At a conference, hosted by the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University at their Global Retreat Centre, near Oxford, Personal Values in Youth Work Development were under discussion.

Participants are recruited through partner organizations and are chosen from among those who have displayed aptitude and already have basic skills in youth work and personal develop-ment training. Mentors from the same organizations also attend so that they can undergo the experience together.

Courses take the form of self-development retreats in wild settings where small groups of participants and mentors live simply with a host community. Tutorials place importance on aspects of self-discovery, which allows those involved to clarify their capabilities, values, ambitions and direction. In this climate of trust and respect the spiritual nature of self, the environment and the group emerges in a non-religious context. As one young participant said: “By being more me I can be something for others.”

Participants, mentors, facilitators, host communities and partners alike have benefited from the programmes. Young people have grown to become active volunteer helpers and mentors themselves, and mentors have become facilitators. Two of the young partici-pants are to take part in a two week international event arranged by World Youth Service and Enterprise on Global Citizenship later this year. There will be a forum meeting of the Stoneleigh Project on 11th October 2004 for anyone sharing the values and vision of their approach.

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