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Learn About Chaplain Training in the Central East Region

Trainings for 2016-2017 are currently being scheduled across the Central East Region. Please contact eziemer [at] uua [dot] org (subject: Hosting%20Peer%20Chaplain%20Training) (Evin Carvill-Ziemer )if you would like to host.

Pastoral Care With Youth?

Not just the minister's job! As a religious community we provide pastoral care to each other too. Youth advisors, youth RE teachers, Directors of Religous Education, and other adults can provide pastoral care to youth. And youth peers often provide most of the pastoral care youth receive. Because pastoral care is one of the most important ways we care for each other in religious community, this training is one of the most important ones we provide in Youth Ministry.

What's a Peer Chaplain?

Peer Chaplains are peers who are caring, understanding and compassionate trained listeners. Chaplaining isn't about fixing other people's problems, but about keeping them company as they find a way forward. Sometimes peer chaplains volunteer to formally serve as a peer chaplain serve at Unitarian Universalist (UU) events. These are not certified professionals, but every-day people with a desire to serve their fellow human beings. The chaplain is one of the most important positions at a conference or other UU community event because of the emotionally supportive and spiritually nurturing role that they play in the community as a whole. 

What's This Training All About?

The training for this event will be led by a pair of facilitators, youth and adult, with experience serving as chaplains and providing pastoral care to youth. The programming is designed to teach basic skills necessary for effective chaplaining such as active listening and responsive awareness. The training also covers serious issues in youth lives, issues of confidentiality, and ethical chaplain behavior.

Regardless of whether one serves as an official chaplain at an event, these skills in peer pastoral care are valuable in many other situations! 

This training does cover some sensitive topics including a peer chaplain's role if a youth has experienced child abuse, is considering suicide, or is self-harming. 

Who Is This Conference For?

It is for YOUTH (ages 14-18) who want to learn these concepts and skills, and then may possibly act as a peer chaplain at youth conferences or other UU events.

ADVISORS (at least 25 years old) who want to support youth, improve their pastoral care for youth, and who also want to learn the skills and then possibly act as adult peer chaplains at youth cons. (Advisors must be approved as advisors by their congregation and may have some youth supervision responsibility at this event, but will be able to sleep)

This training is also being offered to YOUNG ADULTS (18-35) who are active within the young adult community.

Participants will be chosen for leadership ability and peer chaplaincy potential, and should come prepared for a fun, working training. The application form (see below) will be reviewed by Regional staff who will determine the applicant's appropriateness to serve as a Peer Chaplain after consulting with your reference. This is a training and not a youth community con.

Housing: Participants, adult and youth, are strongly encouraged to sleep at the church. Motels are nearby if sleeping at the church is not a possibility. If you plan to do this, please notify the registrar. All meals during the conference will be provided at the church. Young adults under the age of 25 or not youth advisors, will need to find alternative housing. Contact the registrar of your event if you'd like assistance with this.

Bring: Sleeping bag, air mattress, comfortable clothes, toiletries

???'s: Contact Evin Carvill-Ziemer, eziemer [at] uua [dot] org, Congregational Life Consultant

As trainings are scheduled around the region, they will be listed on the Central East Region (CER) Youth Calendar.

Each registrant is being asked to answer the following essay questions, you may want to consider your answers before you register.

  • Why do you wish to be trained and serve as a chaplain at UU youth or young adult events?
  • Why would you be good at chaplaining and what special skills and abilities do you bring to the role? Why would you be good at chaplaining and what special skills and abilities do you bring to the role? What might be harder or challenging for you?
  • What and how much experience do you have with UU youth or young adult programming?
  • What have these experiences meant to you and what future plans do you have involving UU youth and young adult programming?
  • What, if any, experience do you have with chaplaining or other peer counseling related functions? (This could be formal or informal, official or unofficial)
  • Are there other UU events, besides Central East Regional cons, which you intend to be or want to be able to be a chaplain for?
  • Is there anything else we should consider?
  • Please list a religious professional (or if you do not have a DRE or Minister, an elected leader) who can serve as a reference for you.

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For more information contact cer@uua.org.

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