Sponsor Welcome and Responsibilities
Essential info for the adults accompanying youth to General Assembly.
First, start with this video from this year’s Sponsor Coordinators.
Next, your Sponsor Coordinators have written you a welcome letter.
We are Jessica Laike, James Forrest and Joanne Dingus – Advisors to Youth Caucus Staff and your Sponsor Coordinators! The first thing we’d like to say is THANK YOU! Large spiritual communities, like Youth Caucus, can be powerful . . . life-changing . . . and deeply meaningful, but they can’t happen without adults sponsors. Whether you’re brand-new or have done this a dozen times, you are vitally important. We’re glad you’re here!
Youth Caucus provides meaningful, relevant programming opportunities that make GA a positive, spiritually engaging, justice-seeking experience for youth.
What YOU Do–What WE Do
You, the Sponsor, are responsible for the safety, health and well-being of the youth you are sponsoring at all times throughout GA. We, the Sponsor Coordinators, will support your efforts by helping you and your youth overcome disagreements, reassure you in your role as sponsor, help connect you with your youth if you have lost contact with one another, field your concerns about youth-related programming, and work to make sure you and other adults feel welcome at Youth Caucus programming. In the event of a youth emergency, we will work with you, the UUA staff and the appropriate emergency teams.
In order to have the best GA experience possible we recommend that you and your youth get to know each other and develop a plan. Here are some talking points to share with your youth before you arrive.
- How will you communicate with your youth? Cell phone? Face-to-face? How often?
- What are your mutual expectations as to limits or boundaries? (Be aware that there is a mall, a train station and a river nearby.)
- How will you take care of yourselves as far as sleep, meals, etc?
- What is your agreement around safety? Will youth need to travel in groups, etc? Please note that there is no city curfew for youth so we recommend that you set your own.
- What is your agreement around your youth’s participation in GA and Youth Caucus events? (Orientation is the ONLY mandatory programming for youth.)
- What are your mutual hopes for Youth Caucus at GA?
- What is your emergency plan?
- How will you touch base on the really good stuff going on?
- How will you take what you’ve learned to your home congregation and/or district?
Before you come to Providence, take some time to talk these things through so that your expectations of each other are clear. A written agreement between youth, sponsors and parents is sometimes a helpful tool – we’ve provided a sample on the back of the printable page that has lots more suggestions to talk about. (The link to the page is below.) Feel free to change it to reflect your own needs and expectations.
What to do on the first day of GA
- Come to the mandatory Youth Caucus Orientation on Wednesday from 4:30-6:00!
- This is where you meet Youth Caucus leaders and get your questions answered.
What to expect from your Sponsor Coordinators
- We support you, the sponsor and are your primary contacts at Youth Caucus.
- We will be reachable, beginning Wednesday at 6pm, at the following phone number: 617-416-4085
- At least one of us will be at every Youth Caucus-sponsored activity.
- Contact us if you need us – we’ll contact you if we need you.
- With the Youth Caucus chaplains and UUA staff, we will support your youth if something happens to you.
See you in Providence- Love Reaches Out!
Jessica Laike, James Forrest and Joanne Dingus
Finally, take a look at a sample agreement between youth, parents and sponsors:
This agreement includes expectations about communication, check-ins, meals, attendance, curfew and more. It is helpful to come to these agreements before arriving at General Assembly.