Leadership Code of Ethics
The following is the Code of Ethics that each youth and adult in leadership for our youth events must adhere to.
Central East Region of the UUA Adult and Youth Leader Code of Ethics
The UUA is an association of congregations in covenant with one another. As a region of the UUA Central East Region (CER) youth programming is the congregations’ youth programming and seeks to be in covenant with congregations, congregational leaders, religious professionals, and parents.
Therefore CER leaders, youth and adults, must be and remain an active participant in and in covenant with a UU congregation or Covenanting Community.
As either a youth or adult leader of a CER program, I agree to do my part to uphold these covenants.
In the whole of Unitarian Universalism I agree to:
To remember I am seen as a leader by UU’s even when I am not acting in an official capacity and therefore to act in ways that uphold the integrity of the program I serve.
To support the health of other UU organizations and programs and not use my role to undermine other leaders such as congregational leaders or leaders in other UU programs
To bring disagreements directly to those with whom I disagree with including regional staff, other program leaders, and congregational leaders.
To not speak disrespectfully or disparagingly of any other leaders in public. In conversations critical of others, I will speak responsibly and temperately.
To use my power to serve the good of the community and to uphold UU values and commitments.
Within my leadership I commit to:
Respect our commitment to creating diverse and inclusive communities by serving all regardless of age, race/ethnicity/culture, gender/gender expression, sexual orientation, physical and mental ability, socioeconomic status, theology/faith expression, national origin or primary language.
Seek to learn how my identities impact my values, beliefs and behaviors and strive to create an environment and group understanding that values all identities and viewpoints.
Encourage leadership in others by sharing opportunities, knowledge, responsibilities, and rewards.
Respect the diversity of spiritualities in the faith community and will not make my personal form of spiritual expression normative.
To further the health and well-being of CER youth and youth programs I commit to:
To serve as a role model to other youth and adults in my program including following all site rules and CER behavioral expectations.
Follow the CER Expectations of Electronic and Social Media Communication including only posting photographs online where parents have given permission, not posting youth names, and only allowing individual youth to ‘tag’ themselves.
I will respect that as a leader, I may have access to information that must be kept in confidence, and I acknowledge the power this gives me. I will use discretion in sharing such information so as to avoid harm to individuals or the community. I understand that as a youth, this information need not be held secret from my parents. And as a leader, I understand I have the freedom to seek the counsel and support of my local religious professional.
To maintain the safety and health of CER youth programs by appropriately reporting any unsafe behavior, violations of CER behavioral expectations, poor adult boundaries, and any possible child abuse or other ways youth are in danger including substance abuse and suicidal thoughts. I understand that the parents of the youth, congregation at which these things occur and the home congregation of the youth will need to be informed. In cases of child abuse and neglect, regional staff will report to child welfare services. If I am unsure of how to report, I will consult the adult leadership of my program or regional staff.
To communicate with regional staff about anything which threatens the well-being of any program or youth community.
To be the best leader I can be, I commit to:
Do my best to prepare myself for my roles and responsibilities as a leader, including seeking and attending ongoing training (including trainings such as chaplain training, adult/youth leadership, Leadership Cons, conflict transformation, etc).
To attend to my own self-care including seeking appropriate emotional support when needed such as my local religious professional, recognizing my own limits and capacity, and getting enough sleep so that I am able to be a safe and healthy participant in youth events, including being a safe driver if that is my responsibility.
To attend to my own ongoing faith development and growth as a Unitarian Universalist.
For youth leaders:
Youth in leadership roles are in a position of stewardship and play a key role in fostering the spiritual development of both individuals and the community. Youth in leadership must be qualified to provide the special care and support enabling youth to develop a positive sense of self and a spirit of independence and responsibility. The relationship between youth and their leaders must be one of mutual respect. Youth leaders are individuals that should exemplify responsibility and leadership. They are to be role models to their peers. This means that youth leaders greater obligation than other youth to uphold expectations and program covenants.
As a youth leader I agree to:
Refrain from engaging in sexual, seductive, or erotic behavior with other youth participants at events and, outside events, to be conscious of my power as a youth leader when sexually or romantically interested in a peer I met through UU youth events.
Recognize my greater influence and power as a youth leader and to empower other youth voices as part of my leadership.
Be attentive to ways current or potential youth leaders’ behavior may be damaging to the trust the community puts in them and seek both youth and adult assistance in addressing such behavior.
Where I am older than other youth, recognize the greater influence my age gives me and the greater responsibility I have to maintaining healthy relationships with younger youth. This includes keeping appropriate emotional, sexual, and physical boundaries with youth who are still minors after I bridge.
Seek the assistance of other adults in leadership or regional staff when I have discomfort with any adult, especially one in leadership.
If I am a driver, I will not drive other youth to events.
For adult leaders:
Adult leaders in CER youth programs have special responsibility. They not only have the responsibilities of adults working with youth to maintain appropriate boundaries and create a safe, healthy, and supportive environment, but they also have the responsibility to model this for other adults, intervene where other adults struggle, and to hold the safe container for the community by being the ones responsible for taking action with anything that threatens individual or community well-being.
As an adult leader I agree to:
Commit to following, modeling, and mentoring other adults in the ethics described in the Code of Ethics for Adults attending CER events
Be a model for other adults in consciously non-threatening physical contact and proximity including letting youth initiate physical contact such as hugs and modeling affirmative consent.
Refrain from all behaviors at youth events, both verbal and physical, that are in any way erotic, seductive or sexual in nature.
Consciously engage with youth in ways that seeks to meet their needs rather than mine. Refrain from any behavior that takes advantage of youth and adult attendees.
Communicate with both youth and adults in a manner that is positive and affirming, as feelings and ideas are shared most honestly in a safe environment.
Model for youth and adults engaging in conflict creatively and honestly while holding others with dignity and compassion and seek assistance in conflict when necessary.
Understand that it is primarily my responsibility to maintain appropriate boundaries with youth and youth leaders and to cultivate an atmosphere of health and trust with them.
Maintain an atmosphere of transparency in my leadership with youth including sharing any significant one on one electronic communication or other unofficial contact that happens between me and a youth with regional staff.
Only develop unofficial outside mentoring relationships with youth with the knowledge and consent of their parent/guardian, regional staff, and home congregation religious professional.
I will follow regional policies on driving, including only driving youth whom I have event specific permission to drive.
Adults and youth in leadership positions who work with youth under the aegis of the region are responsible not only to the youth, but to the region as well. Remember: you are acting both ethically and legally as an agent of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Any leader is free to disagree with any aspect of this code of ethics and discuss it with regional staff and their leadership team. However, until it is revised, all leaders are still bound by these ethics.
I have read this form in its entirety and I understand the ethical responsibilities of both youth and adults in leadership in the Central East Region. I commit to following this code of ethics in my own actions and to support my co-leaders, both youth and adults, in living in covenant with each other, the region, our congregations, parents and our youth community.