We aim to galvanize the youth of our movement by deepening our UU spirituality and values. We aim to build a strong community at General Assembly (GA) where each person knows:
We can bring our whole selves (all our identities) to GA Youth and be welcome.
We can support each other and count on each other to get the most out of GA.
At General Assembly there are many volunteers and teams dedicated to self and community care.
- The GA Chaplains have training in listening, crisis intervention and non-directive helping and can provide you with an outlet for feelings and a compassionate presence.
- The Safety Team is responsible for supporting and modeling community safety at GA by responding to and intervening in incidents of harm, attending to crises both medical and emotional and interacting with outside agencies including the police towards the safety of convening participants.
- The Right Relationship Team exists to listen to and engage with people who have experienced problems of oppression while at General Assembly.
Building Radically Inclusive Community
In order to build radically inclusive community we:
Use Inclusive Language and offer alternatives when people use words that unintentionally exclude us or other members of our community.
Lift up the voices of those of us who are people of color, LGBTQ people and people on the margins while being mindful of Cultural (Mis)appropriation.
Are familiar with Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation definitions and help others understand.
Recognize systemic racism and microaggressions and engage in conversations about race.
Invite people to share correct pronouns, accept when people choose to pass (maybe they’re not sure what pronouns they want to use, maybe they’re not ready).
Creating Communities of Care
The foundation of a community of care is covenant, or a sacred promise we make to one another of how we want to be together. We will create a covenant together at GA. If our covenant is broken, or someone breaks a rule or law, we'll engage in a restorative process called Energy Committee.
We also want to create space for feedback, and really listen. We welcome in “Brave Space” where we can be vulnerable, mess up, and try again. We celebrate the unique multigenerational environment of GA by welcoming kids, young adults and older adults into the Youth spaces. We support traditions and rituals that help youth show support and care for one another.
To Create a Culture of Care, Just Remember to Say "HAAI!"
Hospitality—Specific Signs of Welcoming
“We’re so glad you’re here! Need a snack?” When you meet someone
Introducing youth to one another and help each other through the awkward beginning stages of conversation
Learning about each youth, what they’re passionate about and what makes them tick
Having fun and playing games together
Creating introvert space and time
Keeping dietary restrictions in mind
Having a first aid kit and care supplies available
Addressing the identities in the room—not invisibilizing
Treating people as a complex set of identities, not pigeonholing
Allowing youth to be kids as well as prophetic leaders
Asking for people’s pronouns and using correct pronouns
Co-creating a covenant and dedicate time to revisit it
If leaders notice participants are coupling or cliquing up, inviting other participants to mention it to them
Encouraging youth to call each other into covenant
Youth are informed of the rules and consequences before they arrive and they are reviewed verbally on the first day
Wearing name tags so we can call you by your name
Monitoring participants coupling or cliquing up
Encouraging youth to hang out with each other, not with staff
Lifting up the quieter voices
Important Notes About Self Care
GA is a marathon not a sprint, pace yourself,
Don’t feel like you have to do everything, but try some new things!
Drink water, eat, take showers, brush your teeth,
Check in with your sponsor, let them know if there’s anything they can do to help better your GA experience,
Let GA Youth staff know if there’s anything they can do to help improve your experience at GA,
Take time to sleep! Programming starts early and ends late and we want to be energized throughout!
Talk to someone post-programming or whenever you feel you need to to debrief.