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Special training is not required to lead Riddle and Mystery. The curriculum is a complete program with more activities and ideas than most groups will be able to use and detailed guidance for presenting them to youth. Any lay or professional religious education leaders with the required time and energy can lead this program. Co-leadership is recommended, with at least two committed adults heading the program and sharing both burdens and joys. Many Unitarian Universalist congregations require that at least two adults be present in programs involving children and youth, as per the UUA’s Safe Congregations policy.
Experience leading youth programs is, of course, a plus. Anybody hoping to acquire experience by leading Riddle and Mystery is advised to team up with someone who has led programs for this age group before. Your religious educator may have additional resources to prepare leaders to work with this age range.
What characteristics should you seek in a co-leader? An ability to plan a session tight and present it loose is important (see Leader Guidelines). Comfort working with youth is essential. Experience with the Internet is helpful. Compatibility with you and other leaders is significant. A sense of humor can add a lot. Enthusiasm and commitment, plus the time and energy required for the job, are highly important.
One other consideration should be taken into account. Because leaders will coach youth along their faith journeys, they need to understand the power of adult opinions to influence young people. They must be willing to use that power sparingly and lovingly. Adults who hold a particular viewpoint and feel others should hold the same could influence participants too heavily. Leaders should feel free to express their beliefs, but must also be comfortable accepting the beliefs of others—even if those beliefs seem irrational and ill formed. Ultimately, leaders need to respect youth and accept their beliefs as valid and appropriate for their stage of faith development.
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
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