Being known and loved as who we are is one of the saving experiences Unitarian Universalism offers all. This is the difference between fitting in and truly belonging. Adolescence is a time when many young people feel like they have nowhere they can truly be themselves and belong. UU youth communities have offered the life saving experience of belonging and being accepted for generations. It takes leadership and effort to build this kind of youth community and to include youth in multigenerational communities like this.
Best Practices in Youth Communities
- Intentional community building, especially when adding new members to a group; the Five Steps of Community Building is a helpful tool for this
- Give youth voice, especially in difficult times. Let youth be actively involved in handling conflicts, especially among youth. Youth communities often take a lot of time to resolve difficulties. Youth care very much about including all and helping all speak. And youth are actively learning how to be leaders. This requires adults who understand youth-adult partnership .
- Use a framework of restorative practice to help adults prepare to support youth in conflict in ways that fit with our UU theology of covenant
- It’s helpful for youth to explore issues of identity and marginalization as they build community that’s welcoming to all such as through this workshop: Building Inclusive Community (PDF)
Connecting to the Larger UU Community
- Connect to Central East’s Youth Programs
- UUA General Assembly and Youth Caucus
- Find out which cluster your congregation belongs to and reach out to start cluster youth programming
Building Interfaith Community
- The Interfaith Youth Core is an organization that helps communities build interfaith youth service work for the purpose of building interfaith youth connections
- A Chorus of Faiths is a Tapestry of Faith program using many elements of the Interfaith Youth Core program.
- Webinars on Inclusive Youth Ministry
- Building liberating covenant from Elizabeth Nguyen
- Adults should learn and understand adolescent development (book or online article)