Last spring, I attended a Youth Advisor Workshop at ORUUC and was inspired and energized in learning about the building blocks of youth groups. Aside from all the great ideas and exercises, what I loved most about the session was working with other youth advisors from different churches in our UU cluster. Being a part of a larger community and working together to strengthen our individual youth groups’ experience made the “work” of the event even more fun, interesting, and meaningful.
The other cluster DREs and I have been talking about and working towards creating more cluster youth group activities. This year it feels like it’s finally come together. Our Westside youth group will have the opportunity to participate in a few different programs this year and step into the larger community of UUs in our region.
As we do the Neighboring Faiths curriculum, our youth group will be joining TVUUC in learning about Native American and Eastern religions and visiting with these religious communities. The curriculum is incredibly rich and thought provoking. Experiencing this with youth from another congregation will provide an amazing opportunity to expand not only our knowledge about other religions, but also give us a wider perspective on how we understand other religions from a UU orientation.
Our youth groups will be able to share their learning and expand and deepen it by talking with youth from another congregation who are doing the same study, but in their own way. It’s such an awesome opportunity for discovery and self-reflection on what it means to experience “other,” in other religions as well as in other congregations. Even in the same faith tradition, we are going to have a different take on or may have learned different pieces about another religion. What a profound awareness to bring in!
This year, our youth will also do Coming of Age, where they develop their personal credos. This program is about discovery and capturing a statement of their personal spiritual development at this point in their lives. We will join ORUUC and TVUUC in several events that include a dinner to meet their mentors, a social justice weekend at the Highlander Center, and weekend at Wesley Woods for introspective work on drafting their credos. Coming of Age is a powerful program that will be even more powerful as we share this work with our neighboring UU congregations.
I’ve always seen our youth group as small but mighty. They are an amazing group of people who deserve experiences that connect them to the awe of who they are as individuals and as UUs in community. It’s so gratifying to be able to give them this opportunity for growth. Give them love as they go forward and step into the larger context of being UUs.