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Meet the Youth Caucus 2016 Super Staff!
Meet the Youth Caucus 2016 Super Staff!

Youth Caucus Staff : bringing covenant wherever they go

General Assembly (GA) 2016 is bound to be a phenomenal experience thanks in part to the 2016 Youth Caucus staff who promise you interfaith exploration, lots of singing, fun and games, ways to tap into important social justice movements and the insider scoop on the business of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

  Andrea Briscoe, Senior Dean

Andrea is a Junior who lives in the area of Philadelphia, PA. She attends Main Line Unitarian Church in the Joseph Priestley District of Central East Regional Group (CERG). She loves cooking/baking, learning about different cultures and languages, and enjoys reading anything and everything non-fiction. She has served as leadership on the church, district, regional and national level, is a trained chaplain and a graduate of the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice (UUCSJ) Activate! NOLA program. As Senior Dean, Andrea is charged with mentoring our Junior Dean Eric Broner and guiding our youth caucus staff in planning a Youth Caucus that is a deeply spiritual and religious community where generations come together to grow as leaders.

  Eric Broner, Junior Dean

Eric is a junior from Atlanta, GA, where he attends the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta. In school he is involved in athletics and academic bowl and is a master homecoming float-builder. He studies in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program, and is a server at a local pizzeria. He’s been in leadership in his youth program in his congregation since his freshman year, and has led a youth advisory training for his district. As Junior Dean, Eric is studying under Andrea to guide our youth caucus staff in planning a Youth Caucus that participates in the create a new vision of faith that no longer divides us, but connects us to an interdependent future that works for all.

  Isabelle McCurdy, Senior Business Manager

Isabelle is a senior and dance major at a performing arts school and attends the Unitarian Universalist Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee. At GA 2015, she authored the Youth Caucus sponsored Black Lives Matter Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) that passed in General Session. She is a leader of the Mayor's Youth Council, and recently founded the Chattanooga Council on Women youth sector. She is active in civic engagement, social justice work, history, and art. As Senior Business Manager, Isabelle is charged with mentoring our Junior Business Manager, Hannah Rigdon, connecting youth to the business of the association and bringing prominent guest speakers to the youth caucus room.

Hannah Rigdon, Junior Business Manager

Hannah is a junior who attends the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood in New Jersey. She plays the cello, loves to go hiking with her dog and is really into coloring books at the moment. She is an active member of the Metro New York district youth group, youth co-chair of the Youth Adult Committee, and also serves on leadership for regional youth programming.  As Junior Business Manager, Hannah will study under Isabelle to bring youth into the business of our association and introduce them to the UUA Board of Trustees and candidates for the presidency of the UUA.

Rhea Brown-Bright, Senior Worship Coordinator

Rhea is a senior who attends the First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City. They are into theater, classical guitar, and are the Oklahoma Youth Poet Laureate. They are an active member of their youth group, a youth chaplain and worship leader at rallies (conferences) and often gives homilies at church. They attend a camp called Camp Murray every summer and will have been on staff for three years by this summer. They are also a camp counselor at a week long day camp for elementary school children called Chalice Camp. Rhea is a UUA Luminary Leader, a UUA Summer Seminary (2014) alum, and Multi Cultural Leadership School (2015) alum (now know as Thrive). As Senior Worship Coordinator, Rhea helps plan the Synergy Bridging worship and worships for Youth Caucus. They are mentoring our Junior Worship Coordinator, Colleen.

Colleen Lee, Junior Worship Coordinator

Colleen is a junior who attends Eliot Chapel in St. Louis, MO. She is an editor on her school’s yearbook, an avid National Public Radio (NPR) listener and a cat enthusiast. She is a youth chaplain who has trained other chaplains, and served on staff in her region’s leadership school, MidWest Youth Leadership School. She participates in her church’s social justice committee and her favorite Unitarian Universalist (UU) thing to do is volunteer in religious education. As Junior Worship Coordinator Colleen will be working with Rhea to create inspiring, welcoming worships with depth for Youth Caucus.

  Caleb DiNino-Childers, Youth Chaplain

Caleb is a senior who attends University Unitarian Church in Seattle, Washington where he works as the Student Youth Group Coordinator. He plays Ultimate Frisbee and is on his school’s ethics bowl team. He is on the Pacific Northwest District Con staff and his church’s Social Political Activism Con staff. He received chaplaincy training last year. Caleb is a UUA Luminary Leader, 2015 UUA Summer Seminary graduate, YES (Youth Empowerment Services) team member and in a few months he will be co-deaning the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) Spring Seminar in New York. As Youth Chaplain, Caleb will work with Elesa to be a compassionate presence for youth who need a listening ear and serve on the Right Relations Team.

  Elesa Turner, Youth Chaplain

Elesa is a junior who attends the First Unitarian Church of Providence in Rhode Island where she is active in the youth group. She loves tennis, skiing, history, and hiking. She also enjoys tutoring and volunteering for a local hospice organization. She participates in district youth events in the Ballou-Channing District. She has served as chaplain at youth conferences and worked as a counselor at a summer camp in Vermont. As Youth Chaplain Elesa will work with Caleb to be a compassionate presence for youth who need a listening ear and serve on the Right Relations Team.

  Elias Breidford, Connections Coordinator

Elias is a senior who attends the Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Seattle, Washington. He hopes to contribute to the musical legacy of his high school someday; he plays trumpet in the orchestra, sings in choirs and sings and dances in musicals. Elias is a 4th generation Unitarian and has been in leadership at his church and in Pacific Northwest District. His personal interests include flannel, mac-and-cheese, slam poetry and space. As Connections Coordinator, Elias will work with Alison to design workshops for youth caucus to get to know each other and make it easy and fun to reach out to the larger GA population.

  Alison Butler-Cordova, Connections Coordinator

Alison is senior who attends the First Unitarian Society of Madison, Wisconsin where she serves as as a childcare provider. She spent most of her life in South Florida, but moved to Madison a little more than a year ago. She is a touch group leader in her youth group and has attended SUUSI, the Southeast Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute, for the past five years. Alison is a Thrive Youth alum (2015). She is passionate about activism in social issues, especially in race and feminist related topics. She is always listening to music or going to a concert, loves art, and celebrates every single time she sees a dog. As Connections Coordinator Alison will work with Elias to design workshops for youth caucus to get to know each other and make it easy and fun to reach out to the larger GA population.

Jeremy Ritzmann, Advisor/Sponsor Coordinator

Jeremy lives in Jacksonville, FL and attends Buckman Bridge UU Church with his partner Sarah and their son, Judah. He has served in various positions in his home congregation including chairing the Social Justice and Public Relations Committees, serving on the Safety Task Force, and working with the board on Young Adult and Youth Ministry inclusion practices. He currently serves as a Worship Leader. He also serves the UUA Southern Region as a Smart Church Consultant with a concentration in Conflict Management. As an Advisor/Sponsor Coordinator, Jeremy companions youth leaders as they prepare and run youth caucus staff, ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all participants and helping sponsors get all the information they need.

  Jessica Laike, Advisor/Sponsor Coordinator

Jessica serves as the Director of Faith Formation at High Plains Church Unitarian Universalist in Colorado Springs, CO and as the Youth Ministry Leadership Development Specialist for the Mountain Desert District. Jessica loves living in Colorado with her husband Josh and their dog Peanut. They love to garden and have started to dabble in urban homesteading. As an Advisor/Sponsor Coordinator, Jessica companions youth leaders as they prepare and run youth caucus staff, ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all participants and helping sponsors get all the information they need.

  Joanne Dingus, Advisor/Sponsor Coordinator

Joanne is the Director of Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newport News, VA. She is also Youth Director for SUUSI. She is currently participating in the Bridging Think Tank for the UUA Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. She has two amazing children, one of whom studies at Boston University, and one of whom studies at Christopher Newport University. She enjoys making art, singing in the choir, writing and taking Zumba classes. As an Advisor/Sponsor Coordinator, Joanne companions youth leaders as they prepare and run youth caucus staff, ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all participants and helping sponsors get all the information they need.

Shari Halliday-Quan, Adult Chaplain

Shari is a first year seminarian at Union Theological Seminary and member of Fourth Universalist Society in New York, NY. Prior to starting seminary, she worked as a chaplain in hospitals and transitional housing centers. Before that, she was fortunate enough to get paid to go around and tell people about being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda. She and her wife Elisabeth share their home with their 17-pound cat Hildegard, dozens of plants, and a regular slate of visitors and dinner guests. As Adult Chaplain, Shari will provide support and guidance for our peer chaplains and serve as a listening hear for anyone who needs it.

Andrew Coate, Adult Chaplain

Andrew graduated with his Masters of Divinity in May 2015 from Boston University School of Theology. He currently serves as the DRE at First Church Jamaica Plain in Boston, Massachusetts. He is a native of Los Angeles and has been in New England for the last decade. Prior to seminary he worked with a number of disability rights organizations, including three years as a job coach for transition aged youth entering the workforce. Andrew spends as much time as he can hiking and last summer lead a trail crew at the Cape Cod National Seashore. As Adult Chaplain, Andrew will provide support and guidance for our peer chaplains and serve as a listening hear for anyone who needs it.

  Please welcome them in the comments!

About the Author

  • Jennica first joined the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries in 2014. She began her ministry with youth as a youth advisor at First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City, her hometown, in 2008. Since then she has served as Youth Program Coordinator and Religious Education...

For more information contact blueboat@uua.org.

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