What UU Campus Ministry Looks Like in Trump Times

Posted by Annie Gonzalez Milliken // July 12th 2017 // no comments

UU Campus Ministry Partners with Undocumented Student Center

Submitted by the Rev. Beth Banks

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis has a long-standing campus ministry, supported by a Senior Minister, a yearly intern and a Campus Committee from the congregation.

Recently we’ve been asking what it would look like if we did more than provide a home-cooked meal, a facilitated discussion, activities, and pastoral care for students exploring Unitarian Universalist. This year we found out what that could mean.

What has emerged is a very different campus ministry than anything we’ve done before.

In 2014, Beth Banks, our Senior Minister went on a Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice (UUCSJ) immersion trip to the border of Mexico and the United States. (They have lots of programs for youth and young adults, so check them out!)

At the close of the trip all participants were asked to engage with immigration issues in our home communities. What could the UUCSJ participants do at home to make a difference? There was an opportunity just a short bike ride from the UU Church of Davis. In November of 2014 the first Undocumented Student Center in the country opened at University of California Davis (UC Davis) campus. When she returned from the UUCSJ trip, Beth connected with Andrea Gaytan, the Executive Director of the Center.

Everyone was exploring what programs could be offered by a Center that openly supported undocumented people and their families. In 2014 there were about 260 known undocumented students at UC Davis, and the number increased every year. In 2017, there are approximately 500 people who have identified as either DACA protected or attend school without the benefit of DACA. It took a couple of years for Beth and Andrea to discover how the university and the church could work together to benefit the students.

three SPEAK students modeling their T-shirts on Family Day

In 2016, anti-immigrant rhetoric ramped up in our country. How to live our UU values on campus became clearer. Andrea put Beth in contact with SPEAK, the student campus organization that supports UC Davis undocumented students and their allies. Working with SPEAK put us in direct contact with those who needed support beyond what the Center could offer.

We asked, “How can we best help you?” SPEAK students discussed their needs and asked for scholarship money to fund emergencies for undocumented students who have so little means of support. The funds could help students keep an apartment, pay for medical expenses, purchase books, or pay for tuition.

A small group of church volunteers created a Faithify crowdsourcing campaign, and the students set the goal of $5,000. Our campaign unintentionally provided a bitter-sweet distraction for SPEAK students. The Faithify launch date spanned finals week and the students clicked on the site continuously to watch the number of donations increase. We surpassed the goal and raised over $7,000 and the students wept, because suddenly they had almost three times their normal emergency funds for students in need. They also wept because they read the first names of the donors and realized that there were many people they didn’t know who supported them. It wasn’t just the amount that was raised, but the number of donors that moved the students.

Interest at the church in working with SPEAK increased. Every time someone showed interest we directed them to the UndocuAlly training offered by the Undocumented Student Center that explained the vulnerability of the students and what resources were available to them. There are currently 20 people from the congregation who are trained, with more people waiting for the next session. We consider all of these volunteers a part of our campus ministry outreach.

Every Campus Intern will be trained early in their internship. Working with SPEAK is now as much a part of the internship as serving the students who are exploring their Unitarian Universalist values.

And there’s more. Something amazing happens when we quietly offer ourselves to the SPEAK students. The bridge of trust grows, and the students imagine a new ways for us to help them. Every time we offer some form of assistance, we grow a stronger sense of purpose and what it means to live our Unitarian Universalist values.

We were invited to support their yearly retreat where they share their Odysseys and inspire each other by giving witness to each other’s courage and vision. We deliver hearty snacks to the Center during finals, with notes of encouragement for both the students and the Executive Director. The church offers space for their year-end banquet where they honor those who will graduate. And, yes, we have begun having small gatherings where we meet each other socially. Some students miss their home communities and long for safe connections beyond the campus.

We are not privy to who is an ally and who is undocumented. It is very rare for acquaintances or even friends to be trusted with information that could possibly be shared inappropriately.

The UU Church of Davis still sticks to their campus ministry traditions, like a year end cook-out with the students and ministers

Supporting the UU students’ group continues to be important for us as a congregation, but we’ve discovered that there can be a new dimension in campus ministry. Now we are at UC Davis as learners, allies, and we’re learning to become more effective partners in justice-making.

Just like when we develop any relationship, we don’t know the outcome of our companionship with SPEAK. But as we enter our second year working directly with the students, we have asked again, “What is it that you need?”. They have started to imagine, and give us more ideas.

Now there’s something new. Every time we visit the Undocumented Student Center, the lgbtqia Center is housed in the same building. Yes, our Intern from 2016-2017, Elizabeth Assenza and a member of the Campus Committee, Kyria Boundy-Mills, made an appointment with their Executive Director and asked, “Can we come to know each other and is there a way we can offer support?” And yet another conversation has begun, and our Campus Ministry has become a bridge builder beyond what we imagined.

 

 


Rev. Banks is a life-long Unitarian Universalist, originally from Duxbury, Massachusetts. She taught English to political refugees who had relocated to Spokane, Washington. Her work with cultural studies took her to South Korea, where she taught college level English conversation. She served for two years as an Interim Minister for Religious Education at the First Unitarian Church of Rochester. For nine years she was the Parish Minister at the First Universalist Church in Rochester, New York, and served as a campus chaplain at the Eastman School of Music. Rev. Banks has been the Minister at UUCD since August, 2000. 

 

 

 

 

Reflections after Thrive Young Adult

Posted by Elizabeth Nguyen // July 11th 2017 // no comments

Kaitlin Dey, Thrive Young Adult alumni 2016 and 2017, shared this reflection at her congregation last Sunday:

I spent the last 10 days in New Orleans. I attended Thrive Young Adult. Thrive is part of Grow Racial Justice that is for UU young adults of color, we dove deep into complex questions about identity, power, spirituality and leadership. We got to explore our roles as young adults of color in our UU movement, build relationships with one another around intersecting identities, share practices  for healing and resistance, and support each other on the path toward liberation.

While I was at Thrive, I began dialogues about the beauty and the flaws of our faith. As the week continued and General Assembly began, I met with friends I had made last year and we continued our conversation. Being a young UU person of color who is actively involved can be incredible and taxing just like so many other intersections in life. As I spoke to people who were newly considering topics such as white supremacy, I found that there was a common misconception that white supremacy was alluding to a specific person rather than a culture. An image that I found helpful when explaining this concept, was an iceberg. You see, the tip of the iceberg can be a metaphor for those things that are most visible when talking about white supremacy. For example the KKK and Nazis. Whereas the larger more insidious and dangerous parts remain unseen, this part of the iceberg can be likened to the systems that our country was founded on. The terrifying reality is that every single one of us was brought up in a culture that was originally founded to best serve wealthy, white, cis het white men. Anyone else was an “other” and being “other” meant being wrong. 

Another thing that I kept hearing from my discussions with allies, was about all of the “thinking” that was being done. Thinking about how to help, thinking about what to say, thinking about what NOT to say, thinking about what to do. Let me offer this: Thinking is a privilege, one that I did not get. I do not, nor have I ever, had the option to think about opting in to discussions on race, or think about how I needed to show up for action. My options are to act or stop existing. So I urge you not to let thinking stand in the way of taking action. The final topic that stood out in my mind from GA was a phrase that I heard over and over. People, specifically white allies, were invited to ‘lean into their discomfort’.

I’m sorry to say, but in my opinion, that is not enough. When I was 5 years old and called a heathen because of the half of myself that is Indian, I was not invited gently to lean in that discomfort; at 7 when I was told that my dark skin and thick hair were ugly, there was no urging for me to lean in then; and when I was 16 years old walking down the street with my sister and we were approached by a well dressed man in a business suit who told us to go the F*** back to our country now that our leader Osama had been killed, I was not gingerly eased in to the discomforts of this work. These scenarios may come as a shock to some of you, but frankly these are just a few instances and they are incredibly mild and pale in comparison to the atrocities that our Black siblings face every day. I was just a child when I was thrown into the deep end of white supremacist culture and my options were to swim or get swallowed by the treacherous waters. So I not only urge you, but I implore you to jump into the deep-end and learn to swim with the weight of your discomfort. Like Lilla Watson says, “If you have come here to help me, then you are wasting your time… But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Until we answer the call of action and unite with our Black and brown siblings, none of us will be free and our faith will not live on for the generations to come. And that is not a future that I want. So please, answer this call, and join us in the work.


Kaitlin Dey is a biracial Unitarian Universalist young adult. Currently attending school and working two jobs; she is a member of Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist church in California, where she serves both as a Worship Associate and as a Member of the Board of Trustees.

Make an Impact: Be Dean of Youth Caucus

Posted by jennicadavishockett // June 15th 2017 // no comments

LEAD YOUR PEERS @ GA

Youth Caucus Deans are the leaders of the volunteer Youth Caucus Staff for General Assembly and applications are now open through August 10th. Deans work with the Youth Caucus Staff to fulfill the mission and purpose of Youth Caucus, which is to galvanize the youth of our movement by deepening our collective Unitarian Universalist spirituality and helping youth make an impact on our association through General Assembly.

Over the last several months, I have enjoyed my time as Junior Dean. When I first started, I was nervous because I had never experienced leadership on such a large scale, but the idea that I would be working with so many new people in the coming months was exciting. Since August, I have become more confident as a leader and been exposed to countless people and ideas that have enriched my life both in experience and spirit. As we come to the end of this year of planning, with General Assembly 2017 approaching fast, I am now tasked with thinking about what I want in next year’s dean. The purpose of Youth Caucus is to galvanize the youth of our movement, and I encourage you to apply if you want to be a part of it. Hopefully after reading this, you will want to apply to be Junior Dean; I honestly cannot think of another experience like this one.  

As Dean Here’s What You’ll Do…

Travel to Boston for a planning meeting at UUA Headquarters to set the priorities and programming for General Assemblies 2018 (Kansas City, MO) and 2019 (Spokane, WA)…

Select additional staff

Travel to the GA host cities for planning meetings with your staff team…

Facilitate online meetings with youth and adult staff…

Manage your staff team, lead Orientation and workshops at General Assembly…

AND… all of your expenses, including travel, meals, housing and registration at all meetings, for General Assembly 2018 in Kansas City and General Assembly 2019 in Spokane are paid for by the Unitarian Universalist Association.

So you’re considering applying? Good. Do it! You won’t regret it.

DOWNLOAD THE APPLICATION

What about the “fine print”* This is it…

  • Applicants must be high school students (grades 9-12 or the equivalent for home schooled youth) for both years of their term, i.e.: for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school year.
  • Previous attendance at a General Assembly is strongly recommended.
  • Experience with multigenerational leadership teams is highly desired.

Applications are due by 5:00PM (EDT) August 10, 2017

For more information visit uua.org/ycstaff, or contact the Youth Ministry Associate of the UUA Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at youthcaucus@uua.org.

* Fine print, small print, or “mouseprint” is less noticeable print smaller than the more obvious larger print it accompanies that advertises or otherwise describes or partially describes a commercial product or service.[1] (source)

    

Start Here

Posted by T. Resnikoff // May 22nd 2017 // no comments

General Assembly 2017 is almost here! We are so excited that you will be joining us for this incredible experience. Whether you attend every GA Youth Caucus event or come to orientation and then spend the rest of the week exploring the wide range of events, worships and workshops available throughout General Assembly, and whether this is your first or fifteenth General Assembly – we welcome you!

You’ll find all of your Youth Caucus User Guide materials right here on Blue Boat in a special section. Each post covers a different topic that you’ll want to take a look at before your arrival in New Orleans. If you’d prefer, you can download a PDF Version of the User Guide.

Get the GA Mobile App to see program listings and maps, and to create your personal GA schedule and get connected with other attendees.

First, a message from your Youth Caucus Deans:

General Assembly Youth Caucus Attendees-

We find ourselves in some difficult times, both in the greater political world, and within our own UUA. Though the theme of our upcoming General Assembly is Resist and Rejoice, now, more than ever, it may feel like only resistance is possible, like rejoice is out of reach. It might feel like we’re further than ever from the diverse, multicultural, inclusive Beloved Community we seek. As your deans of the Youth Caucus, we’re feeling all of these things, too.

However, youth represent one of the most important voices in our Association. The youth are the voices of change, always of the forefront of justice, equity, and revolution. As your deans, we want your Youth Caucus experience to exist without limits; change is in our hands, and sometimes all that’s needed is a little push and the right people.

Our Youth Caucus programming this year will be finely in-tune with the theme of General Assembly. We will Rejoice together in our orientation, our worships, our game nights, and other fun activities, but we will also be putting our noses to the grindstone with important conversations about Resistance.

The Youth Caucus team has worked hard to ensure that everyone has a great time, so we want you all to use every moment to your advantage. We want every YC participant to discover something new, whether it is about yourself, your community, or our host city, NOLA.  

With all that said, we think we speak on behalf of the entire Youth Caucus staff when we say that we’re beyond excited to welcome you to Youth Caucus, General Assembly, and New Orleans. We hope that this year’s Youth Caucus will be extremely impactful for you all, and we look forward to seeing you there.

In faith,

Eric Broner and Jaidyn Bryant

Youth Caucus Deans

Second, here’s some essential information about requirements and location.

Youth Caucus will meet in room 217-219 of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans which is on the second level. All Youth Caucus programming occurs in this room.

Orientation is required for youth and sponsors. Our Youth and Sponsor Orientation is scheduled for 4:00 pm on Wednesday, June 21st and runs until 5:15 pm in the Youth Caucus room. If you arrive at General Assembly after this orientation, there will be daily make-up orientation opportunities at 8:30 am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Youth and sponsors are required to attend the first orientation that occurs after their arrival. This is the only required Youth Caucus event.

Youth are welcome to attend whatever programming they wish throughout the entirety of General Assembly. See the programming section for schedules and highlights (below).

Finally, here’s what you’ll find on our pages:

  • Meet the GA Youth Caucus Staff: This team of 10 youth and 5 adults have been working hard to bring you awesome programming and to serve you at General Assembly. Get to know them better here.
  • Sponsor Welcome and Responsibilities: Written to sponsors, it is valuable information for youth and parents as well, about sponsor responsibilities, youth-sponsor relationships, and some agreements that youth and sponsors will want to come to before arriving at General Assembly.
  • Programming Highlights: Learn what the Youth Caucus is offering this year, see some highlights from our suggested GA workshop list, and download a blank schedule to plan your GA.
  • Lead at GA: Looking to lead? There are opportunities to get involved in leadership and make an impact on our association through the business of General Assembly.
  • Get Connected: Join our social media networks on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as learn about the opportunities to connect in person throughout General Assembly.
  • Support at GA: Learn more about what our Chaplain team offers.
  • Witness: This year’s witness event is unlike anything we’ve ever done. Learn more about what to expect.
  • Check Lists: What to do before arriving and what to pack! Don’t forget these essentials.

If you have any questions at all about your attendance at General Assembly, contact us at youth@uua.org.

Say Hi to YC Staff

Posted by T. Resnikoff // May 22nd 2017 // no comments

Meet them here virtually, before you meet them for real in NOLA!

 

 

Sponsor Info

Posted by T. Resnikoff // May 22nd 2017 // no comments

Feel free to download and print this letter and the Youth Sponsor Parent/Guardian Sample Agreement.

Hello, Adult Sponsors of Youth!

Welcome to General Assembly 2017 – Resist and Rejoice!

We are Sam Wilson, Kathy Smith, and Pam Lepley –Adult Advisors to the Youth Caucus Staff and your Sponsor Coordinators!

Large spiritual communities like Youth Caucus can be powerful, life-changing, and deeply meaningful. These opportunities cannot happen, however, without the help of Sponsors.

WE ARE GLAD YOU’RE HERE!  WELCOME!
WE OFFER YOU OUR THANKS AND SUPPORT.

Sponsor Role

You, the Sponsor, are responsible for the safety, health, and well-being of the youth you are sponsoring at all times throughout GA. To help prepare, review our Youth Caucus Frequently Asked Questions.

You are on the front line and we are your support team. Join the Youth Caucus 2017 Facebook Group  and RSVP to the General Assembly 2017 Facebook Event where you can ask questions and connect with other sponsors.

Sponsor Coordinators Role

  • We are your primary contacts at Youth Caucus and we support you in your role as Sponsor.
  • We can be reached at (857) 263-3462 at any time during GA. This phone number will be live from June 21st-25th.
  • 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.
  • Along with the Youth Caucus chaplains and UUA staff, we will support your youth if something happens to you.

As Sponsor Coordinators, we will:  be available through the Youth Caucus 2017 Facebook Group in advance of GA; provide an Orientation to Sponsors on Wednesday; support you in upholding the Youth Caucus Covenant created at Orientation and the Youth Caucus Participant Covenant signed prior to GA; welcome you and other adults into the Youth Caucus space and programming; offer reassurance to you in your role as Sponsor; field concerns about youth-related programming; create opportunities for youth and sponsors to connect during GA; and to assist in  re-connecting if you have lost contact with one another. In the event of a youth emergency, we will work with you, the UUA staff, and the appropriate emergency teams to manage the situation.

Traveling with Youth

It is the policy of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries that youth and their sponsors must stay in the same lodging during General Assembly.  We also strongly encourage sponsors to follow their individual congregation’s Safe Congregations Policy when making travel and housing arrangements.  Sponsors or families seeking further guidance can find helpful suggestions in this Youth in Hotels document from the UUA’s Central East Regional Congregational Life Staff.

Prepare for GA

In order to have the best GA experience possible, you and your youth should get to know each other and develop a plan. Before you come to New Orleans, take some time to talk things through so that your expectations of each other are clear.  Review the GA schedule and Program Book together.  We recommend that youth, sponsors, and parents/guardians create and sign their own written “Agreement” together, which includes expectations for both youth and sponsor roles, responsibilities, and limits. Please refer to our sample agreement at the bottom of the page for some items to discuss in advance, such as curfew, expectations for program attendance, and how often you will check in with one another throughout the day. SEE OUR SAMPLE AGREEMENT (Word, PDF).

The First Day of GA

Attend the mandatory Youth Caucus and Sponsor Orientation on Wednesday from 4:00-5:15!

This is where you will meet us as well as all of the other Youth Caucus leaders.  This is the place to get any last-minute questions answered.  Make-up Youth Caucus and Sponsor Orientations are scheduled for 8:30am on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for youth and sponsors arriving after Wednesday. Please attend the first orientation available to you after your arrival, as this is where you will receive vital information for having a fun and safe General Assembly experience.

Look around! Help your youth get oriented to the Convention Center and where it is in relation to your hotel.  Review the ground rules and safety information.  Stock up on snacks for you and your youth.  Take a deep breath!  This is going to be an AWESOME WEEK!!!

Safety, Curfew, and the Unique Environment and Opportunities of New Orleans

Familiarize yourself with the laws concerning minors and the age of consent in Louisiana.

Please note that the curfew for youth under 17 years old is very early! In the French Quarter youth must be accompanied by adults after 8pm nightly, everywhere else youth must be accompanied by adults after 9pm on school nights, 11pm on Friday and Saturday nights.

Programming at General Assembly tends to run until 11pm every night.  To meet curfew laws, an adult must accompany youth back to their hotel/lodging after General Assembly programming each night. We highly recommend that adult be the youth’s sponsor, or an adult that the youth and sponsor trust.  New Orleans police strictly enforce the curfew – they will ask for ID and then arrest.  Please note that a disproportionately high number of arrests for curfew violation are youth of color. Even if your youth are 17 or 18 years old (and thus the curfew law does not apply to them), a police officer might not be able to judge their age properly and might stop them anyhow.

New Orleans and the French Quarter

A cultural hub for the south, New Orleans attracts 9 million+ visitors per year.   With its distinctive architecture, variety of shopping opportunities, and iconic restaurants, many of those visitors are drawn to the French Quarter.

Please note that the French Quarter is experienced differently after dark.  One of the attractions to the Quarter is the street party atmosphere and it is common for people to be loud and inebriated. Please know the boundaries of the French Quarter make sure that your youth knows them as well.

Grabbing beignets at Café du Monde at noon then exploring some shops in the Quarter would be a fun activity with your youth. Trying to stroll down Bourbon Street with your youth (regardless of age) after dark – not so much. While in New Orleans, as in any large and busy tourist town, be aware that pickpocketing and petty crime are real.  Take care with your possessions, including credit cards and cash, Pay attention to how you carry your wallet, purse, and backpack.

New Orleans Curfew for Youth under 17 years old

French Quarter:  8pm nightly

New Orleans, other than area known as the French Quarter: 9pm on school nights, 11pm on Friday and Saturday nights

New Orleans Like a Local – Attend a Festival!

June 24-25 – Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival

Two unique styles of music, both birthed in Louisiana are celebrate at this annual festival.  This free event is held from 11am-7pm both Saturday and Sunday at Louis Armstrong Park, 701 N. Rampart Street.  Food vendors, cooking demonstrations, and local craftsman will all be on hand for the celebration so bring some cash just in case if you want to check it out for lunch or dinner.

We look forward to Resisting and Rejoicing with you in New Orleans!

Sincerely, Sam Wilson, Kathy Smith, and Pam Lepley

Meet Your Sponsor Coordinators

*Questions before arriving? Please email youth@uua.org with inquiries about Youth Caucus prior to General Assembly.


Youth, Sponsor and Parent/Guardian  SAMPLE AGREEMENT

General Assembly (GA) 2017– New Orleans, LA

Download this Sample Agreement (Word or PDF)

The Following are *some* examples of important items for Youth, Parent(s)/Guardian(s) And Sponsors to discuss before going to General Assembly.

We agree that before leaving for GA we will discuss our individual and mutual responsibilities, limits and expectations. Some examples of these may include:

  • What is the youth hoping for from participation in GA? What does the parent/guardian hope for?
  • What are the parent/guardian/sponsor’s/youth’s own expectations for youth behavior?
  • What does the parent/guardian expect from the sponsor?  What does the youth expect?
  • How can the parent/guardian best be contacted? What are everyone’s expectations in terms of how often, or under what circumstances, parent(s)/guardian(s) are to be contacted?
  • How will youth and sponsors arrange meals? How much spending money should the youth bring?
  • How will any medications be monitored and or administered?
  • How will sponsors be aware of relevant medical conditions, allergies, or ability to treat youth with over-the-counter medications?
  • What are your agreements around safety? What is your plan in case of any emergency?
  • What are your agreements around self care, including sleeping, eating, etc.?
  • How will you take what you’ve learned back to your home congregation and/or district/region?

The Following are *some* specific examples of agreements that the Youth and their Sponsor may wish to make:

In Terms of Spending Time Together At GA:

We, the Youth and the Sponsor, agree to meet at least ___ times per day while at GA, at a time and place that works for both of us.  Examples of good times/places to do so:

  • We will attend general session, a workshop or worship together.
  • We will share a meal.
  • We will check in at an agreed time/place.  

In Terms of Communicating with Each Other During GA:

We, the Youth and the Sponsor, agree that before leaving for GA we will create a system for communication with each other.  Examples of good systems of communication include the following:

  • We will carry each other’s cell phone number and hotel room number at all times.  
  • The convention center may have limited cell phone reception. We will have a back-up plan in case we can’t reach each other by phone.
  • We will designate a specific Meet Up Spot where we will generally meet up by default, rally as a group, go back to if we lose each other, etc.
  • We will share our expected schedules so we can find each other in an emergency.  

In Terms of Individual Responsibilities at GA:

    • We, the Youth and the Sponsor, agree to attend the mandatory Wednesday afternoon Orientation or the first available Orientation for arrival after Wednesday’s meeting..
    • Sponsor: I understand the Adult Sponsor Code of Ethics and I pledge to follow it.  I also understand and agree to the expectation that adult sponsors will not drink alcohol or take inebriating or illegal drugs while at GA.
    • Youth:  I agree to attend at least ___ events (workshops, Youth Caucus-sponsored events, General Sessions, and/or worship services) while at GA.
    • Youth:  I agree to the rules as outlined in the “Participant Policy and Covenant,” and will obey all state and local laws, as well as the laws of the hotel or residence where we are staying. I will also abide by the policy on sexuality and community.
    • Youth:  I agree to the curfews set by my sponsor.  I understand that while at GA I am the responsibility of my sponsor.  Please note the New Orleans city curfew for unaccompanied youth:

Children 16 or younger who are not accompanied by a parent or guardian must be home by 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday in the summer. On Friday and Saturday, they need to be home by 11 p.m. – unless they are in the French Quarter or a section of Faubourg Marigny that includes Frenchmen Street. Curfew in the French Quarter is 8pm nightly.

Youth, Sponsor and Parent(s)/Guardian(s):  We understand that this agreement is created between us to ensure comfort and safety for youth, sponsors and parents/guardians.  We further understand that if the youth violates any GA rules, parents/guardians will be notified and the youth will be sent home at the expense of the parent/guardian.

_____________________            ____________________             __________________

Youth Signature                               Parent Signature                              Sponsor Signature

Please Note:  

This is a *sample* agreement between youth, sponsors, and parents.

Look it over.  Modify it.  Make it your own.  

Create your own agreement between yourselves!

Agreements between youth, sponsors and parents/guardians should be built on mutual respect and understanding.  Everyone benefits when youth, sponsors and parents/guardians all agree in advance about what they expect from each other.

You may want to print your own modified version of this document and formally sign it in each other’s presence to help you remember the covenant you have made with each other.

 

Program Highlights

Posted by T. Resnikoff // May 22nd 2017 // no comments

General Assembly is jam packed with tons of amazing programing. There’s no way you could do it all, so be strategic in how you plan your schedule. Use this blank grid to fill in your schedule. Note the mandatory Youth Caucus Orientation from 4:00-5:15pm on Wednesday. If you are won’t arrive in time to attend that orientation, make-up orientations will be held at 8:30am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Check out these highlights in the GA Youth Caucus room and throughout GA. If you have any questions about programming, don’t hesitate to send an email to youthcaucus@uua.org for more information.

If you want to check out the entire schedule:

Download the daily programming PDF and check out the Business Agenda to see the full range of what’s offered at General Assembly, including workshop descriptions. Note: all Youth Caucus workshop descriptions are included in these resources.

Download the GA App for a digital copy of the Program Book content, as well as a number of other tools.

Youth Caucus Highlights

Remember, Youth-Sponsor Orientation Wednesday at 4:00pm is mandatory. Everything else is up to you.

Youth Caucus and Sponsor Orientation – Wednesday 4:00pm. Learn about what to expect at GA, meet the Youth Caucus staff, and learn about the exciting opportunities available this week. Start to build relationships with other youth and sponsors and have some fun!

Youth Delegate Orientation – Wednesday 5:15pm. For youth representing their congregation as delegates.

Youth Caucus Worship – Wednesday 9:30pm. All are welcome to be present for music and inspiration as we lift our hearts and begin our week at GA! Please note that New Orleans’ curfew is 9pm on school nights so youth under 17 must leave the convention center with an adult. Want to be involved in leading this worship? Apply to be a storyteller!

Creating Connections: Youth Led Games – Thursday 1:30pm. Begin the week with fun games that will strengthen community, teach leadership, and make you laugh!

Communities of Resistance – Thursday 3:15pm. This panel discussion followed by small group conversations will gather local organizers and community members for storytelling and conversation.

Candid with the Candidates: Discussion and Questions with the UUA Presidential Candidates – Thursday 5:00pm. Get to know the UUA presidential candidates through interactive discussion and Q&A. 

Hands and Hearts Raised: YA@GA and Youth Caucus Worship – Thursday 9:30pm. Join your voices and hands in celebration of our spiritual ancestors who teach us how to resist and rejoice. Please note thatNew Orleans’ curfew is 9pm on school nights so youth under 17 must leave the convention center with an adult.

Rock the Boat: A Youth Impact Strategy Session – Friday 1:30pm. Harness the power of Unitarian Universalism and strategize with your peers on how to best help GA engage in social witness on issues that matter to you.

Activate Joyful Witness: A Workshop on Art & Activism – Friday 3:15pm. With guest artists and activists, we’ll prepare to bring spirited presence to Public Witness.

Youth in Community Organizing – Saturday 1:30pm. Using real life examples as case studies, breakout groups will be challenged with brainstorming community organizing strategies.

Activate Sustained Resistance: Taking It Home – Saturday 3:15pm. Youth leaders will share ways to stay sustained while we create action plans to bring back to our communities.

Game Night – Saturday 9:45pm. Join the youth caucus for some team games, as well as plenty of board games, card games and crafts. Please note that New Orleans’ curfew is 11pm on Friday and Saturday so youth under 17 must leave the convention center with an adult.

Youth Caucus Closing Circle: Reflect and Renew – Sunday 10:45am. Begin the last day of General Assembly reflecting on the connections made and the things learned during the week.

Luminary Leaders and Alumni!

If you are part of the Luminary Leaders program, you are invited to a reception at Gordon Biersch by the Hilton Riverside at 12:30pm-1:15pm on Thursday. RSVP for details.

Highlights for Youth and Young Adults of Color!

Young Adults of Color Lunch – Friday 12:15pm

Location TBD

Youth of color lunch – Saturday 12:15pm

Hilton Riverside — Cambridge

Diverse Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries workshop track – Room 223

Exploring Intersectional Identity with Personal Storytelling – Thursday 1:30pm

Discovering Your Personal Theology of Resistance – Thursday 4:30pm

Post Traumatic Ministry – Friday 1:30pm

Children of Color and Their Needs in Congregations – Friday 3:15pm

Introduction to the Global Majority Collective – Saturday 1:30pm

DRUUMM Worship: Intersectional Allyship within Unitarian Universalism – Saturday 3:15pm

Room 206-207

Finally, we end with a worship service and return to our UU identities while asking ourselves, what would UUism centered on POCs look like?  This leaves us with some visioning and imagining of a future in which we lead from the margins and become the face of our UU movement.    

Grow Racial Justice Track Thursday, Friday and Saturday 3:15-4:30pm

YA@GA space – 214

Guided by songs and stories, join in this distilled version of the Grow Racial Justice summer program! In this first session, we’ll explore our identities as people of color, the power of our ancestors, the internalized oppression we’ve learned, and strengthen our spiritual muscles.  In this second session, we’ll share about our diversity as people of color, what we need from each other as POC and how to have each others backs.  In this final session, we’ll talk about this movement moment, the skills of community organizing and facilitation that we need for this urgent now.

BLUU Anti-Blackness Workshop – Friday 3:15pm

Room R06

Anti-blackness is a global phenomenon that affects people in every cultural and ethnic group. Within larger systems of structural oppression, it translates to higher rates of social ills, including poverty, unemployment, poor health outcomes, and substandard housing. We will also discuss the impact of anti-blackness in our congregations and beyond.

Highlights for LGBTQ+ Youth!

LGBTQ+ Youth Game Night – Thursday 10:00pm

Hilton Riverside Chequers Room
Join us for snacks, beverages and a whole lot of fun! Please note that New Orleans’ curfew is 9pm on school nights so youth under 17 must leave the convention center and the Hilton Riverside with an adult. Please travel in groups.

Highlights for Bridging Youth!

Finding UU Community While On The Move: A Young Adult Story Thursday 1:30pm

YA@GA space – 214
As YAs, our lives change at the drop of a dime. We are constantly on the move: entering new cities, graduating, switching jobs, and changing housing. New challenges present themselves as we connect our UU principles to our lives. Come learn and share strategies with your peers.

Bridging Reception: Coffee and Conversation Before the Service –  Sunday 8:00am

YA@GA space – 214

Come celebrate those who have bridged in the Synergy worship service with what we UUs do best: coffee! This will be a chance for bridgers and YA@GA to converse and connect with each other.

Synergy Bridging Worship – 5:00pm Saturday

Some notes for Bridgers:

  • Sign up at General Assembly in the Youth Caucus room on the sheet on the wall.
  • We need volunteers to come to rehearsal. Rehearsal is at 4:45 pm in the General Session Hall on Friday.
  • Arrive no later than 4:45 pm on Friday outside of the General Session Hall. We also encourage your youth groups and family to sit up-front.
  • You will be on stage during the service and asked to speak your name and congregation into a microphone. Some choose to dress up for this worship but you are not required to do so.

Large GA Events to Get Excited For!

Youth Caucus has special reserved seating at all events held in the General Session Hall. Find out the location at Youth-Sponsor Orientation (Wednesday 4:00pm) or look for the giant inflatable palm tree!

Welcoming Celebration – 7:30pm Wednesday

Kick General Assembly off right with a hearty multigenerational celebration with great music. Each congregation attending brings a banner and members march in a banner parade. Ask your congregational leaders if you can carry your congregation’s banner!

Postcards to Incarcerated Youth and Adults – 10:00am-12:00pm Thursday

GA Exhibit Hall

Send a warm UU General Assembly 2017 greeting to a youth or adult incarcerated in Louisiana. Participants will send postcards and personal messages in other formats to incarcerated children and incarcerated members of Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF). The Sunday Collection beneficiary Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) is partnering with CLF in this communications project.

Days for Girls Sustainable Menstrual Hygiene Kits fight Poverty and Isolation – 10am Saturday

GA Exhibit Hall

An assembly line of volunteers will package kits to distribute to girls in New Orleans and around the world. Pre-registration for the assembly line is required.

General Session – 8:45am-12:15pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 12:30-3:30pm Sunday

Join other youth in our special seating to learn about and influence the business of our association. For youth who are delegates, General Sessions are not to be missed as this is where all the voting happens.

Service of the Living Tradition – 8:00-9:30pm Thursday

Sort of like a bridging ceremony for religious professionals, this is where we honor the continuing development of our ministers and religious educators. We like to show our support at this event in the hopes that it will encourage adults to attend our Synergy Bridging Worship.

Presidential Candidates Forum: If you haven’t heard, we’re electing a new president this year! This will likely be the three candidates answering pre-selected questions. Learn about each candidate and how to vote here.

Synergy Bridging Worship – 5:00pm Saturday

The annual General Assembly Bridging Service, open to all, and especially honoring youth transitioning into young adulthood. This is a transformative multigenerational worship. Come be inspired and illuminated at a celebration of treasured worship elements, rites of passage and brilliant contemporary musical performances.

Public Witness – 5:00pm Friday Learn more in the Witness section.

UU’s from around the country will celebrate love’s power to resist hate and fear and commit to helping make our communities a “sanctuary” – safe spaces for people under threat – at GA and beyond. The event will begin with a second line with the Young & Talented Brass Band.

Ware Lecturer Bryan Stevenson – 8:30pm Saturday

Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned.

 

For workshops not hosted by Youth Caucus check the General Assembly Programs and Schedule and for other awesome highlights and worships check Program Highlights on UUA.org/ga

 

Lead at GA

Posted by T. Resnikoff // May 22nd 2017 // no comments

Getting Involved at General Assembly

Hey everyone, Hannah, and Annalee here…

your Youth Caucus business managers, and we’re so excited to help you make an impact at this year’s General Assembly.  You are not only the leaders of tomorrow but the leaders of today.  This may sound a little daunting, but don’t worry, we’re here to support and guide youth and delegates who are youth through all the business of General Assembly!

Want to be involved in the Wednesday Welcoming Worship? Have a story of a time you encountered resistance in a social justice context, resisted oppression or oppressive systems, or rejoiced in a social justice context?  Apply to be a storyteller for worship!

The Hardest Part of Doing Anything is Starting

The first thing you can do to get involved at GA simply show up to some workshops! The Business team will host two sessions (during workshop slots #3 and #4) along with a delegate orientation right after your mandatory youth caucus orientation.  The delegate orientation (Wednesday, 5:15 in room 217-219) serves as a great first step to becoming comfortable with the GA business.  This will be a time to ask questions and familiarize yourself with our faces because we are here to support you however we can throughout the upcoming week.  

In our first Involved Youth Strategy session (Thursday, 5:00-6:15), Candid with the Candidates, you will have the opportunity to informally meet the UUA presidential candidates that we will be voting on.  This is a very special opportunity for Youth Caucus members, as it gives us a chance to have all of the current candidates’ undivided attention and gives you a clearer idea of which candidate you would like to support. Check out this Comparison of the Presidential Candidates we made, and bring your questions for the candidates to this session!  

During the second session (Friday, 1:30-2:45 pm), Rock the Boat, we will discuss how we want to make an impact on our association and make our voices heard. We’ll help you achieve what you want to achieve. Strategize with peers and supporters to influence the decisions made about our association.   

Make an Impact

Another way to get involved and make an impact on our association is through the General Sessions. During these sessions, which happen from 8:45am to 12:15pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 12:30-3:30pm on Sunday, the business of GA is brought forth, debated, and voted on. Attending General Sessions can help you better understand business and gives delegates who are youth the option of debating, making statements, and voting. This is where all the action happens during GA and it’s incredible to be a part of moments that change our UUA. Also, you have the opportunity to earn a ribbon for your name tag with us, by playing the renowned GenSesh BINGO.  If BINGO isn’t enough, there’s a bonus of getting to sit with us and ask us every question that exists, as we will be attending every General Session!

Be a Delegate

Being a delegate really is the key to having an amazing General Assembly. There are not a lot of communities in which adults affirm youth under the age of 18 as capable, informed and equal participants of a governing structure, so you should take advantage of it!  General Sessions also serve as a critical way in which we, as UUs, practice our Fifth Principle– the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large. We have a unique opportunity to take the UU values we all share and contemplate the best ways to put them into practice as an association. We, as youth, bring the unexpected ideas, the unanswered questions, and the unexplored routes. When we make the choice to speak up, stand with, or second an action, we are amplifying the voices of all the unrepresented youth and taking part in something much bigger than Youth Caucus, because it affects everyone at GA.  This is exactly why we need youth like you to become involved and lead during General Assembly, so UUs everywhere can have a new, interesting perspective: yours.

Connect

Posted by T. Resnikoff // May 22nd 2017 // no comments

How can I connect with others while at GA? What is the Youth Caucus Social Media presence?

In Person

Attending workshops with other youth is a great way to connect with other youth. A few youth caucus members will be gathering groups to go to non-YC workshops as well.  Beyond that, there are several ways to connect around shared interests, shared geography, or shared identity. Ask people to lunch to talk about your shared interests! NOLA has plenty of wonderful restaurants. Reminders of events will be posted in the Youth Caucus Room.  

Creating Connections Workshop

Don’t miss this opportunity to broaden your connection with other youth! Come to our workshop dedicated to games focused on community and having fun so you can meet other GA youth participants. Create a time you will remember and game ideas you can take back to your youth group! (1:30-2:24pm Thursday in the Youth Caucus room 217-219.)

Name Tag Colors

Collect different colors for your name tag that correspond with youth events throughout General Assembly! See how many you can collect over the course of GA. If you see someone with a color you haven’t collected, ask them how it went!

Small Groups

Want to connect more deeply with a small group of youth? Be sure to sign up for Small Groups during orientation. Small groups will meet several times during GA – same people, same group – and get to know each other while sharing more about your experiences and ideas about Social Justice, Unitarian Universalism, and Life at GA in New Orleans.

Friend Ship Table

Set up in the Youth Caucus room will be a table designated for people to sit down if they are hoping to meet new people or need someone to hang out with. There will be craft supplies and some games at this table for use between workshops. Have fun meeting new people in a friendly setting.

CommUUnity Cards

Youth Caucus Staff will be distributing these interactive cards that will allow for youth to kickstart a fun, intergenerational GA experience. Cards will instruct players to take pictures with new people, find others wearing specific items, sing, dance, laugh, and most of all, pass the enjoyment along to others. Not just limited to Youth Caucus, bring these to the larger GA community.

Online

Join, follow, like, and use our hashtags! On all platforms, the General Assembly hashtag is #UUAGA and the Youth Caucus hashtag is #YouthCaucus. Use them both! Our GA Youth Media Volunteers will be using a variety of platforms to share their experiences at General Assembly.

Gayouthcaucus and UUAYaYA on Snapchat: Follow to see a live “story” of all the happenings at Youth Caucus!

Youth Caucus Snapcode

 

 

 

 

 

 

Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries Snapcode

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@GA_Youth_Caucus on Instagram: Platform for sharing photos throughout GA and Youth Caucus. Tag us and we’ll repost your best shots!

Youth Caucus 2017 on Facebook: A private group for those interested in the GA Youth Caucus. Share links, have discussions and keep in touch after GA is over.

@YouthCaucusGA on Twitter: Follow for links, photos, updates and live tweets from sessions. Turn on tweet notifications to be notified of when youth caucus events are happening!

The General Assembly Program App has connection features, including tracking of the #uuaga twitter hashtag and a photo feed, in addition to the scheduling, program info and the opportunity to earn points and badges. Feel free to share your CommUUnity Card pictures (the details of this fun game will be explained during Orientation on Wednesday from 4:00-5:00pm in the Youth Caucus room 217-219) on the app with the corresponding hashtag! You can follow your friends and see what programs they are going to.

Follow these accounts to keep up on what’s happening at GA as well

Twitter:

@UUWorld
@UUA
@UUCSJ
@YOurUUA
@uuaga

Facebook:

General Assembly Facebook Event
UU World Facebook

Get Support

Posted by T. Resnikoff // May 22nd 2017 // no comments

HI EVERYBODY!

We are your Youth Caucus peer chaplains, Kiernan and Nyana, and we can’t wait to meet you all in New Orleans in June! We, along with the rest of the Youth Caucus staff, are looking forward to working with all of you to provide logistical and spiritual support for you to grow and become more involved in Unitarian Universalism throughout the course of General Assembly (GA). Whether you’ve been to GA before or not, it can, and most likely will, at times be both exciting and overwhelming. That’s perfectly normal and we’re here to support you throughout this incredibly immersive experience!

Here are some tips and resources that you can utilize at GA:

A chaplain is someone for you to talk to. A sort of spiritually equipped peer mediator. We have training in listening, crisis intervention and non-directive helping. We are here to provide you with an outlet for feelings and a compassionate presence. We won’t give you advice to solve a problem, but rather we will listen to you and help you come up with solutions yourself.

There are also amazing adult chaplains for Youth Caucus! They are Shari and Jordan and they’re super friendly and would love to talk with you at any time.

You can call us anytime at GA at (857) 321-8697. This phone number will be active from June 21st through June 25th.

Come to a chaplain if. . .

  • you’re feeling lonely
  • you don’t know how to handle a situation
  • you’re really excited about all of the rad things going on at GA
  • you’re having difficulties with another GA attendee
  • you want to talk about a workshop
  • you want to talk about something that happened awhile ago but is still upsetting you
  • something scary just happened
  • something super great just happened!
  • you’re uncomfortable with something at GA
  • you have a conflict that you’d like us to bring up with the rest of the Youth Caucus Staff
  • you miss your parent/friend/significant other/pet
  • you’re worried about somebody
  • you just want someone to talk

We will have a Friend Ship table and Rose, Thorn, Bud wall in the Youth Caucus room you can visit anytime the space is open. These resources are a cool place to go if you’d like some company and you can:

  • play a game!
  • draw a picture!
  • write something to put on the Rose, Thorn, Bud Wall or the Meetup Board!
  • meet up for a meal!
  • find new friends!
  • Make a public statement of gratitude!
  • Make a statement that goes directly to chaplains, either anonymously or not!
  • Build radically inclusive community, together!

Self care…

  • GA is a marathon not a sprint, pace yourself
  • don’t feel like you have to do everything, but try some new things!
  • drink water, eat, take showers, brush your teeth
  • check in with your sponsor, let them know if there’s anything they can do to help better your GA experience
  • let the Youth Caucus Staff know if there’s anything they can do to help improve your experience at GA
  • take time to sleep! Programming starts early and ends late and we want to be energized throughout!
  • talk to someone post-programming or whenever you feel you need to debrief

It’s been a difficult, stressful, and in some ways, transformative year for many of us. Youth Caucus chaplains are here specifically for the spiritual and emotional support of youth at GA, but we also want to let you know about a few other resources for support.


Even if you can do it ALL yourself, it never hurts to get support when you need (or want) it.