Meet the Candidates for YA@GA Co-Facilitators 2017-18

By Annie Gonzalez Milliken

Candidates for YA@GA Co-Facilitators of the 2017 and 2018 General Assemblies

This post is an introduction to our three candidates for the 2017-18 Co-Facilitator for Young Adults at General Assembly or YA@GA. Are you involved in UU community? Will you be between the ages of 18 and 35 in June 2017 AND June 2018? If so, read this post so you can make an informed decision when you vote in the election on or before Sunday April 17th.

Before you read the profiles and platforms of our three candidates, you should make sure you know a bit about the job they're vying for.

The YA@GA Co-Facilitator is a two year position. Our current senior Co-Facilitator, Ayla Halberstadt, was elected on-site at GA 2014 in Providence, and our current junior Co-Facilitator, Cameron Young, was elected online in the spring of 2015. Whoever is elected now will serve as junior Co-Facilitator for GA 2017 in New Orleans, LA and as senior Co-Facilitator for GA 2018 in Kansas City, MO.

This person will work with Cameron on GA 2017 and with whoever is elected next time on GA 2018. They will work to plan YA@GA programming and will be part of the team that selects additional YA@GA volunteer staff for 2017 and 2018. This year our awesome staff includes Jaimie Dingus, our Worship Coordinator and Byron Tyler Coles, our Community Engagement Coordinator.

The YA@GA Co-Facilitator has a strong influence over what types of programming happens at GA in the young adult space so keep this in mind while voting! This person will be expected to offer their ideas, recruit for programs, be an exemplary leader, and work well under pressure. We have confidence that all three of these candidates would do a fine job as YA@GA Co-Facilitator and we have done reference checks on all of them. In compensation for their work, the Co-Facilitator will have all their expense paid for at GA including travel and food.

So are you ready to figure out who to vote for? Read on!

Nell Krahnke

Age: 21 Pronouns: she, her and hers Primary UU community: Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington Indiana GA Experience: Has not attended GA

Top three priorities for YA@GA: 1. YA@GA should focus on how to make the bridging process from high school to young adulthood easier so that we don't lose people who feel like they no longer have a place. 2. YA@GA should focus on providing resources for YAs of all ages as they move through the often difficult young adult years. 3. YA@GA should focus on connecting YAs to the wider UU community, so that we don't end up feeling like an isolated community but rather one that is connected to every part of Unitarian Universalism.

Nell talks about her relevant skills and experience: I restarted the Young Religious Unitarian Universalist program at my church when I was in high school. I founded WUU, an emerging congregation at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. I have served as the outreach officer for two years and for my final year will be serving as president of the organization. I am a board member for Faith Architects, an organization for North America that focuses on resources and curricula for Young Adults in the UU faith. I am serving as the co-Worship coordinator for the Young Adults at MUUSA, a UU summer camp held yearly in Missouri. I am connected to a wide community of UUs across all age groups, and feel comfortable talking to all such groups.

Elizabeth Mount

Age: 32 Pronouns: they/them Primary UU community: UU YAs for Climate Justice GA Experience: Has attended 7 General Assemblies YA@GA Experience: Has attended GA Talks, UU Religious professionals gathering, YA Worship, getting to know you events, meeting the UUA board.

Top three priorities for YA@GA: I believe that UU YAs are looking to 1. form community connections, 2. deepen their spiritual grounding, and 3. find support for staying actively engaged with UUism. These are the areas in which I hope to focus effort in the coming 2 years.

Elizabeth talks about their relevant skills and experience: I have a long history in UUism and experience working in congregations, with faith-based justice advocacy, and as an educator and community organizer in my professional life. This will mean I can effectively assist in finding a diverse group of community members to support our work, and I have many strategies and best practices available to build a great team and embody our faith in our programming and community building work within GA and beyond.

Aisha Ansano

Age: 26 Pronouns: she, her, hers Primary UU community: First Parish UU of Arlington, MA GA Experience: Has attended 1 GA and will be attending in Columbus, OH

YA@GA Experience: Has attended one YA@GA worship service at her first GA.

Top three priorities for YA@GA: 1. Attracting a wide variety of young adults with a variety of programming - brunch/lunch/dinner, worship, workshops on various topics (see below), social events, discussion sessions, panels of young adults living their UU identities in different ways, engagement with existing programs like Faithify, Thrive, etc. 2. A space for networking and connecting with UU young adults around the country, and continuing those connections after leaving GA. Potentially creating covenant groups that meet virtually throughout the year - these could form at the first GA, meet through the year, and connect again at the second GA. Raising awareness about and excitement for Thrive, a Facebook group, etc. A space, not at the convention center, for young adults to gather and have social space, quiet time, etc 3. Scheduled programming on relevant topics - race, sexism, climate change, whatever seems to be in the news at the time - with a "real talk" focus: young people talking to and with each other, frankly, about these topics, with an eye towards taking these conversations back to their congregations and communities to perhaps make a change.

Aisha talks about her relevant skills and experience: I have experience planning and leading programming as a member of the Harvard Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Students (HUUMS) Board. Our group is mostly young adults, and I've had a hand in creating programming that is a mix of social, academic, professional that will appeal to our members. I've helped plan worship services, social events, service projects, and parts of retreats, and have learned how to plan and facilitate programming that speaks to different people in different ways. I worked as a camp counselor for 2 summers, and though it was with 5-6 year olds and 13-14 year olds, the skills of facilitating programming for a widely varied audience sticks! I'm currently taking a course on race, aimed at helping us learn how to have what are often difficult but necessary conversations. From that class, I have a sense of how to have and facilitate these sorts of conversations, which I think could be helpful.


Are you ready to vote? You can vote now or you can think on it and vote anytime on or before Sunday April 17th. The form closes at midnight pacific time on April 17th, so make sure you participate in the democratic process before then.

About the Author

Annie Gonzalez Milliken

Annie Gonzalez Milliken and Elizabeth Nguyen worked in the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at the Unitarian Universalist Association. Annie supports young adult and campus ministries while Elizabeth serves youth and young adults of color.


For more information contact .

#112 Young religious professionals reception

YA@GA Co-Facilitator Ayla Halberstadt speaks with another young adult at GA
Nell Krahnke

Nell Krahnke
Elizabeth Mount

Elizabeth Mount
Aisha Ansano

Aisha Ansano