Kim Sweeney, Lead for Faith Formation and Safe Congregations, works in New England and loves rules. She says “I love rules, structure, routine and clarity. Maybe it stems from my time spent serving in the military, but I imagine my own comfort with rules and structure existed before that, and enabled me to thrive in that military environment. To some degree, knowing the boundaries and expectations has always been quite comforting to me.“Two summers ago, when I was asked to serve as the lead for Safe Congregations work in New England, I found myself pretty excited. In the most simplistic of views, I thought that safety policies and procedures really just mimicked rules and structure. And in the most simplistic of views, they do! But over time, I have come to realize that they are so much more than that. The policies and procedures we put in place allow us to be the best version of ourselves: open and affirming faith communities who hold each other in covenant and love. At the same time, these policies and procedures take the safety of our buildings, our people, and our communities seriously.” When we know better, we do better
Join Kim as she facilitates a webinar on her favorite topic titled Safety in Youth Ministry, co-facilitated with Evin Carvill-Ziemer, Congregational Life Consultant for the Central East Region. Register for either November 9th at 1:00PM EDT or November 10th at 8:00PM EDT.
Hear current Best Practices for youth safety including updated policies and procedures. Evin and Kim will cover the details of recent changes and will highlight stories from youth and adult leaders about making real the promises of covenant when it comes to safety.
This webinar is based on the second competency in the Competencies for Ministry To/With Youth: Creating a Safe(r) Youth Program.At their best, our safety policies are an embodiment of our covenant with each other.
In the Central East Region, Evin works with four ongoing youth communities and multiple youth ministry events. Evin has encountered some challenging questions in this work like:
How do we bring safety standards up to current expectations in ways that also preserve our values? How can we help youth understand the deeper “whys” of the rules? How can we communicate that what creates safety is not writing rules down, but creating a culture and context in which the youth hold each other to a high standard?
Evin adds, “ This, to me, is the really meaningful part of covenant in youth communities. When youth understand that if they behave the way they might outside a UU youth community they can put the community and other members of the community at risk the vast majority of them take this very, very seriously. They are willing to hold that standard for the few, like in every age group and generation, who may not much care about their impact on others. I have been deeply impacted by this process and am truly grateful for the volunteer youth and adults I’ve worked with.”
Register for November’s Youth Ministry Training webinar and join the over 300 people who are already on the journey of developing their skills in youth ministry through this training offered by Congregational Life and The Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries! Designed to serve volunteers, paid staff and religious professionals providing ministry to/with youth in congregations, this series is based on the Competencies for Ministry To/With Youth.
“One of the keys to providing a space where youth feel comfortable to grow, develop, and express their Unitarian Universalist values is to have clearly defined boundaries and safety policies. The goal of creating these boundaries is not to guarantee that nothing will go wrong, but rather to model healthy relationships and protect everyone involved: you, the youth, and the congregation.” ~Youth Ministry Advising: A Complete Guide.