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young adults walk an outdoor labyrinth in golden light of early morning

Meaning Makers participants walk one of the labyrinths together at the first opening retreat

Meaning Makers: a program for 18-24 year old UUs
Meaning Makers
Faith Development, Young Adult Faith Development (ages 18-35)

What Is Meaning Makers?

Meaning Makers is a spiritual development program for young Unitarian Universalists (UUs). Through in-person retreats, virtual small group ministry and mentorship, emerging adults explore different aspects of our faith and gain lasting connections. 

The program begins with a retreat at UBarU Camp and Retreat Center in Texas where participants bond with their small group and focus on personal and UU identities. Participants then meet with their small group of peers once a month via video conference as they explore one of the three focus areas for the 2018-19 program. These monthly meetings are supplemented by one-on-one meetings with a UU mentor.  The last retreat took place June 5-9, 2018 at UBarU where last year's cohort will close out the program and this year's group got started. Though previous programs have lasted a full year, the 2018-19 program was for a half-year, creating a shorter but hopefully sweeter and more fulfilling program.

What are the focus areas?

Previously Meaning Makers has focused on the young adult meditation manual becoming: A Spiritual Guide for Navigating Adulthood. This year we are zooming in on three specific topics under the larger theme of "Living UU." Participants will rank their interest in these topics as they register and will be placed in groups accordingly. 

  • Living UU: spiritual practice and our sacred sources
    This group will explore our six sources through practical spiritual practices we can apply to our lives. We’ll develop deeper understandings of ourselves, our faith, our beliefs and how to live Unitarian Universalism.
  • Living UU: navigating need for spiritual community
    This group will explore how we can stay connected with our UU communities, navigate community challenges, find new supportive communities and even create communities to meet our spiritual needs.  Being young can mean lots of transition and figuring out how to get that community support is key!
  • Living UU: our values at every level
    This group will explore how we can live our UU values from the personal level to affecting systemic change. We’ll develop skills for discerning our values, making daily decisions, living values in relationships and communities, and working to shift our larger systems.

Who Is Meaning Makers for?

This program is designed for emerging UU adults, ages 18-24.  This population is less likely than other age groups to be served by local UU communities. We know that bridging out of youth community and finding ways to deepen one’s Unitarian Universalist faith as a young adult can be a challenge. That’s why this opportunity is designed for UU identified young people with at least two years of experience in UU community.

"Being a part of meaning makers opened up a space for me that I didn't believe existed. After bridging out of youth group I was lost ... Meaning makers gave me great resources. It's given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be UU and has helped me realize different ways I can be a part of my faith." 
—participant 2016-17 cohort

"It allowed me to really be myself, and I was appreciated for being me. I discovered that my soul needs different modes of worship than what I had previously thought. This program was enriching in many ways, and I can't wait to go back." 
—participant 2017-18 cohort

Sign Up for Meaning Makers

The two-part registration process includes an online form (PDF for reference only)—links will be provided when the registration process opens—and a letter of recommendation. Registration opens and continues on a rolling basis until the program fills.

Letter of Recommendation

You will need to submit a letter of recommendation from someone who can speak to your UU identity and spiritual journey. Your recommender should share with why they think Meaning Makers would be a good experience for you and how you will contribute to the program. You can provide your recommender with this information sheet (PDF) about the letter of recommendation.


The cost to participants for this year's Meaning Makers was $200 per retreat, which covers lodging, food and transportation to the retreat from San Antonio airport. Through the generosity of our donors, need-based financial assistance and travel subsidies for flights are available. We intend to keep this program as affordable as possible for all participants.

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