This post is part of a series of report-outs from the 2021 Youth Ministry Visioning Week. You can read an overview of the week and a summary of day 1: Articulating the Mandate for Youth Ministry Across our Denomination in Stevie Carmody’s article on Day 1: What Calls us On. Then review Anna Bethea's post on Reckoning With the Past (Day 2) and Jennica Davis-Hockett's article Youth Ministry Ecosystem (Day 3).
Care and Safety in Youth Ministry
Recently the Lifespan Faith Engagement office of the UUA embarked on a journey to collaborate with congregational life staff, UUA leadership, youth, and other religious professionals to engage in conversations about potential futures of youth ministry and programs in our Association.
The theme for Day 4 was care and safety. There were a lot of ideas in the various rooms across three sessions, so this is more of a report out, rather than an editorial by one voice who was in the room.
One of the first questions we asked our staff and leadership to answer was “What are the resources necessary to successfully implement youth safety?”
Lifespan Faith Engagement and Congregational Life staff were present in the first session of the day, and you can see their responses to the prompt in the sticky notes. During the afternoon session with UUA leadership, they were given the opportunity to leave stars on the notes they wanted to uplift.
The second prompt used for both staff and admin leads was “What are the benchmarks/measures of good youth safety?” Below you will find a jamboard with the same pattern of notes then starred by UUA leadership.
During the afternoon leadership session, someone asked if we were trying to identify benchmarks for the work we each do individually, youth safety at the UUA, or youth safety in congregations and other spaces UU youth gather? We answered “yes!” There was also a question of if these benchmarks are reachable. Only time will tell, but these are items we can take notice of to track where we are with youth safety. They also tied into our last jamboard topic of the sessions, “What practices and systems bring us closer to reaching these benchmarks?” Jamboard with responses below.
Some lingering questions we all may consider and would love to hear your feedback on:
We’ve named resources we need, what resources are available to you now? How can you leverage these resources to hold care and safety as a community standard? Who do we need to loop in on youth safety for it to be held? What are helpful resources, benchmarks, and practices that we did not touch on?