Our youth program is defined as children in 7th-12th grades and older. It recognizes the teenager as an independent minded person. It includes Sunday program and often additional programming, like overnights, socials, regional and District conferences that expose them to other Unitarian Universalists throughout the Pacific Northwest. Youth programming is a time for values clarification leadership development!
Coming of Age is the Unitarian Universalist equivalent of a bar or bat mitzvah, quinceañera, or vision quest. In offering Coming of Age, our congregation seeks to honor the passage of young people into greater maturity, responsibility, and spiritual commitment. In a safe and supportive environment, youth will better define their own beliefs and values and better understand Unitarian Universalism. Through music, classic television shows and movies, real-life scenarios, social justice projects, and discussion among peers, Coming of Age will help youth continue to develop and trust their own moral compass as they come of age. We begin with a ropes course and end with a celebration of our beliefs.
High School Youth Group
YRUU is our youth group for high school freshmen through seniors. In YRUU, youth are encouraged to be leaders. They take turns leading on Sundays, and through an elected council that meets monthly, they have a direct role in choosing discussion topics and planning special events like overnights. Adult advisors are guides along the way who maintain a supportive space where youth can share and be heard. The youth group offers opportunities to explore what we mean by fellowship, social justice, and worship as Unitarian Universalists. The Youth Service is an annual spring tradition in which the youth group conducts the service, including performing the music and sharing homilies. With many of our youth having grown up in this church, it is a wonderful celebration of their individual and collective responsible search for truth and meaning.
Youth Council is an elected body with representatives from each high school grade level. They meet once per month to discuss ideas and vote on plans for the upcoming weeks. All of our advisors and our Lead Advisor, Jason Webber, offer guidance, but the Youth Council is what makes YRUU a youth-led community. Youth Council is an elected body with representatives from each high school grade level. They meet regularly to discuss ideas and vote on plans for the upcoming weeks.
Overnights for our youth group are scheduled by the Youth Council. Memorable experiences — whether it’s caroling in Pioneer Courthouse Square, group outings to Voodoo Doughnuts, or worship in the Eliot Chapel — are created at these overnights. To cap them off, the following morning youth make sandwiches and walk through downtown distributing sandwiches and clean, dry socks to anyone in need.
District Youth Conferences (or Cons)
District Conferences provide opportunities for youth to meet other leaders from congregations around the District and around the country. These conferences can be life changing, with the goal of building leadership skills. Youth return with a deeper understanding of who they are as Unitarian Universalists and how they want to be in the world. Registration information is emailed to families. A “sponsor” is required and we can help to set that up, if needed (parents are not allowed to attend).