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CER Pastoral Care With Youth and Peer Chaplain Training

We all have something to offer. What gifts to you have to share?

Trainings for fall 2018 are on the calendar. Look here to find the one near you.

Pastoral Care With Youth?

Not just the minister's job! As a religious community we provide pastoral care to each other too. Youth advisors, youth RE teachers, Directors of Religous Education, and other adults can provide pastoral care to youth. And youth peers often provide most of the pastoral care youth receive. Because pastoral care is one of the most important ways we care for each other in religious community, this training is one of the most important ones we provide in Youth Ministry.

What's a Peer Chaplain?

Peer Chaplains are peers who are caring, understanding and compassionate trained listeners. Chaplaining isn't about fixing other people's problems, but about keeping them company as they find a way forward. Sometimes peer chaplains volunteer to formally serve as a peer chaplain serve at Unitarian Universalist (UU) events. These are not certified professionals, but every-day people with a desire to serve their fellow human beings. The chaplain is one of the most important positions at a conference or other UU community event because of the emotionally supportive and spiritually nurturing role that they play in the community as a whole.

What's This Training All About?

The training for this event will be led by a pair of facilitators, youth and adult, with experience serving as chaplains and providing pastoral care to youth. The programming is designed to teach basic skills necessary for effective chaplaining such as active listening and responsive awareness. The training also covers serious issues in youth lives, issues of confidentiality, and ethical chaplain behavior.

Regardless of whether one serves as an official chaplain at an event, these skills in peer pastoral care are valuable in many other situations!

This training does cover some sensitive topics including a peer chaplain's role if a youth has experienced child abuse, is considering suicide, or is self-harming.

Who Is This Conference For?

It is for YOUTH (ages 14-18) who want to learn these concepts and skills, and then may possibly act as a peer chaplain at youth conferences or other UU events.

ADVISORS (at least 25 years old) who want to support youth, improve their pastoral care for youth, and who also want to learn the skills and then possibly act as adult peer chaplains at youth cons. (Advisors must be approved as advisors by their congregation and may have some youth supervision responsibility at this event, but will be able to sleep)

This training is also being offered to YOUNG ADULTS (18-35) who are active within the young adult community.

Participants will be chosen for leadership ability and peer chaplaincy potential, and should come prepared for a fun, working training. The application form (see below) will be reviewed by Regional staff who will determine the applicant's appropriateness to serve as a Peer Chaplain after consulting with your reference. This is a training and not a youth community con.

Housing: Participants, adult and youth, are strongly encouraged to sleep at the church. Motels are nearby if sleeping at the church is not a possibility. If you plan to do this, please notify the registrar. All meals during the conference will be provided at the church. Young adults under the age of 25 or not youth advisors, will need to find alternative housing. Contact the registrar of your event if you'd like assistance with this.

Bring: Sleeping bag, air mattress, comfortable clothes, toiletries

???'s: Contact Evin Carvill-Ziemer,, Congregational Life Consultant

As trainings are scheduled around the region, they will be listed on the Central East Region (CER) Youth Calendar.

Each registrant is being asked to answer the following essay questions, you may want to consider your answers before you register.

  • What is your impression of what peer pastoral care is and why does it interest you to learn more about it?
  • Have you had an experience receiving pastoral care, chaplaining or other peer counseling from a trained peer chaplain or counselor? Briefly describe the experience and its impact on you.
  • Have you had any experience giving pastoral care, chaplaining or peer counseling in a formal or informal setting? Briefly describe.
  • Do you have any questions about peer pastoral care and how to provide support for youth experiencing hard things?
  • Content Warning: Because of the nature of peer pastoral care, topics such as suicide ideation, self harm, physical and emotional abuse and trauma, death, depression and anxiety, among other things, may come up. While your own level of sharing is completely up to you, if you have recently experienced or known people who have gone through these things it’s important to consider whether it would cause undue stress or emotional response to be present where people are sharing their own stories and experiences. With this in mind, Is there anything you wish the facilitators to know that will help them be mindful of topics that may be challenging for you? This information will not be shared with other training attendees.
  • Is there anything else the facilitators should know about you that can help them help you succeed over this weekend?
  • Please list a religious professional (or if you do not have a DRE or Minister, an elected leader) who can serve as a reference for you.