This is for those who are generously directing your energy towards growing UU youth communities by organizing a youth event. Thank you, you are awesome!
As we tend to these sprouting communities, the most important thing we can do is learn/teach the skills for creating communities of care. A community of care is any group of individuals who support each other’s wellbeing, act in ways that foster hospitality, acceptance, and inclusivity, co-create and abide by mutual agreements (covenant), and have a process of repair when needed.
A community of care model creates a “leader-ful ecosystem,” meaning that every person involved plays a role in maintaining the vitality of the collective, not just a few select and specially trained individuals.
So, how is this done? Slowly and with intention. Here are some ideas you can try on before and at your event:
Supporting Each Other’s Wellbeing
- Create a “care station” where people can leave self care items for people to share/use. Ex: tea, lotion, massage balls (no OTC meds like Tylenol). Print out and leave this Self and Community Care Zine (Google Doc).
- Do an Emotional Care Pop Up Workshop (Google Doc)
Fostering Hospitality, Acceptance and Inclusion
- Do a welcome/accessibility audit of the building (warning: this post was written in 2018 so contains pre-pandemic optimism.)
- This set of graphics explains it all: Just say HAAI on YUUP Instagram
- Pick one of the many tools from this Faith Lab Toolbox on Covenanting
- Create an empowered environment where everyone knows What is Right Relationship and some simple ways to get back to it.
- If there are incidents that cannot be resolved interpersonally during the event, turn to this Restorative Sessions Worksheet (Google Doc) for religious professionals.
For More Learning
- Creating Community at GA
- Faith Lab Toolkit
- Blue Boat Post on Care Groups
- CAPACITAR Emergency Response Tool Kit (PDF)
- Decision Fatigue and Cognitive Overload (PDF)
- Not for Ourselves Alone: Theological Essays on Relationship
- Care for the World: Reflections on Community Ministry
- Beyond Welcome: Building Communities of Love
- On Repentance and Repair