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What Do UU Youth Do In Their Congregations?
What Do UU Youth Do In Their Congregations?

 The Results are in!

Last year, we asked youth who visited the headquarters of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in Boston, MA to fill out a brief survey about the ways they were involved in their congregation. 351 middle and high school aged youth filled out the survey answering questions like "What programs do you attend at your congregation?," "What is your favorite part of church?," and "If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change about your church?"

Introduction

The purpose of this survey was to create a small picture of what programs our youth  participate in at our congregations. We asked questions like:

Do you attend Sunday morning worship?

Coming of Age?

Our Whole Lives?

How could your church serve you better? How would you change it?

What is your favorite part of church?  Why?

(Here is a hint: It's what you think it is!)

The results were pretty much what we expected: That a youth's primary means of engagement with their congregation is through their youth group, and that the primary ways their congregations could support them better is through community-centered activities. A significant number of youth showed nuanced understandings of their congregation's political and financial health, while expressing a need to be involved more deeply and often in their congregation. Future posts in this series will delve into some of the finer details of what we learned from the survey.

The Demographics

As you can see, 8th and 9th graders make up about 65% (236) of survey respondents (and a few of those 8th graders were actually 7th graders). The survey had just about 40 respondents each from the other 3 grades (10th, 11th, and 12th).

The large discrepancy of the age range is because the vast majority of groups that visit the headquarters of the UUA are Coming of Age groups on a Boston pilgrimage. With the number of responses from younger youth whose experiences are limited to religious education classes and Coming of Age, we are missing more stories and perspectives of our older youth. We hope to address this challenge with a revamped survey this year.

We did not ask for any demographics information beyond the survey taker's grade in school (or its equivalent for home-schooled youth).

51 of our congregations are represented including all five of the UUA's regions.

Up next: What Youth Do at Church and Why      

About the Author

  • As a lifelong Unitarian Universalist (UU), Bart has a great passion for youth and young adult ministry. He served the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans as Director of Religious Education before joining the UUA in the role of director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries...

For more information contact blueboat@uua.org.

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