Tag Archives: youth and young ydult empowerment

Do lifelong UU identifying young folk feel connected to UUism?

I thick before I go any further I should disclose that I was raised in UU community. So here goes. This is what I have to say. And I mean no offence by it.

I feel to often UUs (individuals and their communities (churches, fellowships and societies)) go out of their way to make newcomers feel welcome. This is done throw providing things like special green mugs during the Sunday fellowship hour and courses such as “Introduction to UUism”; intended to give them some further knowledge on their new spiritual community and the history of the religion it’s a member of (UU). This is all fine and well but sometimes it feels to me that this is all done at the expense of the needs of the ones who grew up in UU communities. Well maybe this is only do to the fact that most of those that are active in UU communities came as adults having either grown up in another religious tradition or a lack of one, that this mite be going on. I mean maybe the adults are thinking on an unconscious level that you can’t expect to find the spiritual fulfilment that is right for you in the places you grew up in, you see we didn’t.

So I am not suggesting we as UUs stop trying to welcome new people and our attempts to help them feel welcome in our midst. But I do think this will never help UU communities to grow which, I always hear is a big goal for UU communities and the wider UU movement. Well I mean that they will never grow unless we try and respond to the needs and honour the religious/spiritual discovers made by those of us UUs who went throw UU religious exploration classes and YRUU. Just tack a look at the current results of this poll being don on FUUSE the online community for UU and Unitarian youth and young adults. It should be noted that most of the members of FUUSE either have gone throw the YRUU experience and or a young adult one modelled after the YRUU one. So what is this poll saying? Well, it asks the question “Do you feel yourself connected to Unitarian Universalism?” and these are the options and the results (as of 10:45 pm EST).

“Yes, better than ever 34 (28.10%)
Sometimes 25 (20.66%)
I used to, but not so much anymore 37 (30.58%)
Nope 16 (13.22%)
No, I never identified as a UU 0 (0.00%)
No, I’m in the process of finding a new faith community 9
(7.44%)”

So as you can see out of the 121 respondents 62 (51.24%) a little over half of them are struggling with their connections to UUism or have decided it’s better to go look for a new religious/spiritual community and another 25 (20.66%) only feel connected to UUism sometimes. And 34 (28.10%) said “Yes, better than ever”. So what does this all tell us abut the way UU treats its young long time members? Well if the results of this poll are representative of UU identifying young folk (and I think it is) then I feel UUism and its communities thy have a major problem which needs urgent addressing if UUism is to stay vibrant and flourish for a long time to come.

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I know I haven’t posted here in a long time…

I know I haven’t posted here in a long time. But I will try from now on to post at least one post every couple of moths if not one every moth to this blog. And I know I posted this youth and young adult resolution hear that I said I wanted to try and get passed at this years Canadian Unitarian Council’s Annual Conference and Meeting. But I have not been able to get my act together to put it forward for consideration. And further more I am not even able to go to the conference this year after all. Oh well at least there is a birthday party for my Nana happening in Toronto the same weekend, the May long weekend, that shooed end up being quit a good time. Well maybe I will make it to Thunder Bay but not this year.

I’m bringing copies of my resolution to the CUC ACM

I’m bringing copies of my resolution (the “Youth and Young Adult Empowerment Resolution”) to the Canadian Unitarian Council’s (CUC) Annual Conference and Meeting (ACM) in the hopes of spreading the word about it and it’s importance. As I have already stated in some of my previous posts, I am planing to get it on the agenda for next year. But what I have not mentioned is the process I most fallow to have it put on to the agenda. Well my resolution is not a General Social Responsibility Resolution and I was tolled it is not a Social Responsibility Resolution without Notice, so then what is it? Well apparently it is a Social Responsibility Resolution with Notes. So what dose that men? Well it means that in order for it to go on the agenda it must be sinned by at least 15 delegates, which represent at least 5 congregations, and this most be don by the time all the delegates are chosen. Apparently this is 3 months or so before the CUC ACM. And the sinned copes most be sent to the CUC’s offices in Toronto ones they are sinned. Well in order for it to be approved in time to go out with all the other resolutions in the pre-ACM packet which is sent to the congregations and their delegates.

Youth and Young Adult Empowerment Resolution Canadian adaptation – condensed version

After reviewing the Canadian adaptation I made of the Youth and Young Adult Empowerment Resolution written by Victoria Mitchell and Kimberlee Tomczak as well as their newly edited and condensed version, I came to the conclusion my adapted Canadian version it to could be condensed as well. So here is a condensed version of the Youth and Young Adult Empowerment Resolution Canadian adaptation. And I hope a finale version will be ready for adoption by the delegates at next years Annual Business Meeting of the Canadian Unitarian Council tacking place in Thunder Bay over the May long weekend.

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Youth and Young Adult Empowerment Resolution

WHEREAS the future of our organization benefits from the full participation of youth and young adults to enliven, grow and sustain our Unitarian Universalist movement, principles and ideals, including the use of the democratic process within our congregations and society at large; and

WHEREAS Youth and Young Adult empowerment is an attitudinal, structural and cultural process whereby young people gain the ability, authority and agency to make decisions and implement change in their own lives and the lives of other people to create multigenerational equity; and

WHEREAS unique opportunities at the congregational, regional, national and continental level for youth and young adult self-direction create synergy for a larger youth and young adult identity and promote communication and connections between local youth and young adults across the nation and the continent;

BE IT RESOLVED that the delegates at the 2009 Annual Business Meeting of the Canadian Unitarian Council mandate the Canadian Unitarian Council and its member congregations to:
1. Invite ministerial support to youth and young adults through inclusive worship and intentional presence; and
2. Invest financial support in youth and young adult, regional and national leadership bodies when viable; and
3. Provide and promote youth and young adult conferences, leadership and spiritual development events on the regional and national level including appropriate resources to insure they are accessible by all youth and young adults who which to attend them; and
4. Provide support for youth and young adult staff and volunteers to receive suitable training and resources; and
5. Support youth and young adult self-directed anti-racism and anti-oppression work; and
6. Provide and support Our Whole Lives for both youth and young adults; and
7. Attend to the needs of youth and young adult constituents with marginalized identities by providing resources and opportunities within the congregation and at the regional and national level; and
8. Establish and maintain a formal process of cooperation between the Canadian Unitarian Council and the Unitarian Universalists Association and its affiliated organizations (such as YRUU and C*UUYAN), with the stated goal of insuring long-lasting and healthy continental programming for both youth and young adults.

I have never met any of the whiny UU youth you all seem to be speaking about…

What fallow is a response to the Rev. Scott Wells post entitled The youth resolution and the Obama generation as well as all those who commented on it.

I just wont to say I have never met any of the whiny UU youth you all seem to be speaking about. And my best and most healthy experiences, I had them at my district’s youth cons. Whether that was at ones put on by the varying youth groups of the UU congregations throughout southern and northern New York State or at ones I was helping to put on with my youth group at my home church in Ottawa, Ontario Canada, it was marvels. Yes it dos come dawn to the adults how are working with the youth. ‘Cause if the adults go around acting like they always know what is best for the youth only handing out the vary rare opportunity for the youth to manage their own destines then yes, I suppose you would have whiny youth. And I would say they would have good reason to be upset. But, if on the other hand, the adults involved with the teens share their many years of wisdom. Not to mention help the youth to billed up safe spaces like cons and Sunday morning youth groups all filled with opportunities to learn and practise how to be leaders able to billed, run and maintain community with the help of their fellow youth of cores. Then and only then do you have healthy youth programming. But if after the youth graduate from their wonderful UU youth programs, and I hope they are wonderful, you just tell all the youth to now wash their hands of all the good stuff they learned and discovered as youth. I mean to be come proper upstanding adults “gag” able to now do things in the adult way of doing things. And in the UU world that would be the way of the UU immigrants. Then yes you will have whiny young adult. And yes they would have good reason to be upset. And yes I am a young adult, and I have felt the push to become more like the other more, older UU adults who unlike me were not razed UU. And this push it’s always subtle, some of the people who do it are I’m sure not even aware they are doing it and would change if they knew what they should be doing instead. So this whole push for youth and young adult empowerment can be summed up in this definition from the vary resolution you all seem to choose to knock so heartily. And it’s as fallow: “WHEREAS Youth and Young Adult empowerment is an attitudinal, structural and cultural process whereby young people gain the ability, authority and agency to make decisions and implement change in their own lives and the lives of other people to create intergenerational equity”. And yes this is all about equity and equality and just like the women of the women’s movement we, the UU young adults and youth feel it’s hi time we got ours.

Youth and Young Adult Empowerment Resolution Canadian adaptation

This is an adaptation I have made of the great Youth and Young Adult Empowerment Resolution Written by Victoria Mitchell and Kimberlee Tomczak. It’s intended to be a version that the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) can have passed at its Annual Business Meeting. Either at this years CUC Annual Conference and Meeting in Ottawa in May, or more likely at next years in Thunder Bay. And it is pretty much the exact resolution that they wrote with only I think one vary un-Canadian section removed and the language changed to be more CUC friendly, plus I think I added a section about the CUC’s duties and responsibilities in regards to continental activities, events and programming. And the reason for this document is the CUC needs to have the values of youth and young adult empowerment be part of its work with youth and young adults also and ‘cause it also needs to play its role in the future of continental youth and young adult programming. And I do believe the CUC has a roll to play wen it comes to continental youth and young adult programming. Thoughts? And to read the original resolution that was the inspiration for this just go here.

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Youth and Young Adult Empowerment Resolution

WHEREAS youth and young adults in the past have been visionaries for our movement, youth and young adult leaders were a key component of bringing Unitarians and Universalists together in the merger of 1961 and the subsequent creation of the Unitarian Universalist Association; and

WHEREAS the future of our movement benefits from the full participation of youth and young adults to enliven, grow and sustain our Unitarian Universalist movement, principles and ideals, including the use of the democratic process within our congregations and society at large; and

WHEREAS the Canadian Unitarian Council supports the full participation of persons in all of its and their activities and in the full range of human endeavour without regard to . . . age”; and

WHEREAS Youth and Young Adult empowerment is an attitudinal, structural and cultural process whereby young people gain the ability, authority and agency to make decisions and implement change in their own lives and the lives of other people to create multigenerational equity; and

WHEREAS if youth and young adult empowerment is to be a reachable goal in our movement, it is necessary for there to be support in providing unique opportunities at the congregational, regional, national and continental level for youth and young adult self-direction and for youth and young adults to be active, full members of our movement and its, bodes groups organizations and congregations; and

WHEREAS youth and young adult involvement at the regional, national and continental levels create synergy for a larger youth and young adult identity and promote communication and connections between local youth and young adults across the continent; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT Canadian Unitarian Universalists call for a commitment to support youth and young adult empowerment within the Canadian Unitarian Council, including in its regional and national structures, events and bodes, as well as amongst the activities, groups and bodes of its member organizations and congregations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Canadian Unitarian Universalists call for ongoing cooperation with the Unitarian Universalists Association and its affiliated organizations (such as YRUU and C*UUYAN) by the Canadian Unitarian Council and its regional and national, events and bodes, as well as amongst the activities, groups and bodes of its member organizations and congregations to insure long lasting continental programming for youth and young adults, which is in accordance with the values of youth and young adult empowerment; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the delegates at the 2008 Annual Business Meeting of the Canadian Unitarian Council urge all the Canadian Unitarian Universalist congregations to:
1. Annually assess how youth and young adults are or are not supported in worship and congregational settings; and
2. Provide ministerial support to youth and young adults through intentional guidance, presence, devotion and time wen appropriate and needed; and
3. Invest financial support in youth and young adult initiatives when viable; and
4. Provide support for youth and young adult staff and volunteers to receive suitable training and resources; and
5. Attend to the needs of youth and young adult constituents with marginalized identities by providing resources and opportunities within the congregation and at the regional, national and continental levels; and
6. Support youth and young adult self-directed anti-racism and anti-oppression work; and
7. The facilitation of and support for Our Whole Lives for both youth and young adults; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the delegates at the 2008 Annual Business Meeting of the Canadian Unitarian Council urges the Canadian Unitarian Council and its regional and national, events and bodes to:
1. Allot specific staff support for youth and young adult constituents, groups, bodes and their congregations; and
2. Allow for an authentic youth and young adult voice by having youth and young adult regional and national leadership bodies were feasible; and
3. Invest financial support in youth and young adult regional and national leadership bodies; and
4. Provide and promote youth and young adult conferences and leadership development events on the regional national and continental level; and
5. Attend to the needs of youth and young adult constituents with marginalized identities and their groups and congregations by providing resources and opportunities within regional, national and continental levels; and
6. Support youth and young adult self-directed anti-racism and anti-oppression work; and
7. The facilitation of and support for Our Whole Lives for both youth and young adults; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the delegates at the 2008 Annual Business Meeting of the Canadian Unitarian Council urge all the continental Unitarian Universalist institutions be that within the Canadian Unitarian Council, or within the Unitarian Universalist Association or jointly within both to:
1. Invest financial support in youth and young adult programs, initiatives and staff; and
2. Provide accessible resources for youth and young adult constituents at the regional/district, national and congregational level ware appropriate; and
3. Provide accessible resources for youth and young adult constituents, especially those with marginalized identities, who are currently not supported at the regional/district, national and congregational levels; and
4. Provide and promote youth and young adult conferences and leadership development events on the continental level; and
5. Allow for an authentic youth and young adult voice by having youth and young adult continental leadership bodies; and
6. Support youth and young adult self-directed anti-racism and anti-oppression work; and
7. The facilitation of and support for Our Whole Lives for both youth and young adults.

This Youth and Young Adult Empowerment Resolution is a Canadian adaptation by Devin Murphy of the UUA targeted Youth and Young Adult Empowerment Resolution Written by Victoria Mitchell and Kimberlee Tomczak

“Consultation on Ministry To and With Youth Summary Report”, my thoughts…

What follows I also originally posted to one of the threads in the same Faceboox group as, not my last post but the two before it.

This is what I concluded from reading the “Consultation on Ministry To and With Youth Summary Report”, the UUA is trying to move the focus of youth programming from an “adult facilitated but youth led and organized program” to an “adult administrated ministry for youth”. It should be noted that I am getting the impression that the UUA’s goal is to do more things for youth. Instead of what has been the practise amongst Canadian and US UU communities for years, which was manly to help youth billed and maintain healthy communities of their own which would serve their needs. I don’t like this change but maybe it is just because the old way of doing things really served my needs rather vary well for the most part.

Also I fund these passages from the report rather interesting.

Some groups, such as the UUA Board, asserted that lack of ministerial involvement with youth in their congregation, which is sometimes explained by the philosophy of youth empowerment, is actually abandonment. The Board was also concerned that many adults and congregations lack a deep understanding of how to nurture, protect, and empower youth in healthy ways. Ministry & Professional Leadership staff at the UUA noted a lack of pastoral care and attention to youth’s pain. Similarly, others mentioned the need for UUs to be more sensitive and to listen to the lived experiences and emotional and spiritual suffering of marginalized people, including youth.

Some youth seek pastoral care in community with one another; for example, 72 percent of survey respondents of high school age indicated that their youth group helps them explore options and offers suggestions on how to deal with life situations. Congregations discussed the strong bonds formed among youth and the way they form a peer ministry.

And…

Unitarian Universalist youth are like all Unitarian Universalists – they embrace a wide variety of spiritualities and worship styles. Participants at the Central Midwest District gathering reminded us that “youth are members of a community and communities work with the different needs of its members.” Other groups pointed out to us that UU youth communities do not always welcome this diversity; for example, youth at the Metro New York District and Joseph Priestley District gatherings talked about the strong reactions they receive when they talk about God or Christian beliefs. YRUU leaders envisioned a community where youth feel comfortable naming their higher power. Many groups (youth and adults) identified a gap between lifelong, raised-Unitarian Universalists and those who have found Unitarian Universalism. These groups also discussed the perception in congregations that becoming UU is an adult process, rather than something we should raise our children to be.

Then this…

Some youth communities (particularly at the district and continental level) experience tension with the Continental Unitarian Universalist Young Adult Network (C*UUYAN) or young adult community. According to C*UUYAN leaders, this is due in part to inappropriate boundaries of some young adults, generalizations based on age, and no intentional welcoming relationship between the two. The UUA Board called youths’ departure from youth programs a “bridge to nowhere” and called for more welcoming of youth into young adult and camps ministry.

P.S.
So if you are a Unitarian Universalist (UU) and care about UU youth and or the future of UUism in North America I do urge you to go and read the “Consultation on Ministry To and With Youth Summary Report”. And then do give me your thoughts on what you think of it as well as your thoughts on my impressions of it.

Some Unitarian Universalist young adult questions and concerns

I feel there is a saver lack of institutional memory wen it comes to Unitarian Universalist young adult (UUYA) community, weather that’s on the local level, regional/district level or even on the continental level. Let me elaborate for a moment. What I men is we have little if not any knowledge as to why the various UUYA communities and their activities have come to be as they are including what has driven, hindered and heart them throughout their lives, whether that has been long or short. We also have no knowledge of why the founders of these communities set them up the way they did if we even know who their founders were in the first place. As well we have no memory of what has possibly come before in the wide world of UUYA community but may not be here today.

Also I think lots of us would agree that it is often unclear as to why the current batch of UUYAs attend the UUYA activates and events that they do and what they think their proposes are. Let me use Opus as an example. Opus had been the annul continental (i.e. US and Canada) gathering for UUYAs held at varying camps throughout the US and Canada once a year in late summer until it was put on holed at least for this year (2008). Ok Opus for some is a young adult spiritual retreat (i.e. a place for communal rejuvenation of the soul). And for others it’s a young adult spiritual conference (i.e. a place to do the hard work, which will allow us UUYAs to go out into the wider world and attempted to demonstrate how to live in more accepting was for ourselves, and those we interact with). And still for others it’s a place to help grow UUYA community. See by this example you can see that people’s view of a single UUYA event can vary so greatly. And why should this madder to us as UUYAs well, maybe if we want coherent focuses for our events, then we need to have a collective understanding of the purposes of these events. Also if we wont to attract young adults with a common focus to our events then we need to know what the common theme and or mandate of these events are.

And another point how do UUYA groups and they’re varying communities fit into the wider cacophony of UU community and groups, let alone who do raised UU and newbie UU YAs fit into UUYA communities themselves. Also what do the varying UUYAs bring to UUYA community and is it appropriate or even desirable for alumnus of YRUU (Young religious Unitarian Universalists) the UU youth program run on a continental, regional/district and local level to bring things from their over to the UUYA world.

And what I have raised here are all pretty deep questions and concerns. So what to do about it all? Well we as UUYAs can’t just go back in time and gather the missing knowledge about our varying communities and their events and use it to help us go forward. No but we can get-together and attempt to not lose the institutional knowledge that we have gathered from our time in these varying crazily connected communities and use this. Also about finding out why we are involved in the varying UUYA groups events to which we are, well starting a discourse on this is a good start. And by doing these thing maybe we will start to have better focused and more vibrant UUYA communities and events not to mention possibly having some new ones to fill the missing gapes in this our patchwork of communities and events.