Currently, new generation turns to be interested in grouping and doing some creative activities increasingly whereas they will persuade their friends and local people to exchange opinions in various perspectives as same as the youth group called Youth Smile in Wang District, Narathiwat Province, with the outstanding work on natural resources conservation making them receive Forest Hero Award No. 8 during 2017 – 2018 in Youth Group Category. The group name, “Youth Smile” seems to be intention of this new generation group to communicate with outsiders that local people are still happy and can smile with familiar nature and the way of life.
Youth Smile was official established in 2013 with Nuraheesam Binmamu or Basam as the founder and the president of the group. With the number of the first member group that was lower than 10 persons, there currently many juveniles who apply for membership of this group until it can be said that this group has a large network with conceptual influence on local children and youth who are interested in and determine to conserve nature seriously. Every ember has some opportunities to work and learn on the stories of nature therefore a large number of youth in school age who want to find themselves applies for membership of this group in order to become a part of Youth Smile without any compensation.
Youth Smile is the symbol of happy young people with the life of sharing and supporting each other as siblings. In addition, they are able to perform creative works under insurgency of southern border provinces. Happiness of Wang District in Narathiwat Province selected by Youth Smile as driving force is happiness caused by location of their hometown that is full with forest, mountains, and plentiful nature that are sources of water plus with some coastal areas, happiness caused by their village with pleasant way of life in multicultural society, and happiness caused by their pride that Wang District is a part of a forest that is considered as Amazon of ASEAN, i.e., Hala Bala Forest, where they have visited for playing inside that forest since their childhood to their teenage.
Hala Bala Forest is one of the most plentiful rainforest of Thailand and it is also the learning source for youth on nature. Generally, everyone prefers nature but we often lack of understanding and knowledge on connection among forests, wild animals, and plants. Therefore, many people admire beauty of nature superficially. For Youth Smile, they pass on academic information and knowledge as well as practices to live with nature of humans and animals to their juniors through activities and forest visiting.
Activities in Youth Camp held by Youth Smile start from playing games for training observation skill and senses allowing youth to learn on nature through their senses not their perception as they used to. The following activity is bird watching activity. In the afternoon, children will discuss in a group in order to exchange their notices found in nature that may not be birds only. Moreover, children also do water detective activity in order to learn on benefits of water as the origin of more various kinds of living creatures than those they can see with their bare eyes. Actually, drinking water from bottles or water taps is originated from Hala Bala Forest that is the upstream of important rivers in southern border provinces. Children, as resources users, must know the origin of thins they consume every day and be able to analyze what will be happened if forests and water are destroyed. After every activity, children and mentors will have some opportunities to discuss and exchange their opinions as we as conclude their obtained knowledge together.
From Youth Camp activity of the group, it leads to other environmental activities, for example, “Bird Watching and Trekking for Studying Nature”. Youth Smile acts as the core to coordinate and persuade 40 juveniles in schools under Wang District to join such activity per class in order to make them gain knowledge back. Fostering children to love nature of their hometown will make them proud and cherish plentiful nature. Moreover, there is also “Youth Smile’s School Visit” activity that is operated under the concept of “Playing, Learning, and Sharing” consisted of sharing experiences on nature, playing video clips of natural documentaries, holding photography exhibition on nature, etc.
Among unrest occurrences in 3 provinces of lower southern part of Thailand, several environmental conservation groups of the community had to end their role for their safety. However, their operations are still developed. Youth Smile Group is also one of those groups with distinctiveness on conceptual development on natural resources conservation among juveniles in southern border provinces. For operations of Youth Smile Group, they have good preparation with planning and field survey. Moreover, everyone is also able to provide information and explain on academic principles mixed with actual experiences as morale cheering youth with brave hearts to have power to make nature smiles. To follow-up activities of Youth Smile, please visit FB Page - Youth Smile.