Youth - Sunday Morning

Director of Religious Education sharing a story during the service

Each Sunday begins with all school age youth attending the worship service with their parents. We feel that it is important for our families to have a chance to experience church together before the youth go off to class. Once a month we have a multi-generational service in which the youth stay for the whole service. These services are meant to inspire all ages. On other Sundays, the youth will leave for class with their teachers after a story or lesson for all ages. The message from the story or lesson will continue into the classroom for further discussion and activities.

 

September through May

Pre-School and Kindergarten Spirit Play 
Spirit Play is a Montessori-based program that teaches children about Unitarian Universalist principles, history, and liturgy through storytelling and play. The Spirit Play classroom is a special, child centered place to be together to discover the spirit of love and mystery that some people call God.
Children discover their own answers to the existential questions: Where did we come from? What are we doing here? How do we choose to live our lives? What happens when we die? Core stories of our faith are presented with special props.
Following the stories, children are guided toward making meaning through wondering and art. A spiritual community that supports multiple learning styles is created.

1st - 3rd grade & 4th - 6th grade Young Group Ministry
Each month the church has a theme and each week the worship service and the religious education lessons will follow a topic for that theme. The discussions and activities during this time will reflect the message shared with the adults in the service. With the lessons being created each week, we are able to match the learning styles of the children to the activities prepared for each class. 

7th & 8th grade Crossing Paths offered 2018/2019
(formally known as Neighboring Faiths)
Crossing Paths takes the approach of religious pluralism. Instead of claiming that one religion is better than others or that all religions are really the same, this view understands religions as separate systems of belief dealing with distinct human challenges. Rather than seeing all religions as different paths leading to the same mountaintop, this view sees each religion as its own beautiful mountain. Crossing Paths is about exploring a new “mountain” each month, thus our tagline “Many Mountains; Many Paths.” 
Each month the class will explore a new religion and end the month with a visit to a place of worship for that religion. 

7th & 8th grade Coming of Age offered 2019/2020
Coming of Age ceremonies, marking the transition from childhood to young adult, are as old as history. They have included ritual abductions, vision quests, and bar and bat mitzvahs, all to help youth learn about themselves and prepare for adulthood. 
This Coming of Age program is designed to acknowledge the transition between childhood and adolescence. It is a vibrant program focusing on the youths themselves and each unique journey.  Coming of age is a transformative experience. 
Our goals are to:
•    Provide youth with the tools to begin intentionally shaping their own spiritual lives
•    Encourage youth to create their own “empowering stories”
•    Create a space and time for deep authentic relationships among youth, facilitators, mentors, and the congregation

During the Coming of Age year youth experience learning, testing, ritual, and celebration. 
The program includes:
•    An Opening & Ending Ceremony
•    Sessions tackling life’s “big questions”
•    A Chalice Circle retreat
•    Weekly games
•    Exploring religious beliefs through art & music

Coming of Age Service

Beyond Sunday Morning***
One Sunday afternoon a month, youth can participate in the full Coming of Age program.  This extra portion also includes:
•    Mentor orientation & ritual
•    Developing a relationship with a mentor
•    Service project
•    Creating & presenting a faith statement
•    A Wilderness Journey Retreat

***NOTE: Youth can choose to not participate in the Beyond Sunday Morning Coming of Age components of this program and only attend the Sunday morning classes

Youth Group9th - 12th grade High School Youth Group

Youth Group youth meet with advisors to participate in a supportive environment in which they can explore their feelings about themselves, their world and their religion.

Our core youth program for high school students provides experiences in community building and fellowship, worship and congregational engagement, social action, UU values, and youth-led sessions exploring the monthly themes and other topics of importance to our youth and their world. Youth and advisors work jointly to plan and participate in social action projects, leadership development, and opportunities for worship.     

The youth will be invited to attend district and local youth conferences throughout the year. At these events, youth participate in planned & spontaneous activities and meet other UU youth from churches in Wisconsin, Michigan and other parts of Illinois. Lasting friendships develop within the local youth group and across the district. CON’s are notorious for bringing teens ‘out of their shell’ and helping to develop social skills and confidence.

Youth Group is a wonderful experience for teens – it broadens their perspectives and gives them a comfortable atmosphere in which to discuss the issues they are dealing with, as they become adults.

 

Youth Group at General Assembly
Youth Group at General Assembly in New Orleans

High school-age UUs put our faith into action every day by daring to be real, showing acceptance and support, leading with courage, and acting for justice.

After all, what is religion for if it isn’t about changing your life—and changing the world—for the better?

You may contact our Director of Religious Education, Steve Cooper, to learn more about any of our youth programs or how to register your child.