The Teenz; A Collaborative Youth Group Experience
Our youth group is for Sr. High students age 14-19. The youth are largely self-directed but are supported by the loving guidance of trained adult Youth Advisors. This group of teens from both First UU and May Memorial meet weekly to discuss issues that are of concern to Unitarian Universalist youth, such as UU identity, social justice issues, and service projects. They also travel several times each year to youth conferences where they connect with other youth across the region and take peer-led workshops that promote development of their UU faith. In addition, they spend a fair amount of time just having fun in community with one another.
For those of you who have never experienced a youth CON here’s a little excerpt from one of our former youth, Elena Karpoff,
“I was not emotionally prepared to go back and experience the “real world” today. I mean, how do I even explain how I feel about cons to someone who has never been to one before? By the youth who felt they never had friends until they came into this community? By the youth who was bullied their entire life and finally felt hope after attending a con? By the youth who was brave enough to perform a beautiful song at coffeehouse at their first con ever and brought nearly the entire sanctuary to tears?
These were just a couple of anecdotes from this wonderful weekend, and I can remember so many more from the previous 19 cons I attended. Twenty-something other seniors experienced a roller coaster of emotions, facing the reality that it’s time for us to move on and make room for someone else.
As I heard someone say in the Angel Walk (an emotional trust activity with the opportunity to give affirmations held Saturday night at the last con of each year), they felt as though a part of their soul was being taken away from them. If you are reading this and have never been to a con before, I hope there’s some god-given place in this universe where you feel you can be your authentic self. For me, during high school, it was cons.”
THIS is why we do the work we do.