Youth Programs (grades 7-12)

OUR PHILOSOPHY

Our youth programs are designed to prioritize the immediate needs of the youth above the regularly scheduled programming, recognizing that these can be turbulent and fruitful years with a high degree of need for compassionate mentoring and social support.

Our formal programming aims to help participants notice their experiences with the sacred, clarify their own personal values while learning what it means to be Unitarian Universalist, and gain practice expressing their own religious convictions through action towards a better world.

It is our goal that these aims be accomplished through adult/youth partnerships rather than direct teaching, so as capacities develop in our youth for leadership, space is made for a greater portion of our time together to be directed by youth, while adults lean into a mentoring and advisory role.

Check our what to expect in YRUU (Young Religious Unitarian Universalists) below!

HOW TO REGISTER

Before the service, we ask that parents register their children for YRUU. You can do this by visiting the tree stump in the classroom wing and tapping on “YRUU Registration,” or by using this link. Registering helps us create the safest possible learning experience for your child!

While youth are permitted to check themselves in and out of YRUU, we ask that you and your children be aware that we do not permit teens to linger unsupervised in the classroom wing. This provides a layer of safety for both our children and adults, and helps us ensure that our youth are an integrated part of our larger congregational community. Thank you for your support in this area.

WHERE TO GO AND WHEN

Youth should obtain a nametag, just like their parents, either at the welcome desk or from the nametag racks, depending on how long you’ve been attending.

Youth begin with their families in the sanctuary for shared worship. It is important to us that our youth know that they are part of a larger community than just what takes place in the classroom wing. We want them to know and be known by all the members of the Fellowship, and understand their importance and place in our community.

After the time for all ages, the congregation will sing Go Now Children, and a Spirit Play guide with the sign you see to the left will lead the children to the classroom wing. Youth will follow in that general direction and split off to meet their advisors in room 7.

THE EXPERIENCE

When youth arrive in room 7, we will always start with a chalice lighting and brief check-in about how things are going in life, to help get centered in a spirit of community and worship. If appropriate, we move into the lesson for the day. After the session, we’ll have some closing words, extinguish the chalice, and youth are invited to join the wider congregation in the social hall. Light snacks are provided during the session, and donations for the cause of the month are accepted in the social hall after services.

For the 2023/24 Fellowship year, we will be adapting the UUA’s Tapestry of Faith Programming, Heeding the Call: Qualities of a Justicemaker. Each month, the group will explore a different spiritual calling, such as the call to awareness or the call t compassion. These callings will be explored through stories, hands on activities, discussion, and “faith in action” tasks that invite the youth to apply what they’ve learned to the context of our congregation.

in the 2024/25 Fellowship year, we will be using the Harvard Justice Course, an introduction to moral and political philosophy. It explores classical and contemporary theories of justice, and applies these theories to contemporary legal and political controversies. We will be weaving in events and prominent figures in UU history, examining our our religious heritage with a critical eye toward justice.

SPECIAL EVENTS

In an effort to provide more spaced for young UUs to deepen their connections with one another and between communities, we provide a monthly special event for youth. Often, neighboring communities are invited to join, or we travel to them to ensure that our teens are getting experiences beyond our local congregation. You can check out the most current YOUTH EVENTS CALENDAR HERE. Types of events that you can expect include the fall trip to the corn maze, the spring youth coast retreat, and a summer outdoor movie and camping on the lawn. All youth are welcome to join.

Annual Middle School Programming

Every year we offer a special 6 week series of programming specifically for 7th and 8th graders. We alternate between our Coming of Age program and our OWL (Our Whole Lives, comprehensive sexuality education ) program. Both of the programs are central to our UU tradition and community building, and we encourage everyone to take them in the middle school years. These programs are also generally well attended by non Fellowship youth. Space is limited, with priority registration given to member families.

Please send any questions about our children’s and youth programs to Director of Religious Exploration, Skyla King-Christison at dre@uucorvallis.org

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