the letters inscribed upon His sacred scroll.” (From the Writings of Baha’u’llah)