Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Youth Leadership

Fourth in a series of posts about the October 2009 UUA Board meeting

I first wrote about youth ministry on this blog in May of 2008, detailing the Summit on Youth Ministry in July of 2007 and the decision to dismantle the current continental youth organization known as YRUU (Young Religious Unitarian Universalists). Unfortunately, despite many good intentions and a number of planning meetings, there is no national structure that has taken its place.

Do we need one? UUA President Peter Morales made a good point at the last board meeting the youth ministry cannot be "done" effectively by the UUA -- it requires strong commitment and engagement at the congregation level, as laid out in the Responsive Resolution on Youth at GA 2008. What I am realizing is that "youth ministry" and "youth leadership" are not the same thing. Though the Board has a strong interest in both, its immediate interest in "youth leadership" is even keener -- where do we provide the kind of training and experience that ensures the voice of our youth is "at the table" in the UUA Board room, and the various committees appointed by Board and staff, with the level of expertise and grace shown by Nick Allen and Joe Gayeski, respectively our current Youth Trustee at Large and Youth Observer? Nick reminds us that we are losing an entire generation of youth as the planning begins again with a new administration.

The Board is currently wading its way through how we hold the President and his staff accountable for their role in addressing this, versus what the Board needs to address through policy. This will be a major agenda item in January, where the Board will take into consideration the following information provided by staff:
  • Chronology about what happened from 2004 on
  • Where are we now on District and National Youth Leadership?
  • Administration’s vision
  • What are the models of youth leadership in other denominations?


  • Text of Responsive Resolution on Youth (from GA 2008)
  • Consultation to and with Youth
  • Mosaic Report
Each board trustee will also be contacting youth leadership in their own districts.

What are our values around youth leadership? How should this be reflected in policy?

Next post: Guest post on the UUSC "lens" by Nancy Barlett, Mid-South District Trustee


Beth said...

Hi Linda,

Thanks so much for this distinction between "youth ministry" and "youth leadership." We are indeed losing an opportunity to develop amazing youth leaders. There were so many opportunities for youth of my generation (I'm 25)! The UUA cannot meet the needs of every individual youth, but they can develop the leadership of youth to bring back to congregations.

In community,
Beth Dana
(on staff for the Consultation on Ministry To and With Youth 2005-2007 and an interested observer ever since)

Anonymous said...

It's all about media. New Media.
If I had $750,000 I'd build a media center and staff it with Young people. etc.....