Our program for young people is designed to help them explore and develop their values in the spiritual and moral context of Unitarian Universalism.
We meet weekly from 10-11 a.m., starting upstairs with welcoming words from a worship associate and the minister, the lighting of our chalice and a hymn. After listening to that day’s Call to Worship, we all participate in saying—and signing with sign language—our Shared Affirmation.
That leads into the Time for All Ages, when children, young people and the adult congregation hear a special message—an engaging story or presentation, sometimes followed by a discussion. From time to time, our young people sing or use drama, poetry, puppets or some other artistic expression to convey a message of their own. At about 10:20, we make our way downstairs to our classroom, joyfully serenaded by the congregation!
We have a mixed-age group of children/youth, from toddlers to teenagers. The older children often help the younger ones, and older teenagers who have grown up with the program sign up to take on childcare responsibilities for little ones and to assist the teacher.
Downstairs, we first share our joys and sorrows. Then we work on a theme together, often influenced by the young people’s ideas. We have studied moral tales, taking care of our earth, global awareness, responsibility for others, friendship, mindfulness, acceptance of all people and bullying. Rather than leave themes behind, we concentrate on them for 1-6 weeks, then re-visit them during the year.
A reason our young people work cooperatively and happily together may be that we approach our themes through art, puppetry, storytelling, theater and other creative lenses. Hand in hand with this approach, we also emphasize the nurturing of mutual respect, empathy, responsibility for one another and awareness of what makes a group flourish.
Our students have developed a strong sense of community and truly enjoy being together! It is a delight and an honor to walk alongside them as they make the journey to discover their own paths, and learn what it is to live fully and with intention.