All youth are required to sign a Code of Ethics (which will be a part of the Youth Registration form) prior to attending General Assembly (GA). This code serves as a covenant that Youth Caucus members have with each other in order to keep the community, and all members of the community, safe and healthy!
Supervision at GA is different from other conferences at which there is a youth presence. At other conferences, adult advisors share collective responsibility for youth supervision. At GA, the number of youth and the urban setting make this impossible.
At GA, each youth under 18 must have an adult sponsor also present at GA who is responsible for supervision and ensuring the well-being of the youth. A sponsor must: (1) be over the age of 25; (2) be the sponsor of no more than 3 youth; (3) agree to the same Code of Ethics as the youth; (4) stay in the same hotel/housing as their sponsee(s). Sponsors are responsible for checking in frequently—at least twice a day—and providing support (more details on sponsor roles below).
Youth sponsors are ultimately responsible for the behavior and supervision of their respective youth at GA. Youth Caucus staff is responsible for providing youth programming and support at GA, but not supervision. When violations of the Youth Caucus Participant Policies or of law occur, UUA and Youth Caucus staff will inform the sponsor and may possibly request the youth to leave Youth Caucus and General Assembly at his/her/hir own expense (depending on the severity of the infraction). In such an event, the sponsor is responsible for discipline, including safely getting the youth home, if necessary.
A youth's sponsor serves as his/her/hir legal guardian for the duration of General Assembly. She/he/ze may be a parent, relative, minister, youth advisor, religious educator, or another person trusted by the youth’s full legal guardian(s). Youth are responsible for finding their own sponsors.
The role of a sponsor at General Assembly is the following:
The ideal sponsor supports their youth in the following ways:
A sponsor must stay in the same housing as the youth they are sponsoring. What this means is that they must stay in the same hotel building. They do not need to stay in the same room. If you are utilizing home stays, it means that the sponsor and youth must be staying in the same home. The one exception is if the youth is staying with a parent or guardian who is not serving as their sponsor. This exception usually only applies to local youth staying at home.
If you're having trouble finding a sponsor and your parent/guardian isn't going to GA, we recommend that you start right in your own congregation. Talk to your minister or director/minister of religious education and ask them which adults from the congregation are going to GA, who are serving as delegates, etc. If it's not possible to find someone from your congregation, then look for a trusted advisor from a nearby congregation, or from your district/regional youth program. Your minister/religious educator might have a friend or colleague from another congregation who is going to GA who could sponsor you. Just make sure it's someone who has the trust of your parents and/or the staff of your congregation. Also make sure your sponsor meets the guidelines set out above. Unfortunately, the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries does not have enough staff time to manage finding individual sponsors for youth who go to General Assembly.
For more information contact youth @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Monday, September 30, 2013.
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