Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Young Writers’ Endeavor?
The Young Writers’ Endeavor is a Baha’i-inspired online workshop for writers between the ages of 12 and 18, with the goal of familiarizing youth with the structure and style of different genres, and helping young writers approach writing from a Baha’i perspective, through study of the Baha’i Writings.
Who organizes the Young Writers’ Endeavor?
The Young Writers’ Endeavor is entirely organized by volunteers, most of whom are college-aged, and who have both interest and experience in writing, the arts, and Baha’i community building activities. You can learn more about them under Our Team.
Is this workshop sponsored by any Baha’i institution?
This is a Baha’i-inspired workshop and is not in any way affiliated with any particular Baha’i institution. However, our team is constantly drawing from guidance from the messages of the National Spiritual Assembly and the Universal House of Justice to inform the decisions we make. Our goal is for this workshop to be one of the many “creative means to strengthen bonds of friendship, and to foster among themselves and those known to them spiritual consciousness and qualities of tranquillity, confidence, and reliance on God.” (The Universal House of Justice, Naw-Rúz 177)
Who can participate in the workshop?
Anyone between the ages of 12 and 18 who has daily access to the internet, and an interest in developing their writing skills!
How often does the workshop take place?
Our workshop takes place yearly, usually during the summer months in the United States (June-August). 2020 will be the second year of this endeavor.
How long is the workshop?
The workshop will take place from June 27 to July 21, with three weeks of themed daily writing activities, and additional days for introductory and concluding activities before and after.
How much of a time commitment is it?
The Young Writers’ Endeavor has been created with the intention of it being a daily workshop. Participants will have daily assignments that they will have to turn in (normally, reading and responding to a few short questions), and one larger, creative assignment that they will work on throughout the week. These assignments are not meant to take up a huge amount of time (some can be completed in 10 minutes!), and facilitators can be flexible about deadlines when informed. But ideally, each participant commits to setting aside an hour or two each day to complete assignments and interact with the rest of the group.
Is there a cost associated with the workshop?
There is no cost to participate in the workshop. Our team is committed to making the Young Writers’ Endeavor accessible to youth from any background, anywhere in the world.
Is it only open for Baha’is, or can anyone participate?
While our workshop is Baha’i-inspired and will feature excerpts from the Baha’i Holy Writings, as well as discussion of Baha’i concepts, you do not have to be Baha’i to participate! As with any Baha’i activity, we would like to bring a diverse group of people together, and your perspective when studying the Baha’i Writings is just as welcome as anyone else’s.
Who are the professional Baha’i writers you will feature in the workshop?
The professional writers featured weekly through short recorded lectures or livestreams vary from year to year. In 2019, we had the honor of hosting Elahe Izadi, Valerie Senyk, Robert Malouf, June Perkins, Barbara Johnson and Rick Johnson—all professional Baha’i writers whose work you can find online or perhaps even on your bookshelf!
For our 2020 workshop, you can see the professionals involved in our Team page.
On what platform does the workshop take place?
The Young Writers’ Endeavor takes place entirely on Google Classroom, and relies on Gmail, Google Docs, Google Hangouts, YouTube and Google Slides to share material and interact with other participants.
We will offer short tutorial videos for those who unfamiliar with Google Classroom!
What do I need to be able to participate? Do I need a computer?
To participate, you only need daily access to the internet and a Gmail account, so that you can access Google Classroom and all related platforms. You do NOT need a computer if you do not have one. As long as you are comfortable reading, writing and participating in conference calls over a smartphone, that is enough!
Do you require permission from every participant’s guardian or parent?
We require that all participants provide an email associated to their parent or guardian, as well as said parent or guardian’s consent for the participant to attend the workshop. We do this to ensure the safety of all our participants, and to ensure that everyone can enjoy a supportive environment at home while embarking on this exciting adventure!
I’m not a very confident or experienced writer—can I still participate?
This workshop is open to anyone who likes writing and wants to learn more about it, especially in relation to their identity as a Baha’i. You don’t have to be confident or experienced to participate! We are all learning, and there’s nothing more exciting than building that confidence and experience up together.
English isn’t my first language—can I still participate?
All assignments of the Young Writers’ Endeavor will be in English, so participants should have some grasp over reading and writing in English, as well as participating in conversation. However, you don’t have to speak English perfectly to participate! All of our facilitators are bilingual too, so we help clarify confusing vocabulary into Spanish or German if necessary.
I live outside the United States—can I still participate?
You are most welcome to participate, no matter what country or continent you come from! The diversity among our participants is one of the most exciting things about the workshop. How often do you get to work with people from across the globe?
And fun fact: while most of our facilitators currently live in the United States, none of us actually grew up here: we come from Paraguay, Ecuador, Germany and the UK.
I’m younger than 12 or older than 18—can I still participate?
Unfortunately, at this time we are quite strict about the cut-off ages for participating in the Young Writers’ Endeavor. We want to foster an environment of teamwork and mutual understanding, and we feel that narrowing the age of participants to between 12 and 18 helps ensure that assignments are neither boring nor difficult, and that they’re understandable to all participants.
Will I be graded?
There are no grades in this workshop—we’re all learning, and no one can be the judge of how much you’ve progressed but you!
You may, however, receive a cool certificate at the end of the workshop, if you complete all three weeks. And maybe you’ll even have your work featured on our website…
How much will I be expected to write?
Our daily assignments normally only require a few sentences of writing. Our longer weekly assignments, however, generally have a minimum word count of 300 words, although participants often end up writing much more than that!
What time zone does the workshop operate in?
Our facilitators operate at Eastern Standard Time and Central Standard Time in the United States, so the timing for assignments and livestreams may be structured around these time zones. However, most daily assignments don’t require you to do anything at a specific hour, so you can complete them on your own time, and there will most likely be other participants with a similar time zone to you!
Only our video conferences have specific hours when they take place, which will probably happen when is most convenient for facilitators. Our intention is not to exclude people who may need to sleep when we’re awake—but many of us have day jobs, so time is an unfortunate consideration.
How can I support the workshop?
This workshop is entirely free and run by volunteers, so we always appreciate your help! Please reach out to us if you are interested in offering any skills you may have (such as facilitating, offering writing advice/resources, art or designs, etc.) or if you are interested in making a monetary contribution to our PayPal to maintain this website or support future projects.
I can’t find answers for my question on this website!
Please reach out to us through our contact form!