COVID-19 has changed all our plans and programs, forcing us into a dramatic re-imagination on how we can live in a lockdown. The chaos that the virus came with changed all the rules as we knew them, we have had to suddenly think fast and respond creatively to young people’s challenges and needs. Therefore, BAHRA ACS became a virtual group.
This presentation will discuss the process of forming and running an Assyrian Youth Group from Syria and Iraq. This group of young people decided to become a group after attending a youth camp in mid-2019. The objective of the group as defined by young people is to stay engaged, and be able to share ideas and be inspired to do things that are fun, keep them busy, and emotionally, physically and mentally nourished. The new BAHRA ACS Zoom group expressed the need to stay Connected and Present in the crazy time, “feels good to know you are thinking of me”. To have a chance to laugh with each other and have FUN. And the final need was to REASSURE the group members that they are all OK, and that the mixed feelings they are experiencing are OKAY in this unusual time. The group meets on a fortnightly basis for 2.5 hours. The program is planned by young people using WhatsApp as a discussion forum, the session is divided into 3 segments; 3×3 (3 questions in 3 minutes), main game (yoga, dance, poetry) and chat time exploring identity, cultural inheritance such us learning more about different Assyrian dances and songs of different tribes or discussing issues of concern in current daily life.
Funding to run the camp was secured from the Fairfield City Council. A committee of 5 young people was formed to be trained to run the upcoming camp. The group will continue meeting and they are all eager to meet in person again.