Backyard to the Universe
Balanced Youth Program
Youth Programming Manual
Social Justice, Worship, Activities and Fellowship (Community), Learning, Leadership, Youth and Adult Relations
Following is a way of including the Six Components of a Balanced Youth Program into a youth activity in a church or conference. It was first used in this format at the Junior Youth Conference in the Northeast District in December 2005. Small groups of 5-8 participants addressed the questions individually and shared their results with the total group. Responses were recorded on flip chart papers posted around the room. This was basic discussion before doing the Scavenger Hunt.
Social Action/Social Justice
Green is the color for treating the earth and each other responsibly. Green is for social action. Because youth have passionate opinions about social issues, the youth in this denomination have been at the forefront of social action activities. YRUU is a place for youth to express and explore our values, to put action behind our concerns. Social action projects are an important way for YRUUers to put hands and feet on our principles while having fun.
How have you been involved in social action?
What are some of the resources for social action?
Who is responsible for social action in your congregation?
What is there in a church that tells about how the congregation does social action?
Sometimes Social Action is called Social Justice or Faith In Action. What name do you prefer and why?
Red is for worship; the heart, compassion, and love we share together. Don’t forget, the “R” in YRUU is for “religious.” YRUU is a spiritual and religious home for youth. Worship is an important and sacred part of many UU youth events. Youth worship tends to be interactive and non-traditional. It often takes place in a circle, with sharing as a focus. Many youth groups also put on Youth Sunday worship services in congregations. Worship is a time and place where we can share UU spirituality and caring with the larger community.
How have you been involved in worship in your congregation?
Does your congregation have a service led by youth?
What are some of the resources for developing worship?
Who is responsible for worship in your congregation?
What is there in a church that tells about how the congregation worships?
In literature, yellow is the color of memory and reminiscence. It honors our friends and loved ones, and the social aspects of youth programs. Community building, or socializing, is a time for people to get to know one another. Some of the most valuable experiences in YRUU happen during social activities. This is the time to bond together, share values, establish trust, generate intimacy, and practice acceptance. Community building is the time to share our liberal religious values by getting to know one another.
How are people welcomed into your congregation?
How are youth welcomed into your youth activities?
What makes you feel comfortable when you go into a new group?
How is needed for a congregation or youth activity to be accessible?
Does your congregation have a Small Group Ministry program? (list the congregations) Are youth involved in Small Group Ministry?
Review The Five Steps to Building Community – copy will be given to each church.
In some eastern philosophies, blue represents intellectual growth and mental energy. Almost every aspect of YRUU can provide learning experiences for youth. RE curricula are great resources for learning in YRUU. However, curricula do not provide the only learning opportunities for youth. YRUU is a great place for discussion — sparked by the topic of a guest speaker, movie, or from youth's own experiences. YRUU is a safe place to expand our horizons and to learn more about the world around us.
What opportunities are there in your congregation for learning?
Name a learning experience that has been meaningful for you, such as a curriculum or specific program.
What do you need to learn? Or how do you learn best? How can you do that in your church?
How have you helped someone learn about Unitarian Universalism?
Purple, the color of royalty, represents leadership and self-governance. One of biggest contributions YRUU makes to our denomination is the development of youth leadership. YRUU is primarily a youth-led organization in which youth have the opportunity to learn and practice their leadership skills. Leadership in YRUU is different from other models of leadership in our culture. In YRUU, leadership is about learning how to work together, facilitate, reach consensus, foster cooperation, and make sure every person gets heard.
Who are the leaders of your church (name positions)? How visible are they?
Do leaders have to have specific leadership titles in order to be good leaders? Explain
What leadership roles have youth had?
How can youth be effective leaders?
What is needed for youth to become effective leaders?
Can you tell what these leadership trainings or positions are or do?
Orange is for the warmth of the bond between youth and their elders, essential to youth empowerment. YRUU communities where youth and adults work together and have power with each other have huge potential. Intergenerational environments encourage all of the other components of youth programming. Youth and adults can learn from each other, experience youth worship, build community, empower each other to lead, and make a difference in the world through social action.
What interactions do you have with adults in your own congregation?
How are your youth advisors chosen?
What do you look for if you were recruiting an adult advisor?
How do you describe when there is a good relationship between youth and adults?
What commitment is needed in order to make youth and adult relationships work?
What is empowerment? How do youth and adults empower each other?