Bridgetown Youth Conference

Barbados | 12-14 July 2013

Youth participants from 11 national communities in the Caribbean—of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds—gathered together in Bridgetown, Barbados, for the first of three youth conferences to be held in the region.

Over 250 young people from the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Leeward Islands, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Virgin Islands came together in an atmosphere full of excitement to consult on their role in contributing to the life of their communities. “I think it is really great to see all of the countries cooperating even though we don’t know each other,” shared one youth from Jamaica on the first day, “I have been talking to people and we don’t even speak the same language.”

“Service is not something you do apart from your life; it is your life.”

A participant at the conference

In such a diverse environment, the unity of all gathered served as a potent reminder of both the purpose and the importance of the community-building work they are engaged in. A young man from the Bahamas, when reflecting on the efforts of his group of friends noted that “a lot of our efforts are about unity. Our group in the Bahamas has some Bahá’ís and some Christians, but if you didn’t point them out you wouldn’t see the difference. As we go around offering service we bring more people in. I guess the service is bringing unity.”

The arts were a major element of this conference, with participants using songs, visual art, poetry, and dance to explore themes and to more deeply understand concepts. After learning about the complementary aspects of one’s life, a youth wrote and shared a song entitled Choices. Later, during a study about the critical period of early adolescence, a 23-year-old from Barbados shared a poem that he composed.


  • A strong tropical storm passed near Barbados and other islands in the region just two days before the conference began. Fortunately, participants’ travel to the conference was unaffected by the passing storm and the conference took place without interruption
  • During the first plenary session, each national community’s introduction was met with drumming and “the rousing applause” of those gathered
  • Participants incorporated the arts into nearly every session of the conference. In addition to the many poems and songs that were composed, posters were made on the theme of unity and togetherness, a wall mural was created for all to contribute to, and some prepared a dance that was shared
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  • Youth were present from the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Leeward Islands, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Virgin Islands

  • A group engages in lively discussion during one of the conference sessions

  • Participants studied the message of the Universal House of Justice dated 1 July 2013 addressed to the participants of the 114 youth conferences taking place around the world

  • Those present commented on the exceptionally supportive environment they had found at the conference

  • Participants discussed the critical role they have to play in contributing to the betterment their communities

  • Participants between the ages of 15 and 30 shared ideas, reflected on their own experience, and made plans to continue their efforts to serve their communities

  • Singing and other arts infused both plenary and group sessions

  • Songs were used to articulate the concepts during several of the sessions

  • Poetry was used to share insights gained, including poems that were based on acronyms such as “youth”, “adolescence”, and “community”

  • Friends from different ages and backgrounds came together to present skits they had worked on

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