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No Money? No Problem! 10 Ways to GA on a Budget
No Money? No Problem! 10 Ways to GA on a Budget

 
Youth Registration to General Assembly: $205. Single room at the Hilton for 4 nights: almost $600. Cross-country flight: $500. Getting loads of financial help from the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and other organizations: Priceless.
There are lots of ways to get to GA and have a fabulous time without turning your pockets inside out . Here are the top 10.

10. Fundraise.

Many folks in your community know that General Assembly is a transformational experience for youth. And if they don't already know, don't be afraid to tell them! From understanding your expenses, to creating an action plan and giving thanks to your donors, this handy Fundraising Manual will help you through the whole process. It's technically made for young adult service trips, but most of the information will apply to you too. Don't delay though, You'll want to make sure you're covered before registration costs go up on May 1st.

9. Bring your Friends.

If you think getting yourself to GA is expensive, think about getting your whole youth group to go! But there are some benefits if you all come together. If you drive, renting a van can cut down on fuel costs, if you fly sometimes you can get discounted group rates and you can cram more people into a hotel room (as long as it's one person per bed and youth under 18 don't room with anyone 18 or older unless they're related). Not only that, the Youth and Young Adult office is offering to pay the registration costs for every youth in your youth group! Learn more about Youth Group Grants and turn in your application  before March 31st.

8. Become a Youth Delegate.

One of the reasons General Assembly is such a big deal is because that's where we conduct the business of our association. Delegates from all over the country gather to vote on the big issues that concern each of us. Many congregations support Youth Delegates by paying their way to GA. I'll let Kara explain how to become a Youth Delegate. [vimeo 116181220]

7. Join the Faithify Street Team.

FAITHIFY, Unitarian Universalism's crowdfunding site, will be back again with a bang at General Assembly. They need engaging, energetic people to help them spread the word about this innovative campaign. Job description: spend a few hours a day meeting awesome UUs and get them excited about all the fantastic projects happening in our movement. Here's the application. [vimeo 94507174 w=500 h=281]

6. Volunteer.

Tons of volunteers are needed to make General Assembly run. You could be an Usher tallying the number of people attending General Session or a Media Volunteer documenting GA from a youth p.o.v, be at the Information Desk telling people how awesome Portland is, or any number of other gigs. The General Assembly Planning Committee will pay your registration and give you a nifty tee-shirt, all you have to do is donate 12 hours of your time. Applications are open until March 31st.

5. Tell Your Story.

Create a 1-2 minute video sharing your unique experience with Unitarian Universalism and if the Board of Trustees chooses your video, they'll present it during their workshop at General Assembly and give you a scholarship to pay for your registration. Learn more and submit your video story by March 31 to youth [at] uua [dot] org">youth [at] uua [dot] org.

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4. Get a GA Scholarship.

The Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries and the General Assembly Planning Committee offer scholarships that cover the cost of registration and up to $500 for travel/housing expenses. Familiarize yourself with the criteria, get your congregation to pitch in (see #3) and get your application in by March 31st.

3. Ask your congregation for sponsorship.

Ask your minister or religious educator about any money that might be available for "lay leadership development." They're more likely to say yes if you can commit to bringing what you learn back to the congregation. Maybe you share the handouts you got from a workshop on helping your congregation thrive, or you write an article for the newsletter about what Ware Lecturer Cornel West has to say, or even do a presentation for the whole congregation.

2. Be Frugal at GA

Buy food for meals at the grocery store instead of eating at restaurants, choose from the plethora of food carts Portland has to offer or find some cheap eats on Urban Spoon, Yelp or Trip Advisor. Plan your schedule ahead of time and know when and how you will eat meals to keep from spending impulsively on concessions or fast food. Stay with a host family from the UU congregations in the Portland metropolitan area. The cost is $65 per night for individuals and $75 per night for couples. Proceeds will be donated to the hosting congregation. Home Hospitality Guest Application.

1. Combine all these!

Make the most of it. Ask your congregation to sponsor you as a delegate or for lay leadership development, apply for a scholarship from the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries and the General Assembly Planning Committee (one application goes to both departments), eat and sleep for cheap, get a grant from the Board of Trustees, get a grant for your whole youth group AND volunteer. If you put some work into it, there's no reason General Assembly 2015 can't be affordable for you!  

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...

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