Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog


Youth Coming of Age–Here it comes for 2010-11

Youth Coming of Age (COA)—What Is It?  What Is Its Purpose?

In COA, our youth explore what it means to be a UU and gain support in moving toward the adult role of identifying and acting on personal beliefs and values.  It recognizes and publicly honors the movement of a youth from childhood to adolescence within the UU tradition.  COA has been called the UU equivalent of the Christian Confirmation and the Jewish Bat Mitzvah or Bar Mitzvah.  It’s not a part of our weekly Sunday School program, but is in addition to our Youth Groups.

With its own schedule and separate registration process, COA involves individual activities, family participation, and working with a mentor.

Goals of the Program:

  • Review and summarize religious and spiritual growth and learning as youth prepare for the transition to adulthood
  • Explore ways to articulate one’s Unitarian Universalist identity
  • Experience service to others as a primary component of our UU faith
  • Practice communication and negotiation skills with parents
  • Develop a sense of self as a maturing individual
  • Learn what it means to be a member of a faith community
  • Create friendship and build connections among peers and the whole congregation

Components:

  • Personal Challenge. Participants will take part in activities that challenge and build their skills, competence and confidence. This includes a ropes course and two other retreats.  It may include a social action or service project and a bake sale or other fundraising project.
  • Faith Statement. Youth will develop a statement (“Credo”) to reflect their current religious or spiritual beliefs, with the goal of presenting it in a worship service with the ministers in the spring.
  • Mentors. Each youth will work with an adult mentor and a youth peer mentor throughout the program. Mentors and youth will meet at least once a month as a Covenant Group to discuss topics and participate in activities. Parents will be invited to participate together in sessions focusing on communication and teen issues.

Activities at  UUSS: Each youth is paired with an adult mentor who is a member of this congregation. Throughout the program, youth investigate their personal spirituality with the support of their mentor.  At monthly Sunday night activities with mentors, our ministers, and volunteer COA leaders, youth explore UU heritage, leadership, theology and beliefs, and spiritual practice.  Youth are challenged and encouraged to develop a greater sense of what they believe through workshop discussions with each other, ministers, lay leaders and guest speakers.

With support, each youth prepares a Faith Statement or “Credo” — written statements of personal belief and perspectives developed over the course of the program. The process culminates with a special worship service and celebration banquet in the spring.  Youth will work with the ministers to plan the songs and other elements of the service.  They read their Faith Statement to the congregation during the service.  It’s a highlight of our church year!

Activities with other UU Congregations: We will reap the benefits of being part of the larger Unitarian Universalist community of the UU Pacific Central District.  Among other district activities, our COA youth and adult chaperones will attend three exciting and well-supervised weekend retreats out of town.  (See enclosures). The District’s cost of the program is $350 per child, and the commitment for attendance is a significant one.  If you have questions, please bring them to the July 25 meeting or let Roger know.  Support is available for financial hardships, as we hope to include all interested youth in COA.

How to find out more information:  If you are in the Sacramento area on Sunday, July 25, please make sure to attend the Coming of Age Informational Meeting after church, 11:30 am to 12:10 pm, in Room 7/8. This is a wonderful opportunity to have all of your questions addressed by adults and youth who have experienced the COA program in previous years.  We have child care for any younger children.

Important Dates for 2010 – 2011

The retreats, UUSS group meetings and worship service are mandatory

Event                                                          Date                                Time                                Location

Informational Meeting for Parents and Youth   Sunday, July 25                11:30 am – 12:30 pm   Sacramento

Orientation for Parents, Youth and Mentors     Sunday, September 19      6:30 – 8:30 pm            Sacramento

Threshold Retreat with Ropes Course             October 8 – 10                  Weekend                      Santa Rosa

UUSS Youth & Mentor Group meeting             Sunday, November*          6:00 – 8:00 pm            Sacramento

UUSS Youth & Mentor Group meeting             Sunday, December*          6:00 – 8:00 pm            Sacramento

Social Justice Retreat                                    January 28 – 30                 Weekend                  San Francisco

UUSS Youth & Mentor Group meeting             Sunday, February*            6:00 – 8:00 pm            Sacramento

UUSS Youth & Mentor Group meeting             Sunday, March*                6:00 – 8:00 pm            Sacramento

Nature Vigil Retreat                                      April 8 – 10                       Weekend             campground TBA

UUSS Youth & Mentor Group meeting             Sunday, April*                  6:00 – 8:00 pm            Sacramento

COA Worship Service                                    Sunday, May 22*              Regular service times(s) Sacramento

COA Celebration Dinner                                Sunday, May 22                Banquet Dinner          Host site TBA

*Exact dates To Be Announced by September

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