Page updated November 2, 2020.
Young Adults at General Assembly (YA@GA) exists to support, connect, and transform young adults and folks of all generations at UUA General Assembly. In part, YA@GA is a harbor for us to gather and build power collectively. In part, YA@GA is a site of multigenerational joy, learning, and exploration. In practice, that looks like worship, workshops, hang-outs, caucusing, and other activities, that center the experience of young adults (even if they're not just for young adults).
The UUA uses the phrase "Young Adult" to refer to folks ages 18–35 years old, though our congregational communities may have other ways of designating that age range. Additionally, you might hear reference to "Emerging Adult," a subcategory of Young Adulthood for folks between the ages 18–24 years old. Though emerging adults have a wide variety of contexts and experiences, there's a growing recognition that we need resources and support for this specific life stage. Nonetheless, Young Adult at General Assembly programming is for all UUs ages 18–35 years old, and welcomes folks of all generations to some of its spaces.
The program focus of Young Adults at General Assembly has shifted in 2020. We know that GA 2021 will be an all-virtual experience, given the ongoing reality of the pandemic. At GA 2020, we learned a lot of things: about emergent online spaces, about youth and young adult collective-building, about how our communities and institutions need to continue to transform in relations to young people. A powerful Responsive Resolution was passed in support of ministries to Youth and Young Adults.
In response, the UUA staff at the Office of Lifespan Faith Engagement (which includes some of, but not all, of our denomination's support to youth and young adult ministries) worked with GA2020 youth and young adult leaders to reconceive the program focus and staffing structure of GA Youth and YA@GA. You can read more about that process: YaYA GA New Staffing Structure. But for Young Adults coming to General Assembly, the vision for YA@GA this year is a program that is co-created, emergent, and responsive to young adults.
We know that young adults come to General Assembly with a range of experiences and identities. We are college students; we are young professionals. We are lifelong Unitarian Universalists (UUs); we are newcomers to the faith. We are single; we are partnered; we have children. We are thoroughly involved in this religious movement; we may want to be; we may not know how to be.
The YA@GA team is led by two co-facilitators who serve staggered two-year terms. Each year there are 2-3 additional staff on the team, who are selected through an application process in the fall. Throughout the year, the staff get training in emergent facilitation, represent YA interest in GA planning, and build relationships with young adult communities and other UU folks—all in the end to support Young Adults in claiming their Voices, nourishing their Spirits, and connecting in Community. When we meet in-person, the team has their travel, room, board, & registration covered by the UUA and grants from the General Assembly planning committee. When we have virtual GA (like GA 2021), the staff receives a commensurate stipend for their work.
Several forms of financial aid and scholarships are available to young adults needing assistance in attending General Assembly. Volunteers have their registration paid in exchange for a number of volunteer hours at GA. General GA scholarships are available and young adult specific scholarships are also available; applicants are considered for both scholarship programs through their one application form. More information about this for GA 2021 will be available in January 2021.
For GA 2021, we will be all-virtual. For an in-person GA, information about housing at GA—including hotels, home hospitality, and an email list to assist with finding roommates—can be found at General Assembly Housing.