Youth Ministry Blog
It's with great excitement that I inform you of the 5th year of continuous growth with our MDD summer camps! Eric Bliss, DRE at First Unitarian Society of Denver and District Youth Chaplain, is returning as QUUest Camp Director. Please welcome Beth Chronister, Ministerial Intern at First Universalist Church of Denver, as our Spirit QUUuest Camp Director.
We will be supporting approximately 120 campers, youth counselors in training, young adult counselors and adult staff in their spiritual growth in the covenant of life.
As you prepare your budget, please consider the impact district summer camps have on your congregation and contribute a congregational co-pay to keep these camps running strong!
Download the support request (PDF): Congregational Co-Pay Request 2014
Thank you so much; we couldn't do it without you.
Posted Tuesday, 04 March 2014 12:28 Written by Jennica Davis
REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED
We have a great Winter Con shaping up! With all the usual fare and some of the unusual, this is really exciting. Hosted by Foothills Church in Fort Collins at the foot of the Colorado Rockies, sources assure me the weather will be "FINE!"
Activities will include unique gaggle group activities, worships, workshops and Lynn Hopkins as our keynote speaker. Hear her in action in her sermon at the First Unitarian Society of Denver: http://www.fusden.org/listen/services/authenticity-turning-insight-out.
The Keynote is "Giving Life the Shape of Justice"
Unitarian Universalists talk about 'standing on the side of love' -- we sing the song, carry the banners, even wear the t-shirts. I am not so sure that love has a side, or that standing is what we intend. We will consider what, if anything, that phrase actually means. More importantly, we will explore what working for justice has to do with Unitarian Universalist spirituality -- and why it matters, here and now, even if we never see results.
You can look forward to drumming, art, theater, leadership, spiritual practices, yoga, dance and more in the workshops.
Truly a wide variety of learning activities. Enjoy a coffee house, games and free time as well as carefully and thoughtfully prepared meals.
Friday night's worship is an Abundance Worship. Abundance is a Young Adult (age 18-35) that happens along the Front Range of Colorado every other month. At this gathering young adults cultivate and continue a connection through time spent together in conversation and interactive worship. The young adults want to offer this worship to YRUU to build a stronger bridge between our communities. This Abundance worship is titled "Embodying Love" and will give us a chance to look at the ways we find and express love. It's an invitation to look inward and cultivate the spirit that is at the heart of Standing on the Side of Love.
So prepare yourselves for learning, spirituality and just plain fun!
Posted Friday, 17 January 2014 11:00 Written by Jennica Davis
I know some of you and your youth have expressed interest in going to the Building Beloved Community event in Albuquerque, January 24-26th. Check out the details below to see if this is something you want to attend.
This is not an intentionally intergenerational event. It's not a con, it's planned by adults and there will be mostly adults in attendance. I don't intent to dissuade you from attending, the event will be chalk full of stuff you could bring back to the youth community. I just want you to have all the info so you can make an informed decision on whether or not to attend. I will be there.
Since this is not a district youth event, your congregation's guidelines regarding sending youth to an event should be in effect. Everyone will make their own travel and sleeping arrangements. I would encourage youth to attend with a parent/guardian/sponsor who can check in with them throughout the weekend etc. There will be no youth specific district paperwork that accompanies this event.
Before you come, you'll take a little "quiz" for you to find out where you are on the spectrum of intercultural competency. This will help prepare you for the weekend. The price of this assessment is included in the registration fee. The "quiz wizard" (sorry, I don't know his official title) Chad Beyer said that age 15 and above is appropriate for taking this Intercultural Development Inventory.
Please share this information with anyone who has questions about youth attending Beloved Community and feel free to call me with questions at any time!
Posted Tuesday, 14 January 2014 14:31 Written by Jennica Davis
This is an exuberant post to excitedly announce the extraordinary new District Youth Con Coordinator, Rick Wells!
Rick Wells, married to Marion for 27 years, has 2 children, Darcy (25) and David (23). Marion and Rick taught RE and later were advisors in YRUU since their kids were in grade school. In the early 1990's they were among a small group who formed High Plains UU Church. In 1995 they moved to Fort Collins and became members at Foothills UU Church and immediately volunteered in the RE program. He retired from a career as a Software Engineer last February to free up some time to pursue other interests that include art, photography, web design, recreational hockey and travel.
Rick will coordinate the scheduling, calendar and promotion for Winter Con and Bridging, coordinate registration with the PWR Registrar and work with a youth/adult Con Planning Team to plan and implement healthy, covenant based, Unitarian Universalist youth conferences in MDD in accordance with the district policies and YRUU bylaws.
Our new Con Coordinator is a huge asset to host congregational staff and and youth groups. Host congregations will still take the lead on finding and supporting a Food Coordinator - whose costs are covered by the district - and identifying a Site Coordinator - who makes sure Rick has access to the space he needs for con, but Rick and his Con Planning Team will now take over everything else!
He’s got a big job ahead of him implementing the new system dreamed up by the YAC over the past 3 years. He's got a great team of qualified youth and adult leaders for the Con Planning Team who will plan Winter Con at Foothills UU Church the first weekend in February. Soon he will be on the look out for a con planning team for Bridging Con at Jefferson Unitarian Church the second weekend in April.
The YAC will still be an integral part of the district community as representatives of the radically inclusive, youth empowering, consciousness raising social change we strive for, however they will no longer be charged with planning cons.
The YAC and I are so excited to have Rick’s expertise and enthusiasm available to district youth ministries! Please send him a hearty welcome at:
Posted Tuesday, 07 January 2014 16:37 Written by Jennica Davis
Winter Con is just around the corner. It's February 7th-9th at Foothills Unitarian Church in Fort Collins, Colorado. The theme is Standing on the Side of Love.
For many youth, this is their first chance to attend cons. For some, new experiences are exhilarating, for others it can be scary. But cons don't have to go into the "fear of the unknown" category. You can help a new buddy at your church get excited about cons by telling them what your experience is like.
After you've got your friends all hopped up cons, make sure to give them the link to registration! The deadline is January 29!
Here's some inspiration for you. It's the first con experience of Eric Bliss - esteemed DRE, Chaplain and Camp Director.
It was a beginning like no other. I was sixteen. It was my first UU youth con. Traveling winding valley roads and cliff side crags, we arrived at the Mountain, an hour or so after dark—an actual mountain, owned and operated by Unitarian Universalists in the lush green canopies, and smoky peaks of western North Carolina.
I stepped out of the cramped minivan, stretching my limbs, with the sounds of Simon and Garfunkel still reverberating in my psyche—on the tip of my tongue, like a snowflake.
Dear God, the stars. I’ve never seen so many. It was a crisp, clear February night, and they were so close, you could almost touch them. I tried, straining vainly in wonder, as a child might grasp for a toy just out of reach.
Breathing in deeply, an immense and overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility filled my being. I spun slowly, like a salt water taffy machine, the twinkling lights above me a blur.
Sounds of celebration broke my reverie, as laughter erupted from the meeting hall before me, glowing with light, broadcasting sounds of mirth and merriment.
As I entered, a group of 3 shaggy haired young folk approached me. “Ever been foofed?” one of them asked.
“Foofed?”, I responded, incredulously.
“Virgin foof!” They exclaimed, wrestling me to the ground and blowing on my belly in unison.
Now, that’s how you say hello. [Editor's note: well, that's how you said hello in the "olden days." ;) Today we've traded in foofing for "consent is cool" and make sure we're greeting people in a way they want to be greeted.]
That night I couldn’t sleep. My head was swimming. Full of smiles, and new faces… A door had opened. A part of me, yet undiscovered, had opened.
I’m not sure the hour, but it was very late - or rather, very early. I crept down to the kitchen as my throat was parched. Finding some hot cocoa, I bundled up with a blanket and shuffled quietly out, cupping my cocoa, onto the wooden porch of the lodge where we were staying, which quite literally extended out from the mountain top, overlooking a darkened valley below.
I paused, sipping my beverage.
And the sun began to rise. It felt like trumpets were playing in my soul. I was dumbfounded. Exhilirated. Humbled. Grateful. A spec. A universe. Alive.
People began to shuffle bleary eyed into the hall for breakfast.
“It’s beautiful isn’t it?” an adult voice said from behind me.
“Beyond description,” I uttered, breathless.
We stood silently amidst the morning bustle for long moments drinking in the sight, savoring it like sweet nectar from fresh honey suckle.
And when I turned around, my mystery companion had rejoined the crowd.
Smiling, I returned to bed for a few ephemeral winks, eventually, woken to the sounds of a discordant, untuned guitar attempting to play Aerosmith’s Dream on. Life can be funny.
Looking back, I left a little piece of me on that mountain top that brisk winter in Carolina. But I also, was reborn. Like the soap white rhododendron blossoms which return each year, peppering that selfsame mountain in warmer months, and glistening with the perspiration of summer.
Posted Thursday, 02 January 2014 14:35 Written by Jennica Davis
In honor of Valentine's Day, the theme of 2014 Winter Con is Standing on the Side of Love (SSL). SSL is an interfaith advocacy campaign sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association. It seeks to harness love’s power to stop oppression. It's not some old school Kumbaya Committee, it's about elevating compassionate religious voices to influence public attitudes and public policy. It's about community activism, social networking, media outreach and equiping people across the nation to counter fear and make love REAL in the world!
If you care that our communities are being threatened by the increased prevalence of acts motivated by fear and hate; if you believe that no one should be dehumanized through acts of exclusion, oppression, or violence because of their identities; if you want to know more about public debates on immigrant justice, LGBTQ equality, and more, then click this link to see when and how you can participate in the Standing on the Side of Love Con!
Posted Monday, 16 December 2013 18:07 Written by Jennica Davis
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