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Youth Observers to the UUA Board of Trustees

Every year prior to General Assembly, the Youth Observer (YO) to the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Board of Trustees is elected. The Youth Observer to the Board is an important, national leadership position held by a Unitarian Universalist (UU) youth who is appointed by UU youth in a national election.

The 2015-2016 Youth Observer Election has ended!

We are pleased to announce Caleb Leman and Olivia Calvi as the 2015-2016 Youth Observers. Both Olivia and Caleb have served our faith in numerous leadership roles and they are looking forward to serving Unitarian Universalism in this new role.

Serving UU Youth and Our Faith: Statement from the 2014-2015 Youth Observer

I am very passionate and thankful for Unitarian Universalism because through my experience as a youth and specifically being trained as a chaplain has taught me how to be a better friend, ally and leader, as well as giving me a place where I feel like I can be myself. This has led me to the desire to support Unitarian Universalism in the life of others using the position of youth observer to the Unitarian Universalist Board of Trustees. My experience as a youth adviser to the board of a previous high school I attended and my current position as the co-chair of the Youth Adult Council at my church have re-emphasized my belief that youth and our representation are very important to the life and direction of Unitarian Universalism. This belief inspires me to follow a path of service and leadership within our broader community and would continue to inspire me in the role of observer.

Benji Janapol
2014-2015 Youth Observer to the
Unitarian Universalist Association Board of Trustees
Congregation: Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church, Woodinville, WA

What's It Like to Be the Youth Observer?: Statement from the 2010-2011 Youth Observer

I had the opportunity to serve Unitarian Universalism in a way I had never before imagined. As the Youth Observer to the UUA Board of Trustees, I had the full responsibilities of any other board member, except voting. This meant I served on committees and working groups, attended calls, and worked individually and in large and small teams. Throughout the year, I was often inspired by the board's efficacy, integrity, knowledge, rigor, and humor. I was also often confused, overly-busy (due to inconvenient timing), and drained. However, I have no regrets about my term as the YO. I have had my mind changed in dramatic ways, and have a much more deep and nuanced understanding of our religious movement. If you are an inspired youth with the confidence to speak to elders, the ability to juggle a heavy workload regardless of competing priorities, and a passion for Unitarian Universalism, I would urge you to run for Youth Observer.

In Ever-Sturdier Faith,

Caleb Raible-Clark
2010-2011 Youth Observer to the
Unitarian Universalist Association Board of Trustees

What's the Youth Observer?: Job Description & Mission Statement

The Youth Observer is the primary liaison between GA Youth Caucus and the Board, but represents a larger youth voice on the Board. The Youth Observer is charged with:

  • Informing GA Youth Caucus and Youth Caucus staff of relevant Board issues at the Youth Observer's discretion;
  • Staying informed about the planning and activities of GA Youth Caucus;
  • Keeping abreast of national issues that are of interest to Unitarian Universalist youth in districts and congregations;
  • Linking and nurturing relationships between youth leaders in districts and congregations across the nation;
  • Seeking out qualified youth candidates as future Youth Observers and for other UUA volunteer positions.
  1. The Youth Observer shall serve their term without vote.
  2. Excluding matters of voting, The Youth Observer shall bear the same responsibilities and accountabilities as defined for trustees.
  3. With consent of the Board, the enumerated tasks of the Youth Observer may evolve as the structures of denominational youth leadership evolve.

The Mission Statement for the Unitarian Universalist Association Board of Trustees is:

"Guided by the vision embodied in the Purposes and Principles of the UUA and in anti-racist imperatives approved by previous Boards, the mission of the Board of Trustees of the UUA includes by is not limited to: Creation of goals for the Association, in cooperation with the General Assembly, administration, and our constituents; Establishment of policies for the Association, guided by those goals; Empowerment of our member congregations through Board leadership in cooperation with the UUA administration, staff, and volunteers; Modeling of UU values in our lives and in our roles as Trustees; Stewardship in developing and managing the resources of the UUA."

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