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JOHN EXCHENAUER, 

Jn. 


 

Bahá’u’lláh has inspired the youth of the Thirteenth Annual Bahá’i Summer School at Geyserville, California, to new and loftier 

heights of achievement. The spirit pervading the varied activities was truly wonderful and made one feel he had spent three weeks in 

an entirely different world. In these twenty-one days we have been given spiritual insight into the Teachings, Teachings that must 

ultimately cover the earth.  

Although the school was founded in 1926 by John and Louise Bosch, this is the first youth session that has been held separately. 

Affairs of the youth were supervised by a student government committee which was elected by youth present at an organization 

meeting held just after the Unity Feast, Sunday afternoon, July 2. Everyone, children, youth, and adults attended devotions at 9:00 for 

from 15 

to 

20 minutes. At 



9:45 

the first youth course on 



The Young Bahd’I in the World Today, 

including such subjects as “What 

is a Bahá’i youth and how distinguished?” “Spiritual and social attitudes toward such individual problems as family relations, 

marriage, work, prayer; 

 


and such collective problems as war, class struggle, etc.,” was held. From 11:00 to 11:45 an intensive course including projects in 

contacts, publicity, radio, public speaking, and the use of Bahá’i literature in teaching, gave us good preparation for teaching work. 

Classes adjourned before 12:00 so that everyone could “get his million dollar check at the bank,” i.e., obey the law of Bahá’u’lláh and 

repeat the obligatory prayer. Our staff of teachers included Marion Holley, director, Evelyn Cliff, Marzieh Carpenter, Charlotte 

Linfoot, Virginia Orbison, Hishmat ‘Alá’i, Marion Yazdi, Mr. John B. Shaw, Mrs. Ella Goodall Cooper, and Mr. Willard Hatch.  

Subjects were briefly presented by teachers and with their supervision of the creative discussion that followed, a spontaneity in all 

present was brought out which would otherwise remain hidden in presence of adults. Afternoons were spent in projects selected by the 

individual. Some attended round table discussions of 



The Advent of Divine Justice 

under the great tree. Others worked on publicity 

which appeared in Gey 

 

BAHA’I YOUTH ACTIVITIES 



 

555 

 

serville, Cloverdale, and Healdsburg papers. Speakers chosen for the youth public meeting by the student government committee spent 



several afternoons in preparation. Still others contacted town people to invite them to the dance, July 8th, and youth public meeting, 

July 13th. About 



3:30 

groups would usually organize to go swimming in the Russian River. Entertainments included talks on art and 

music appreciation; motion picture travelogues of Mexico, China, Africa, Philippines, and the Holy Land; Geyserville Gaieties, 

comedy with all participating; and the pageant about the Báb, 



Gate of Dawn.  

The youth public meeting was held Thursday evening, July 13th, in Bahã’i Hall. A prayer meeting for speakers was held just before 

the meeting. Farrukh loas was chairman and Mme. Rose Florence accompanied by Anita loas sang at different times. John Eichenauer 

repeated a prayer in Spanish to demonstrate concentration of teaching activity on Latin America. Frances Nolan spoke on 



Humanity’s Coming of Age, 

tell- 


 

ing of the powers loose in the world today that must be used for the benefit and not the destruction of humanity. 

Barbara Dorgan spoke on £ Pluribus Unum, demonstrating how “from many one” must be applied to many phases of 

life. John Eichenauer spoke on America’s Spiritual Mission, outlining America’s station as well as that of American 

youth in the coming years. This was followed by Adrienne Ellis’ presentation of The World of Tom arrow, as envisaged 

by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi. Genay Schoeny concluded the meeting with some quotations from the writings 

of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi. Jack Fatooh closed the meeting with a prayer in Esperanto to demonstrate that 

needed principle of an international auxiliary language. Over the week end, July 7th to 9th, San Francisco youth were 

entertained, and a party was given Friday night, a dance Saturday night, and a youth conference, Sunday morning. 

Friday morning, July 14th, a conference was held to plan for next year’s session. 

 

GREEN ACRE YOUTH SESSION  



BETTY SHOOK 

 

Despite the fact that there were only 3 0 present at Youth Week, the spirit prevailing was very strong. The classes, of 



which there were two in the morning conducted by Norman Smith, a Youth, and Horace Holley and also a Laboratory 

course in the afternoon conducted by Dr. Shook, were well attended. In the evenings there were social gatherings for 

the Youth at various homes. At the beginning of the week, the Youth met to consult about the rules 

 

to be observed during the week. Previously these rules have been given out by the committee, but this year they felt 



it 

was time they 

were using the Bahá’i principle of consultation and the results were very gratifying. Saturday morning there was a Symposium on 

Teaching. Orcella Rexford spoke on Pioneering and Mrs. Bowman spoke on the use of literature in Teaching. Afterwards plans were 

discussed for next year’s Youth Week and Horace Holley gave a 

 

Attendants at the Youth session of the Bahá’i Summer School at Louhelen Ranch,  



Davison, Michigan. 

 

 



 

pict194.jpg

 


556 

 

THE BAHA’f WORLD 



 

short talk on the real meaning of Youth Week. One of the non-believers, a brilliant Youth from New York, stated that during Youth 

Week he had found what he had been looking for in regard to the Faith for  

“They that have forsaken their country for the purpose of teaching Our Cause— these shall the Faithful Spirit strengthen through its 

power 

. . . 


By My life! No act, however great, can compare with it, except such deeds as have been ordained by God, the all-Powerful, 

the Most Mighty. Such a service is indeed the prince of all goodly deeds, and the ornament of every goodly 



act.”—The Advent of 

Divine Justice, 

page 


57.  

“That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human 



race.”—Gleanings, 

page 250.  

In 1936, Shoghi Effendi sent this message to the Annual Bahá’i Convention in Wilmette, Illinois: “Would to God, every state within 

American Republic and every Republic in American continent might ere termination this glorious century embrace light Faith of 

Bahá’u’lláh and establish structural basis of His World Order.” All Bahã’is are working to reach this goal by  

1944.  


The spiritual force released by Shoghi Effendi when he established this goal has stirred many young Bahá’is with ardor to become 

pioneer teachers of the Faith of Bahá’u’llah. John Eichenauer, a member of the National Bahá’i Youth Committee, left his home in 

Phoenix, Arizona, to go to Central America to pioneer. We received a card from him, dated October 11, 1939, in which he said, “Mrs. 

Caswell and I came together to Panama. We arrived on the fourth, met Matthew Kaszab and Joseph Wantuk, the first Rahá’i of 

Panama. Yesterday morning Matthew and I gave a fifteen minute radio program over HP5A in Spanish and English. We have met 

several newspaper and radio people through Matthew. We leave on the sixteenth for Nicaragua and then I go on to San Salvador.” 

John is the youngest pioneer teacher among 

 

eral years. The deeds and actions of the Youth impressed him very much. After this meeting there was a beach picnic at 



Oguniquit Beach and the week closed with a dance at the Inn in the evening.  

the Bahá’is. He studied Spanish, read Spanish and Mexican newspapers whenever he could, and sought out people of 

these nationalities in order to become better acquainted with them. On November 9, he wrote a letter saying, “I’m here 

in San Salvador pioneering, and Clarence Iverson (also from Phoenix, Arizona) is coming to join me. You will 

probably be interested to know that there are eight declared Bahá’is here. The first believer is a good friend of mine, 

especially because he speaks English and can interpret my words into Spanish. He will soon go to Santa Ana and he 

will probably do wonderful things for he has brought three of the eight in here. You will be surprised as I was at the 

publicity enclosed (three long articles about the Bahá’i Faith). I wrote some articles in Spanish, and am supposed to 

answer the opinions of the local thinkers. The paper is quite liberal. It keeps me “broke” buying papers with Bahá’i 

publicity in them. I use the newspaper articles as literature until more arrives. I will probably enter a private high school 

here and work half a day and devote the other half to working for the Faith. I work all day long now and don’t get 

everything done.”  

During the summer, Gerrard Sluter, a young Bahá’i from Toronto, Canada, came to the Bahã’I House of Worship, in 

Wilmette, en route to Guatemala to teach the Bahã’i Faith.  

Wilfrid Barton, a young Bahá’i who has long been active in Bahá’i work in Chicago, Boston, and Kansas City, sailed 

for Montevideo, Uruguay, this fall.  

The pioneer work in Canada has received a tremendous impetus recently because of the settlement of three young 

Vancouver Bahá’is there. Rowland Estall is a pioneer in Winnipeg. He has already started a study class there. Miss 

Doris Skinner is in Cal- 

 

MANY YOUTH ARE PIONEER TEACHERS OF THE BAHA’i FAITH  



BAHA’I YOUTH ACTIVITIES 

 

557 

 

gary, 

Alberta. She secured a position within two weeks after her arrival there. Miss Skinner writes, “Really, I don’t know why more 

Bahá’is don’t do pioneer work; it is quite the most exciting experience I have ever had. I wouldn’t go home again for anything.” 

Katherine Moscrop is in Regina, Saskatchewan, helping to spread the teachings of Bahã’u’lláh.  

Miss Elsie Beecroft, formerly of New York City, went to Toronto, Canada, a few years ago and has been doing outstanding Bahá’i 

teaching among the young people there.  

Miss Betty Shook, of Norton, Massachusetts, reports thrilling experiences in Atlanta, Georgia. Miss Shook is a member of the 

National Youth Committee.  

Miss Pearl Burt and Etta Mae Lawrence have left New York City to go to New Orleans, Louisiana, to help to establish a Bahá’i 

community.  

Mr. and Mrs. ‘William Sears are now living in Salt Lake City. From there they write, “We love Salt Lake City and feel that 

 


a slow beginning is a firm ending. So far I have a small list of about fifteen who have been given a picture of the Cause. 

. . . 


We expect 

in the fall to do some extensive radio work. Until then we will continue doing ground work.”  

Mr. and Mrs. Don McNally are doing pioneer work in Providence, Rhode Island. They now have a fireside meeting for young people 

on Wednesdays. They write, “The experience of coming here has been the most glorious adventure of our lives and we are now so 

fully aware of the power of Bahã’u’llãh and of our inability to do anything ourselves. 

. . . 


One really must get out in the world to know 

the real value of being a Bahá’i and experiencing the fellowship that exists within those sacred twelve principles.”  

These young Bahã’is and many others who are pioneering near their own cities glory in the knowledge that they are bringing into 

being the World Order of Bahã’u’lláh. 

 

OTHER ACTIVITIES OF BAHA’t YOUTH GROUPS  



While the main endeavor of the Bahá’i Youth Groups is to study the Bahã’i Faith, still we feel great joy in being with 

other young Bahá’is and friends in a social way. Most of the youth groups report social gatherings, such as picnics, 

hikes, parties, and teas, to which they invite friends who have shown some interest in the Bahá’i teachings. Lorriane 

Statler, secretary of the Peoria, Illinois, group writes: “The last Tuesday of every month we devote to the youth who 

don’t know much about the teachings. After a meeting we have a social hour—music, poems, dramatics, games, and 

refreshments.”  

“This summer,” writes Eleanor Sweney, secretary of the Champaign-Urbana (Illinois) Youth Group, “we departed from 

our regular weekly evening meetings, and instead had early Sunday morning breakfasts in Crystal Lake Park. After a 

social get- together over sausage and pancakes or ham and eggs fried out in the open, we had an inspirational devotion 

period from one of the hills. The quiet and the out-of-doors 

 

made those unusually effective worship periods. Our meetings were weekly then, as at any other time of the year.” The 



youth group in Champaign-Urbana is composed almost entirely of University of Illinois students. Miss Sweney writes: 

“With Margaret Kunz and Margaret Swengel, both of the National Youth Committee in our group, we hope to do well 

this year even though half of our group left us through graduation this year. It is interesting to note that everyone of our 

youth group found employment in the field he desired almost immediately upon leaving school.” Concerning teaching 

activities, she writes, “As our group is made up largely of college students, the personnel shifts each year as members 

graduate and leave the community to return to their own home towns or to work in other states and as new students 

come to the campus. Our work is very important, then, since we teach a large territory merely by staying at home. One 

of our outstanding meetings sponsored in cooperation with the adult group was one at which Dorothy Baker 

 

558 

 

THE BAHA’I WORLD 



 

and Rabbi Sachar of the Hillel Foundation here spoke on the ‘Problem of the Jew.’ There were more than a hundred 

present at this meeting.”  

A letter from the executive committee of the New York City Youth Group dated October, 1939, tells us of many fine 

activities. “Th Youth Committee conducts one regular meeting a week on Thursday evenings. It has been the policy at 

these meetings to present both young and old speakers, thus giving diverse aspects of the Bahá’i Faith. The talks are 

short, affording time for questions and discussions. Following as much as possible a simple and sincere approach, using 

as a pattern and inspiration the talks by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the meetings have proved to be very stimulating and productive. 

The youth have participated in symposiums, feasts, out-of-town teaching trips and picnics, public gatherings and at the 

Bahá’j exhibit at the World’s Fair. A dramatic club composed of Bahá’i and nonBahá’i Youth proved that the drama 

could be utilized as a teaching medium and many interracial parties and entertainments served to promote the spirit of 

fellowship and amity.”  

The youth group in West Englewood, New Jersey, finds symposiums to be splendid ways to teach the Bahá’i Faith. 

One of their most successful symposiums was held November 25th, 1939, at the Evergreen Cabin, Teaneck, New 

Jersey. The theme was Bahd’I, The Answer. The speakers were: Mr. Benjamin Davis, 1%/hat Is a Bahd’I?, Mr. 

Norman Smith, Baha”! Attititde Towards this Chaos, and Miss Ruth Frey. There were other Youth Symposiums where 

speakers came from New York City. Miss Ellen Wagner, the secretary of this group, writes further, telling us, “Mr. 

Norman Smith and Miss Ruth Frey were invited to attend a Lutheran meeting at a private home, in February, 1939. Mr. 

Smith and Miss Frey spoke to the group and many responded, asking numerous questions. We have also been 

associating with the “Inter Faith Youth Council.”  

In Lima, Ohio, there are two youth groups. One group, called the “Youth Group,” consists of young people between the 

ages of 15 and 21. The other called the 

 

“Young People’s Group,” consists of young people between the ages of 21 and 31. Both groups are very active and 



have enthusiastically taken part in all the activities outlined by the National Youth Committee.  

The Kenosha, Wisconsin, Bahá’i Youth Group realizes its need for deep study of the Bahá’i Faith in all its aspects. 

Young people vitally interested in world problems, economic, political, and social, have been coming to their meetings. 

Robert Koehl, chairman of the Kenosha Youth Group, wrote in a report dated October, 1939:  

“This discussion type of meeting showed up the need for further study on the part of the Kenosha Bahá’I Youth in the 

realms of Bahá’i doctrine, psychology, and patience. Undoubtedly the young people, Bahã’i and non-Bahá’i, profited 

from the meetings. More than ten people became actively interested in the Bahá’i religious viewpoint.”  

The Youth Group in Seattle, Washington, tried out a new type of program in 1938- 1939. It was patterned after the 

popular Radio Quiz programs. They felt that with the question and answer type of program much more material could 

be presented that would be concise and to the point. Also, more youth could take part. They divided the program into 

three parts, as follows: (1) Questions of general historical importance which tend to show how world conditions of the 

past century have been pointing to the present general crisis; (2) Questions concerning current events tending to show 

how society is inevitably moving toward a “Future World Commonwealth;” (3) Questions aiming to present 

unequivocally the manner in which the Bahá’i Faith as the world religion is already laying the foundation of the New 

World Order.  

The Seattle Youth Group, besides being very active in their own community, have helped to form a youth group in 

Monroe, Washington. They also make teaching trips to Vancouver and Portland.  

In California there is an active group of young Bahá’is who call themselves the BayArea Bahá’i Youth Group. The 

group is composed of Bahá’is from San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and San Mateo. Miss Farrukh loas, sub-

secretary of the National Youth Committee, writes: “The response to these 

 

BAHA’T YOUTH ACTIVITIES 



 

559 

 

combined meetings has been very gratifying. The young people from one side of the Bay go together in a couple of 



automobiles to the other side. It is felt that the combined group is more invigorating and develops a finer discussion 

than the separate meetings could. This contact acts as a stimulus to renewed effort in study, living the life, and 

teaching.”  

The Youth Group in Phoenix, Arizona, is a most active and alive group. They have presented many radio programs 

concerning the Bahã’i Faith. They have participated most heartily with all the plans sent out by the National Youth 

Committee. In August, 1938, three members of the Phoenix Youth Group made a 3000-mile trip through New Mexico, 

Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, and Arizona. These three, Clarence Iverson, John and Marshall Eichenauer, met 

many Bahã’is and told many non-Bahã’is of the Faith of Bahi’u’lláh. They also left books in libraries. Clarence Iverson 

and John Eichenauer are now doing pioneer teaching work in Central America.  

Joseph Noyes, one of the secretaries of the National Youth Committee, reports much activity around Binghamton, New 

York. In September, 1939, they started the fall activities with a picnic. Norman Smith, of 

 

West Englewood, New Jersey, talked on 



America, the Hope of the World. 

On September 30, 1939, the Binghamton Youth Group 

went to Jamestown, New York, to repay a visit that that group had made in the spring. The Binghamton group presented a program 

introducing the Bahã’i Faith, bringing out the history and the religious and social teachings. On the next day a carload of young people 

came to Jamestown from Buffalo, New York, for an afternoon meeting. The Binghamton Youth Group has started a new type of 

meeting. The series is called 



Widening Our Horizons. 

NonBahá’i speakers are asked to speak on community service projects and 

other topics of general interest. On December 17th, 1939, a comparative religion class in one of the churches attended a meeting to 

learn about the Bahá’i Faith. As Joseph Noyes writes, “There is no doubt about it, the weeks will have to be longer or else the forty-

hour working week will need to be shortened for Bahâ’is! But we wouldn’t be happy if we weren’t so busy, and we really have 

something to work for.”  

Shoghi Effendi wrote to the National Youth Committee in 1937: ‘With the increasing gloom that is rapidly surrounding the world 

around them, the Bahá’i Youth of 

 

& .<&  


&&  



 

Group attending the Bahâ’i Youth session of the Geyserville Bahâ’i Summer School, California, 1939. 

 


 

 

pict195.jpg



 

560 

 

THE BAHA’I WORLD 



 

the world, and of America in particular, should fully realize their tremendous and sacred responsibility of keeping alive 

the torch of faith in their hearts, and to endeavor through united, sustained, and carefully-planned and systematic effort 

to diffuse the light of the Teachings among the despairing and harassed youth of the world.”  

Shoghi Effendi tells us how we may accomplish this in The Unfoldment of World Civilization. To achieve this truly 

gigantic task the Bahá’i youth throughout the world must not only strive to spread the knowledge  

BAHA’I ACTIVITIES IN  

Europe, the center of culture for centuries past, seems determined to destroy itself. Every news broadcast, every 

newspaper tells us more of the horror of war in Europe and Asia. Chaos reigns. No one can escape. Bahá’u’llah wrote, 

“The winds of despair are, alas, blowing from every direction, and the strife that divides and afflicts the human race is 

daily increasing.” Two decades ago ‘Abdu’l-Baha prophesied, “The ills from which the world now suffers will 

multiply; the gloom which envelops 




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