Youth Caucus: Meet Your 2018 Staff
General Assembly 2018 in Kansas City, MO, will begin in 2018-06-20 19:30:00 GMT-06:00!
Unitarian Universalist youth from all over will be in Kansas City, MO June 20th-24th to form the Youth Caucus at General Assembly. We thought we’d take this auspicious moment to introduce you to this year’s staff supporting the Youth Caucus. We can’t wait to see you all in Kansas City!
Youth Caucus Staff
Jaidyn Bryant, Senior Dean
Deans work with everyone on Youth Caucus staff, as well as the larger GA planning community, to create the structure of Youth Caucus. They also lead main orientation at GA!
Jaidyn is from the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, LA. She’s a Thrive (‘16) alum and a Luminary Leader. She joined Youth Caucus because she wants to help see the faithful potential of her peers realized. She loves being a UU and has active roles in leadership and volunteering in her church. She loves Youth Caucus because it has provided her with so many opportunities to meet with and work with a diverse network of amazing people. She is always thinking up new ways to make Youth Caucus better and finds the creative aspect exciting. Jaidyn is extremely friendly! If you ever have any questions, or just want to chat, you are welcome to talk to Jai. She’ll answer your questions, or point you in the way of someone who can.
Kari Gottfried, Junior Dean
Kari attends the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis, OR, and is a Thrive (‘17) graduate, a Luminary Leader, and the Chair of the PNW Youth Empowerment Services Team (@pnwdyesteam on Instagram and FB). After reflecting on all of the amazing experiences she’s had throughout her district and region, Kari realized that she could have the chance to do that on a greater scale if she joined the Youth Caucus team! She’s the most excited to watch the magic of GA unfold before her and feel the power of being in Beloved Community with so many UUs from all walks of life… but she’s also just as pumped to celebrate World Giraffe Day with all of Youth Caucus.
Annalee Durland-Jones, Senior Business Manager
The Business Managers help youth caucus understand the issues and information that is discussed and voted on at GA. If you have any questions on how to propose amendments, make statements, or engage with GA business we would love to help! Find us at every GenSesh under Palmy our official mascot.
Annalee is from Charlottesville, VA and attends the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church. She’s a Goldmine (‘16) and Summer Seminary (‘17) graduate, a Luminary Leader, and this will be her ninth GA! She joined Youth Caucus staff because she is passionate about working to empower youth and helping cultivate their passions into actions. From General Session BINGO to exploring the Exhibit Hall, every moment of GA is an exciting adventure. If you are in need of a random photo shoot, coffee suggestion, or advice on how to make animal noises, look for her in the Youth Caucus seating during GenSesh. She and Julia (Junior Business Manager) will always be happy to explain what’s going on, talk to you about being a delegate, or help you find UU swag. The business managers can’t wait to #GetDownToBUUsiness with you this summer in Kansas City!
Julia Landis, Junior Business Manager
Julia also attends Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church in Charlottesville, VA. She attended Goldmine (‘17), and is a Luminary Leader. She applied for Youth Caucus staff after her first GA last year, because she realized that the business of the UUA is vital to all UUs, and she wanted to help youth understand that. Through Youth Caucus, she’s been able to connect with yoUUth from all over the country, and looks forward to meeting even more next year. If you see her at GA, ask her about her musical talents! She plays the flute and piccolo in several ensembles in her area, and is also the drum major of her high school’s marching band.
Elliot Crary, Senior Worship Coordinator
Worship coordinators are responsible for planning and leading worships, as well as facilitating spirituality within youth caucus.
Elliot Crary lives in Tucson Arizona and attends the Unitarian Universalist congregation of Amado in Green valley. He Joined youth caucus because he felt called to serve his faith on a larger scale. He's a summer seminary alumni ('16), Luminary Leader, and chair of his district's youth board. His favorite part of GA is meeting youth and adults from across the nation and making new connections. He's a huge nerd, loves building computers, listening to 80s pop music, and can be found at GA leading worships and meeting new people. If you have any questions about worship, want to talk about spirituality, or just looking to chat, feel free to approach him this GA.
Emma Merchant, Junior Worship Coordinator
Emma Merchant, from the First Unitarian Church of Columbus, OH, joined Youth Caucus staff because she was eager for more connections to UU yoUUth. Although she’s a Luminary Leader and a Goldmine (‘15) and Summer Seminary (‘17) grad, she realized that Youth Caucus staff would the perfect opportunity for her to experience the wider community outside of her church and district. She loves hearing about everyone’s diverse church home life and learning about different youth group traditions, songs, and experiences. Understandably, Emma is looking forward to being one of the worship coordinators, since worship is her favorite part of GA!
Byrne Dallas Crandell, Peer Chaplain
Chaplains are calm, non-anxious presence that you can rely on throughout GA. They’re trained, welcoming, and always there for you.
Byrne is from Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Church in Shoreline, WA. He is a Goldmine (‘16) and Summer Seminary (‘17) graduate, a Luminary Leader, and joined youth caucus because he wants to support the crafting and maintenance of intentional community. Since Youth Caucus is an opportunity for youth to learn and grow in their involvement with our faith, he wants to make the space in which they do that the best it can be. He’s especially interested in getting to know as many yoUUth as he can. We all come from different places and live in different communities, but share the common thread of Unitarian Universalism. Although some say Byrne is a charismatic enigma, he assures Youth Caucus attendees, “I am actually the perfect amount of awkward and highly approachable. Please feel free to join in conversations with me or come talk to me!”
Trecia Cintron, Peer Chaplain
Trecia joined YC staff because she was inspired by the impact this leadership had on her first experience with youth programming at the General Assembly 2017 in New Orleans. She admired their cohesion and organization and how well they connected with their peers. She wanted to join such a team to give back to a community that has spoken life into her. Her favorite part of GA was the icebreaker games, because she got to meet so many wonderful people -- and can’t wait to meet more this year. She enjoys making puns that are clever but cheesy, and loves writing and creating love letters with metaphors of the universe and space. But don’t take it from a short bio, meet her at GA! There’s always more than what meets the surface.
Elena Salgado, Connections Coordinator
The Connections Coordinators work with everyone in Youth Caucus to ensure that, together, we are creating a welcoming and inclusive environment where all can thrive.
Elena is from All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church and High Plains Church in Colorado Springs, CO. They’re a Thrive (‘17) and Goldmine (‘17) grad, a Luminary Leader and joined Youth Caucus staff because they wanted to be a part of all of the amazing work they’d witness the staff do in years past. They’re excited to meet people from all over North America and make connections with people they otherwise would never have had the chance to meet. Youth Caucusers should know that Elena is an extrovert! They love to talk to people and learn about “literally anything”, so please come and say hello.
Luis Catalan, Connections Coordinator
Luis, from North Shore Unitarian Church in Deerfield, IL, joined Youth Caucus staff because he believes the youth who attend GA are the future of Unitarian Universalism. He’s a Luminary Leader, a graduate of Summer Seminary (‘17), and was on staff for Midwest Leadership School (‘16). He has a passion for our faith, and wants to share that passion with everyone. His favorite part of GA is learning about all of the different people that come, and the stories and experiences they bring with them. He loves meeting everyone at GA, and especially appreciates the multigenerational aspects of the event. He loves weird socks and puns, and is always looking for ways to make others laugh.
Beau Ohlgren, Adult Chaplain
The Adult Chaplains support your peer chaplains and provide a pastoral presence for the youth caucus staff.
Beau is the Youth Coordinator at Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend, WA. He joined YC Staff to connect to a wider UU community, support UU youth connection, and enjoy making this GA a wonderful experience for everyone that comes. It’s his first GA so he’s got everything to look forward to- mostly getting to know more UUs across the country and learning what the youth experience is outside of the Pacific Western region (and getting great ideas to take back home). He likes reading, playing games, silly puns, and is always up for a good conversation!
Caitlin Cotter Coillberg, Adult Chaplain
Rev. Caitlin is the assistant minister at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, CA. Previously, she was the Youth and Young Adult Liason for the Commission on Social Witness (CSW), which meant she was a go-between for the Youth Caucus and UUA leadership on matters related to social justice decisions. In that position, and also as an adult chaplain at Camp de Benneville Pines (a UU youth camp in the Pacific Southwest), she was always impressed with the caliber of youth leadership, and just knew she had to be a part of it. She’s excited to have the opportunity to observe in person how Youth Caucus makes decisions. While serving as adult chaplain at Camp DBP, she discovered that she is especially good at helping youth calm down from anxiety attacks, and she is excited to accompany Youth Caucus attendees and sponsors through the wild journey of General Assembly.
Ayla Halberstadt, Business Advisor/Sponsor Coordinator
The Advisor/Sponsor Coordinators support youth staff members and communicate with sponsors to ensure everyone has a safe and fun GA experience.
Ayla is the Director of Religious Exploration at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Of Central Oregon. She is a raised UU and has great memories as a youth and is excited to be able to help youth at GA create meaningful community. Ayla has served as the Co-Facilitator for YA@GA and has a fierce love for general sessions and governance! Ayla is a swim coach, so she loves all things water, she also is a huge musical fan and is always ready to listen to some show tunes.
Christa Champion, Worship Advisor/Sponsor Coordinator
Christa applied to be part of the YC staff because she totally digs working with UU youth! She used to make her living as a college basketball coach and quickly discovered that advising a youth group was in certain ways similar to her most favorite parts of coaching. She gets to help a group of young people learn more about themselves and each other, figure out their individual strengths and quirks and figure out how they fit together, and think about what they want to do and how they want to be in the world, guiding them as they build community, grow stronger together, and work toward goals that they pick for themselves. Working with UU youth rocks! This is her first time as part of Youth Caucus, and at GA, and is looking forward to each and every part of it, every single day! Words are really important to her, so she tries to use them well. People should know that she always tries to say exactly what she means. That can change, however, because she also tries to always be open to new ideas, subtle nuances, and fresh perspectives.
Nanda Shewmangal, Connections Advisor/Sponsor Coordinator
Nanda is from the UU Congregation of Atlanta, GA, and joined YC staff because she wanted to have a better understanding of the planning process, while contributing her knowledge and experience to the team. She is newer to Unitarian Universalism, and always enjoys learning about UU youth culture, including the issues and challenges youth are facing, and especially learning what motivates them spiritually. She’s looking forward to witnessing the power of the youth on staff to come together, work as a unit, and plan Youth Caucus 2018! She’s extremely approachable and flexible, and appreciates it when people ask questions instead of making assumptions. Whenever she can, Nanda tries to push her comfort zone and try new things (like Youth Caucus staff!)
Thrive @ GA Coordinators
Thrive at GA supports youth and young adults of color (People of African Descent, Caribbean, Native/American Indian, Asian and Pacific Islander, Latina/o and Hispanic, Middle Eastern/Arab, and Multiracial) at GA including hosting our annual lunches for UU youth and young adults of color at GA.
Elliot Ferrell-Carrety, Senior Thrive Youth Coordinator
Elliot joined Youth Caucus because he wanted to make a difference in the national community. He has been very involved for awhile in his district so as soon as he found out about being national leadership positions he immediately applied. He was inspired to apply for the Thrive position after attending Thrive West and having the time of his life. His favorite part of Youth Caucus is the amount of people he meets and automatic connections that he makes. He always looks forward to conferences in his district and Youth Caucus is an experience with even more youth, so he loves it. As the Senior Thrive Coordinator, he is so happy to be a part of staff and is happy to make a new friend with anyone who wants.
Ehlona Walker, Junior Thrive Youth Coordinator
Ehlona is from the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee in Milwaukee, WI. She’s been active in youth ministry on every level, from serving on her church’s anti-racism committee to being a nationally recognized Luminary Leader. She’s a graduate of Midwest Leadership School (‘16) and Thrive (‘17). She joined Thrive @ GA because she wants to engage with more yoUUth of color to strengthen their identities as well as her own. Youth Caucus attendees should know that Ehlona always has random spurts of energy and loves bursting out the show-tunes.
The Office of Youth & Young Adult Ministries
Bart Frost, Director of YaYA Ministries
Bart serves as Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at our Unitarian Universalist Association. He's a third generation UU religious professional and a second generation religious educator. Youth Caucus holds a special place in Bart's heart because he served on staff and met many of his friends there as a youth, served on the GAPC as a young adult, and is now very glad to support the work of the Youth Caucus, Thrive@GA and YA@GA every year. Bart is passionate about Unitarian Universalist youth and young adult ministry, so if you'd like to get more involved in our faith he would like to help do that!
Jennica Davis-Hockett, Youth Ministry Associate
Jennica lives in Salt Lake City, UT. In addition to supporting Youth Caucus staff, Jennica also runs Summer Seminary for youth interested in a career as a religious professional and Luminary Leaders, a recognition and networking program for exceptional youth leaders. She loves the aspects of her job that remind her she’s part of something much bigger than herself. Her favorite part of Youth Caucus is getting to be inspired by the incredible lights in the hearts of humans from across the country who are passionate about Unitarian Universalism. If you come to youth caucus you should know that while her emails may make it seem like she’s all business and very serious, don’t be surprised if you catch her in the halls of the convention center playing the ukulele, doing spontaneous yoga or telling stories about her harrowing adventures in the slot canyons of Southern Utah.