Youth Programs UPDATED 9/21/17 with info for the New Church Year

Special Announcement: September 21, 2017

Dear UUSM Youth and Parents,

This year, we are excited to be offering a Coming of Age program for our 8th graders as well as any high school youth who have not yet had an opportunity to Come of Age at UUSM.  This special program is designed to mark the transition from childhood to youth.  By participating in Coming of Age, we hope that our youth will:

•             Assume responsibility for their own physical, mental, and spiritual well-being

•             Gain self-confidence and realize that their feelings are valid and that their opinions matter

•             Expand their vision of the world by encountering differing views, cultures, and life experiences

•             Understand they have an important role in their family, their church, and the larger community

•             Develop a personal value system, and

•             Realize they are non-judgmentally accepted in our community, it is a safe place to be themselves.

It is important for parents and youth to attend the Coming of Age Orientation together, on Sunday, 10:30am - 12:30 pm Forbes Upstairs 1. This is an opportunity for the whole family to learn about this program and get all of your questions answered. Then you can make a decision as a family about whether to participate in this program.  The Coming of Age program is a powerful experience for our youth, but parental involvement is essential.

Following the orientation, which is mandatory for enrolling in the program, the first day of classes will be Sunday, October 8th. Classes will begin at 10:45am and end at 12:15pm. We are also committed to helping make sure any youth who wants to participate can make it; please do not let travel logistics keep you from considering the class. This class is in addition to our 9:00am programming for Middle School and YRUU. You can attend both!

During Coming of Age, we will go on retreats together, watch movies and talk about their spiritual aspects, design a service project, talk about the “big questions” in life, write faith statements, play games, get to know each other, and laugh a lot!  All of this will end with a final celebration and community recognition.

Each youth will be paired with an adult mentor, who will join our core Coming of Age teaching team in working with our youth throughout the year.  The mentors will often join us in class, and will accompany the youth in their journey to define their deepest personal values and core religious beliefs. 

At times when we have offered the Coming of Age program, new youth have joined our church because they want to be part of it.  If your family has friends who might be interested in our Coming of Age program, please mention it to them now and invite them to join us for the orientation. 

The core Coming of Age team this year includes Jo An Peters Larry Weiner, and Nalani Santiago- Kalmanson, who will be joined by the UUSM members who will be recruited to serve as mentors for each participating youth. 

You will receive a calendar for the year with all of the class sessions, as well as the program’s important special events.  Once received, please make a note of not only the class Sundays, but also the special events and the Coming of Age end of year service.

We are planning for our class to participate, as one aspect of their Coming of Age experience, in the Jr.High winter camp at our beautiful UU camp in the mountains, Camp de Benneville Pines, on the weekend of November 17-19th.  Please make it a priority for your youth to participate; the weekend camp experience is an incredible opportunity for our youth to bond with one another and with fellow UU youth from other congregations, and offers a wonderful program for enhancing the Coming of Age experience and deepening our youth’s UU identity.  In order to make participation easier, UUSM is providing a 50% scholarship for camp for all Coming of Age class members (full scholarship also available upon request), and we’ll also coordinate rides to camp. 

And we are also planning a Wilderness Retreat in the spring, from March 23-25.  This camping retreat is a VERY important part of the Coming of Age program, and we ask that you clear the dates on your calendars now so that all of our participating youth can participate. 

The Coming of Age year at UUSM has proven to be an intense but very meaningful one for the youth who have participated in past years.  I look forward to the time we will spend together this year as your young people come of age.

Please RSVP for the Orientation on October 1st so we know how many attendees to expect, and I am always happy to talk if you have any questions about our program between now and then.

Warmly,

Kathleen Hogue, Director of Lifespan Religious Exploration

310-829-5436 x105, uusmdre@gmail.com

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Coming of Age for 8th Grade and up: provides opportunities for youth to learn who they are and where they are on their spiritual journey, bond with other teens, celebrate their gifts, learn about the church and how it works, and articulate their own personal beliefs within the context of our UU faith.  The year culminates on Coming of Age Sunday on the 3rd Sunday in May, when the youth will present religious credo statements before the congregation in a worship service of their own design. 

9th-12th Grade: Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU) empowers teens, with the guidance of adult advisors, to create their own vision and mission for their program.  YRUU youth will explore what it means to be young and UU, how our UU principles inform how we live our lives, and what power young UU’s have to change the world.  YRUU also takes part in social justice projects, organizes social gatherings, and will plan and lead a Sunday worship service for the congregation. YRUU meets during the 9:00 service only.

For more information about youth programs at UUSM, contact uusmdre@gmail.com