Now is the time to just practice being together again. That's right - make being together the practice. This page contains ways to nurture a community of care (what we call at Faith Lab "Care Groups") with young UUs.
A Care Group is a small group of people who may only have one thing in common who will show up for each other. The topic doesn’t really matter, the content honestly doesn’t even matter. What matters is that members meet regularly and know that if someone ends up in the hospital, or is really struggling, or they’re receiving an achievement award or are making a big transition - the rest of the group will organize to care for them or celebrate with them. Youth groups can be this kind of community of care.
Questions to Ask
Remember your first time in a new group? What made you feel welcome? What made you feel like an outsider? When was a time you really felt like you belonged?
Introduce youth to the 5 Steps of Community Building from the retro Deep Fun book from 1998 and pick a game that looks doable (focus on accessibility and inclusion). Share the above graphic that departs from the linear model of community building and ask youth where they think they are now and where they want to go.
Invite your group to scheme together to pull a "reverse-prank" - something really kind or caring for another group. Find other ideas in this Care Group Post in Blue Boat Blog.
If the group is meeting in person, consider engaging in a a "welcoming audit" of the meeting location - starting at the point of arrival move through the physical space as if you were a newcomer experiencing it for the first time. What signs of hospitality and welcome do you notice, what's absent? Find other ideas in this Welcoming, Accessibility and Inclusion Post on Blue Boat Blog.