Bridging Youth & Emerging Adults (18–24 years old)

In this subsection of the Blue Boat Blog, you'll find resources and information for Bridging Youth (those transitioning from Youthhood to Young Adulthood) and Emerging Adults (a term for a subset of Young Adulthood typically in the ages of 18–24 years old).

Why "Emerging Adults"?

In our lifespan approach to faith formation, we recognize that different stages of our lives bring unique circumstances, community contexts, and spiritual needs. In an effort to address the specific needs of Unitarian Universalists (UUs) after their high school years, the UUA has been devoting resources, staff time, and programming that speak directly to the experience of emerging adults. And it's all still emerging!

While the focus on this age range is new, the UUA still thinks of Young Adulthood (18–35 years old) as a larger, important stage of faith development, inclusive of emerging adults. So programs like Young Adults at General Assembly and the Grounded and Resilient Organizers Workshop are available for the whole age range.

In psychological research, much ink has been spilled on the needs and experiences of "emerging adults." And that research oftentimes centered only one set of experiences about the age of 18–24 years old, from those who were college-going, wealthy, white/European descent, and oftentimes, male. We, here in Unitarian Universalism, live into our Principles, and recognize that emerging adults are many things—they are staying put in their congregation, or they are venturing to a new community; they are starting a job, they are joining the military, or they are continuing their education; they are new parents, or they are not.

From the perspective of the Office of Lifespan Faith Engagement, some of the "Big Questions" that seem to emerge for emerging adults are:

  1. How do we live our UU values in an often dehumanizing world?
  2. How do we deepen community connections amongst many life transitions?
  3. How does our community of young people keep covenant together?
  4. What's at the center of our faith, and how can we make it truly liberatory?