The four pillars of our youth ministry are Spirituality, Service, Education and Fellowship.
Junior High Youth Group (Grades 6-8)
Senior High Youth Group (Grades 9-12)
The mission of the First Unitarian youth groups is to provide elementary, junior high and senior high youth with a peer religious community which emphasizes fellowship, service, worship, education and leadership development.
Youth group members share time with youth their own age who have similar values.
The youth group provides a structure where each young person can find: friendships by working and playing together; emotional support by belonging to a group and; connections to a larger church community.
To be a religious person, one must be genuine with others.
Youth engage in church-sponsored service projects during the year.
To be a religious person one must put her/his faith into action. Unitarian Universalism is a religion of "deeds," not "creeds."
Youth are invited to participate in church-wide Sunday services as musicians, readers, dramatists, etc. Youth plan and create their own worship services.
To be a religious person one must be able to speak about those things which are of concern to him or her.
Youth group activities are designed to help youth grow personally and as members of the wider community.
To be a religious person one must seek continual creativity and growth.
The youth group empowers youth to accept responsibility and become leaders within the group, church and community. Ongoing tasks involve: planning activities; calling group members and; coordinating special events. Youth are encouraged to assume leadership roles in the group, e.g., chair, secretary, treasurer, liaison to the church board, or denominational representative.
To be a religious person one must assume responsibility to make the world a better place for everyone.
Parents are expected to assist the advisors in program support and with transportation to events. Advisors work closely with parents to help facilitate each young person's integration into the group. Advisors are not substitutes for parents, but when appropriate, they do provide guidance, empathy, and discipline to young people in the group.
To be a religious person one must accept responsibility to actively support the growth and development of future generations.
Youth who attend group meetings and events must understand that the advisors are responsible for their health and safety. Youth need to follow the directions of the advisors and not leave group functions without their permission. In addition, youth group members set their own ground rules for meetings and events.
To be a religious person, one must be able to accept authority as well as to question it.
Youth Group Advisors
The youth group advisor should be at least 25 years of age. Desirable qualities include:
- Integrity, sincerity, a sense of fair play, equity and impartiality
- A good feeling about being an advisor
- As much knowledge as possible about the group which s/he is working with
- A deep sense of responsibility to her/his adult community and to the youth group
- A firm belief in the values and goals of the group
- Faith and confidence in the ultimate value of the group members and her/his own endeavors, individually and collectively
- The capacity to like and empathize with people, respect their attributes, worth and dignity and to be tolerant of their faults; ability to translate personal warmth into purposeful and meaningful relationships
- At least a rudimentary understanding of the basic skills of human relations, group dynamics and administration
- The ability to be friendly, gracious and cordial
- Enthusiasm for life in general
- A fondness for adolescents
- An ability to tolerate screw-ups when failure is tolerable, to fill in the gaps when that's necessary, and the judgment to know the difference
- An ability to be confrontational when that becomes necessary--the courage to do what has to be done, but with sensitivity to feelings
- An ability to keep one's judgment on adolescent enthusiasms under control and to look for the positive parts.
- Some sensitivity to unspoken needs, particularly for inclusion
- the ability to listen and accept the ideas of others
- A faith in the abilities and motivations of young people when available evidence is to the contrary
- The ability to operate for extended periods on internal rewards, in the absence of overt displays of appreciation
Training and Resources
The Associate Minister for Religious Education provides ongoing training and consultation. Advisors are encouraged to attend district trainings when opportunities become available.
Youth group advisors are directly responsible to the Associate Minister who serves as their supervisor. The Religious Education Council is the church body that is charged with selecting and/or approving people to serve as advisors and also formulates overall youth group policy for the church.
The advisors are responsible for the youth in their charge during youth group activities. They are responsible for group member's health and safety and help ensure that the group is open and welcoming to new members, developing activities in which all group members can participate.
Code of Ethics
Adults and older youth who are in leadership roles are in positions of stewardship and play a key role in fostering the spiritual development of both individuals and the community. It is, therefore, especially important that those in leadership positions be well qualified to provide the special nurture, care, and support that will enable children and youth to develop a positive sense of self and a spirit of independence and responsibility. The relationship between young people and their leaders must be one of mutual respect if the positive potential of their connection is to be realized.
There are no more important areas of growth than those of self-worth and the development of a healthy identity as a sexual being. Adults play a key role in assisting children and youth in these areas of growth. Wisdom dictates that children, youth, and adults suffer damaging effects when leaders become sexually involved with young persons in their care. Therefore, leaders will refrain from engaging in sexual, seductive or erotic behavior with children and youth. Neither shall they sexually harass or engage in behavior with children or youth which constitutes verbal, emotional or physical abuse.
Leaders shall be informed of the Code of Ethics and agree to it before assuming their role. In cases of violation of this code, appropriate action will be taken.
Background Checks for Volunteers
All adults who work with children and youth in the congregation as an advisor or Sunday morning teachers must fill out a volunteer application and agree to a background check. [LINK FOR VOLUNTEER APPLICATION]
If you would like additional information, please contact:
Associate Minister for Lifespan Faith Development
408-292-3858 ext. 25