Frequently Asked Questions

Can parents stay on campus during the operation of the camp?

Parents are very important to us for the success of TFP. They are our strongest supporters. We love and value our students’ parents, and where necessary, we would turn to them for consultation if a student continually encounters difficulty adjusting. Transformation for Peace is an exercise in practical community building, based on the spiritual principles of Unity, Justice, Diversity and Consultation. We have only 7, fairly intense days to reach this goal. It is important that the Junior Youth and the staff turn to each other to consult and solve problems, and it is through the process of solving these problems that individual responsibility is learned, personal bonds are formed and spiritual realities are glimpsed. Using the principles in a directed way becomes the dynamic foundation of our community. If a parent stays on the campus, due to the bond between child and parent being already strong, the Junior Youth would not need to turn to the community in a time of difficulty or when dealing with problems and decisions. Instead of turning to the community, thus forming an emotional and spiritual resource for himself, the first response will likely be to turn to the parent. This choice will directly impact on the growth of independence, personal empowerment and growing spiritual resourcefulness. The week would be an opportunity for your child to experience himself or herself away from the family-nest and among a peer group practicing shared moral and social values. In a safe and controlled environment, your child will be able to start forging a separate sense of learning - to rely more upon God through prayer, confidence in His assistance and to experience a degree of personal empowerment within a community infused with these powerful spiritual principles. When you see your child at the end of the week, this strengthened spirit should be visible.

But what if I think my child is too young to stay here by himself? The Transformation for Peace program, as it exists, with the occasional exception, is unsuitable for children who are younger than 12. Junior youth do mature at varying rates and if your 12-year-old is too young to be left without the presence of a parent, it would be far more in their interest to wait until the next summer.

Can parents phone whenever they feel like it?

We believe the parent-child bond is one of the most important resources a child has, not only during the maturation process, but also during the full course of his or her life. In many Baha’i families, parents are pioneering or serving the Faith in a variety of ways. This often can mean the children are in school some distance away. Until they can arrange to meet, the telephone, cell phone, and email are their only vehicles of contact. At Transformation for Peace, we must focus very quickly and quite intensely on directing all our energies to forming a community of people who identify themselves in an immediate and spiritual way. Your child’s detachment from his material identity, by which he knows himself at home, will proceed more quickly, smoothly and completely if his contact with home is limited. This does not mean he may not phone home. If there is an emergency, please be assured that you will be contacted immediately. We do however request that you, as the parent and co-creator of the TFP community, consider applying the following guidelines to phone calls with your child: Your child will call you as soon as he or she has arrived safely at Townshend. This is an important call. Take time to listen to your child’s adventure which he or she may have had during the trip. After you have spoken to your child, once he has arrived at Townshend, please do not continue to phone your child “just to chat”. It might give the impression that you are worried about him or her. Instead, if worries arise, please message one of the Coordinators who will look into the situation and answer all of your questions. If your child phones you again, (after the first “I’ve arrived safely” call), please keep any other calls short, less than 5 min. Long calls tend to bring on homesickness and interrupt the activity in which they should be participating. If your child phones in tears, for any reason (some item has been lost, a friend has hurt his feelings, he’s having trouble making friends, or plainly, he is miserable and wants to go home now), please do not entertain a lengthy telling of the story. Please instil confidence in your child by assuring him or her that she/he can deal with this test. Please ask the child to go directly to a staff member to discuss the situation. Junior Youth need time to begin to solve their own problems, practicing how to trust in God and practice justice and consultation. First, the child must realise that to begin the process of finding a solution, he must share the matter with a member of the staff.

Can students keep their cell phones or check e-mail?

In recent years, we have become increasingly dependent on cell-phones and computers for instant gratification and contact with a wide variety of people. These are used for text and instant messaging and conversations that distract them from the community and the activities for which the staff works very hard to help them experience. Therefore, Junior Youth are required to hand in thier cell phone, other devices, and any valuables to staff upon their arrival. For some Junior Youth, it is a form of an addiction, and removing the cell-phone for a short period of time helps them to realise that they can live without the device, and actually learn, have fun, and detach from perceived needs of self. The Townshend International School computer lab is not available to students during the summer. This is a shared policy of Townshend and TFP.

What are the expectations for modesty of dress and deportment?

Of course, Junior Youth who are of the wider community are most welcome, and they will understand that this is a Baha’i summer programme. Our focus for the camp is to create a community based on the Baha’i principles of Unity, Justice, Equality, the value of Diversity, and the power of Consultation and Prayer. Other Baha’i principles are also included in the formation of this community, for example, the principle of modesty, so please ensure only modest and sensible clothes are packed.

What should I do if my child’s birthday falls during TFP?

Birthdays of children that occur during TFP are warmly celebrated within the TFP community. We ask that you do not send any gifts or cakes since this can set up an expectation that can cause disappointment, embarrassment and anxiety for other students who might prefer to only celebrate with their families later, at home.

What is the Gala celebration?

We welcome parents to attend the gala, so they can meet their children and staff to see and discuss the summer's adventure. Parents and relatives who are able to attend will enjoy an evening of performances and presentations that mark a formal close to our time at TFP. Although parents who pick up their Junior Youth by car have always enjoyed this evening, there certainly is no expectation or necessity for all parents to attend. What should students wear to the Gala? For many of the students, a costume change will be required. A student might be in the dance or drama presentation. So an outfit that is simple, can easily be put on, is modest and clean and makes the student feel good, would be appropriate. What should parents wear to the Gala? This is a big night for the students, not formal in a physical sense, but rather it is a formal closure of their experience at TFP this summer. As well, most parents when traveling do not bring along their ball gowns. (Nor do we!) Wear whatever you feel comfortable in. Your mere presence will be appreciated by our community.

Where can parents stay if they come for the Gala?

Accomodation for parents is no longer available at the Townshend International School campus. There are nearby accommodation options available for visiting parents. A large selection of hotels and pensions can also be found on the Hluboka nad Vltavou website, or on . Please note that you are responsible for your own travel and accommodation plans, as we do not have the resources to make these arrangements for parents. More information can be found here.

Can TFP participants arrive a day or two earlier than the start of the camp?

TFP has a very strict policy of participants only arriving on the day the program begins. The arrival day is Saturday. On occasion when a parent arrives with their son/daughter a day early, they may of course spend the night in a nearby hotel until the programme open up (Saturday). Although the cost of the programme includes transportation, it can only accommodate picking up participants on Saturday. The TFP programme does not have extra staff to make individual trips to the airport. The programme is arranged so that on Saturday, JY are all transported from the airport or train stations in groups to Townshend, and back again in groups. If parents arrange to have their children arrive into the Czech Republic earlier than the first day of the program, the family must arrange alternate transportation and accommodation, until the dorms open up. TFP staff are all busy morning until evening planning the programme.

Can TFP participants arrive a day or two late?

The Transformation for Peace summer programme opens with an evening program on the day of arrival, Saturday. During this first event of the program the junior youth get to know each other. The assembly groups are formed, and these assemblies stay together for special activities all week. During this first meeting they bond strongly as a group and create their own identity. Then on Sunday a very intense program starts for all the participants, starting at 7am, with prayers in the forest, songs, stories, academic classes, gala arts workshops, consultations, deepenings and more.

It is not beneficial for junior youth to arrive late because too much will be missed right from the start. Having junior youth arrive later also disrupts the flow of the program. During the past years it has been possible for all youth to arrive before dinner on Saturday, allowing everyone to settle-in and start at the same time.

Please make arrangements to have your son/daughter arrive on time, so they can attend the first night of the camp with the other participants.

Can my son/daughter request to share a room with their friend?

A lot of care and thinking goes into the preparation of all the activities at TFP. One of the most important aspects of TFP is that the participants interact with as many of the other participants as possible. Therefore we purposely mix the groups. It is not possible for any of the Junior Youth choose who they want to be in a group with and who they want to share a their room with. But there are so many possibilities to spend time together with both old and new friends that it is not an issue once the Junior Youth are here.