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Activity 3: WCUU — Mystery Day Parade (25 minutes), Session 14: Life as Mystery

In "Riddle and Mystery," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Microphone(s), video camera(s) and tripod(s), real or simulated
  • Timepiece (minutes)
  • For studio set
    • Backdrop made in Session 1
    • Masking tape
  • Leader Resource 3, WCUU Script — The Parade
  • Leader Resource 4, UU Mystery Messages
  • Paper for On-Air People's name cards, markers and string or tape
  • A copy of the Unitarian Universalist Principles and Sources (Session 1, Leader Resource 1, or a poster in your meeting space)
  • Large cardboard box or boxes and a utility knife (for adult use)
  • Arts and crafts supplies such as large color markers; newsprint or a large roll of paper; poster paper or construction paper: colored ribbons; scissors (including left-handed scissors); cellophane tape; masking tape; tissue paper; and rubber bands
  • Optional: Supplies to make props for a celebratory parade; such as balloons (and permanent markers); dowels or sticks and paper for making pennants or banners; cloths or crepe paper for covering floats; and musical instruments
  • Optional: Copy(ies) of Singing the Journey, the supplement to the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook, Singing the Living Tradition
  • Optional: Music player for theme song (see Session 1)
  • Optional: Studio lights (flashlights will do)

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide how ambitious to make the group's Mystery Day Parade and floats. Gather supplies.
  • Retrieve real or simulated television studio equipment, backdrop made in Session 1 and other WCUU materials.
  • Arrange furniture for a small group arts and crafts project followed by a WCUU broadcast of a parade. Set out arts and crafts supplies and materials. Set up and test equipment and post the backdrop. If you plan to record WCUU:
    • Make sure electrical outlets are nearby if you will need them.
    • Pay attention to lighting. Do not set On-Air People in front of a sunlit window.
    • Plan a parade route that will allow the camera to capture both video and audio. Either the youth could parade past the camera, or a camera operator could move the camera past the youth in a way that makes it look like the parade, instead of the camera, is moving.
    • If you are using on-camera microphones, direct On-Air People to speak toward the camera. Invite the Director or Floor Director to use the phrase "Quiet on the Set... Rolling... " followed by a silent countdown from five, using the fingers of one hand, ending with pointing to the On-Air Person to cue them to begin speaking.
  • Copy Leader Resource 3 for everyone who will need a script for the broadcast. On-Air People include two Co-Anchors and a NUUs (pronounced "News") Analyst. Other youth will make and display Mystery Day Parade floats; some may be interviewed by the Co-Anchors. If the group is small, co-leaders can be Studio Crew. If the group is large, Studio Crew members might include a director, floor director, camera operator, sound engineer, lighting director, script supervisor and multiple production assistants; most of these can also help create parade floats.
  • Make a few copies of Leader Resource 4 to share.

Description of Activity

Participants prepare a UU float and/or other entries such as banners and signs, for a Mystery Day Parade, and then present WCUU parade coverage involving three On-Air People (two Co-Anchors and a NUUs Analyst) and an unlimited number of parade participants.

Ask participants if they have ever watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on television. Tell them to imagine that the United Nations has proclaimed a worldwide Mystery Day and, this year, there will be a Mystery Day Parade in a large city near you. WCUU is going to televise the parade, and their group is asked to create a float (and whatever else you want in the parade) that includes messages expressing Unitarian Universalist attitudes toward mystery.

Assign roles, using volunteers. You might invite the Kid for the Day to be a Co-Anchor or the NUUs Analyst. Note that the Co-Anchors will improvise as they interview parade participants.

If the group is small, engage all the youth to make a single float from the largest cardboard box you find and decorate it with messages. On-Air People and Studio Crew can work on the float, as well. You might suggest the youth cut wheels from sturdy cardboard and attach them to a cardboard box, using pencils or dowels for axles. Rubber bands around both ends of the dowels will keep cardboard wheels from sliding off.

If the group is large, have small groups make multiple floats and banners with written messages. Use permanent markers to write messages on balloons.

Musicians in the group might plan a marching presentation of Hymn 1003 in Singing the Journey, "Where Do We Come From?"

The first two activities in this session should have prepared the group to come up with UU messages about mystery. To help them, distribute copies of Leader Resource 4, UU Mystery Messages. If the group is large, consider dividing the resource and giving just two or three ideas to small groups and individuals; that will decrease the time youth need to select ideas and ensure that the parade features a few different messages.

Give the youth at least ten minutes to plan and construct parade contributions. Then explain where you want the camera, On-Air People and parade participants to stand and to move.

Tell the group when the show should end to keep the session on schedule; assign a Studio Crew member (director or floor director) to watch the time.

Begin the broadcast.

After the broadcast, ask participants how it went. Ask them to summarize UU responses to today's Big Question: "Can we ever solve life's mystery?" Help them see that most Unitarian Universalists feel life's mystery cannot be fully solved, but they are content with that and, in fact, celebrate mystery. Ask participants if they think non-UUs would understand Unitarian Universalism better after seeing the WCUU Mystery Day Parade coverage?

Including All Participants

Make sure all participants can participate in the parade and can maneuver around equipment or furniture. Make sure supplies are accessible to everyone.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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