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About the High School program
Our youth program engages in a variety of activities – both at UUCF and away from the congregation – to encourage spiritual development, leadership and social justice learning. We provide weekly classes as well as trips, training, social activities and service opportunities. The youth program is overseen by the Youth Ministry Coordinator and the Director of Religious Exploration.
Our weekly classes for youth (9:15 and 11:15 a.m. on Sundays) are structured to encourage bonding and focus on building up a spiritual community where strong, trusting connections are made. This youth community is the foundation upon which our youth feel safe and comfortable sharing and engaging with each other on a deeper level.
The youth group meets during class time at 11:15 a.m. and features a variety of classroom lessons, games and worship activities for youth that encourage spiritual exploration, leadership development, and learning about social justice. Youth group activities challenge youth to examine the ways that their own beliefs as UUs interact with the world, and offer leadership opportunities for youth to lead class activities and to choose topics they are most interested in exploring. The group operates under a covenant of shared behavioral expectations, written by the youth, which ensure that everyone feels included, safe, and finds it comfortable to share.
The youth trips often include a beach retreat weekend in Delaware at the end of summer, a community service trip in Washington D.C. over President’s Day weekend, and opportunities for trips to New York for the UU-UNO Spring Seminar at the United Nations or a summer partner church trip. These trips allow youth to use a UU lens while socializing, providing service to others, and learning about global issues.
Staff also alerts youth and their families to district-sponsored leadership training and district level youth cons, which offer a chance to participate in activities with large youth communities and connect with UUs at other congregations. This allows individual youth to learn from other youth and trained staff from our region. They bring their experiences and new skills back to our youth program, enriching the work we do together.
The Youth Adult Committee (YAC) carries out the mission of the Youth Program. The YAC includes trained and dedicated adult advisors, youth and the Youth Ministry Coordinator. The YAC partners with the Youth Ministry Coordinator to plan the 11:15 youth group sessions. This ensures that the youth are choosing topics of interest to youth and gain leadership skills as they plan how to engage their peers in activities and discussions that explore UU principles.
The YAC is also responsible for leading and organizing various social activities, often including a Halloween corn maze, a movie marathon over spring break, sleepovers at church, and a New Years Overnight party. These social activities are crucial to building friendships and a caring community. These friendships and the safe community they create carry over to increased youth interest in participating in social justice, leadership and spiritual reflection within the group.
The YAC supports social justice projects at UUCF, such as supporting the Hypothermia shelter for the homeless, food collections with Complete the Circle, and advocacy work through protests, marches, and vigils in the community. Youth engage in this important work alongside adults. They learn how to live their faith by participating in meaningful activities that promote love and justice.
Overall, our youth program aims to provide a place of comfort and rejuvenation for the teens of UUCF while offering an exploration and reflection of UU values. All of our activities are grounded in the UU values found in our seven principles and the mission and vision of UUCF.