tween covenant groups

Living the Tradition

(A program for junior high youth age 13-15)

Program overview: this age group can and will leave the congregations of their childhood unless we actively pursue the means to keep them engaged and educated. Using a variety of learning modalities including a small group ministry model and the pillars of religious education we hope to engage the youth in their own process by asking for and implementing their evaluations and needs for the program.

Program Goals: to engage this age group with defining Unitarian Universalist identity using culturally relevant material and media in their own lives.

To explore further understanding of our Judeo-Christian heritage (using Biblical myths) both as Unitarian Universalists and as global citizens.

To build friendships and connections to the religious community using the five steps to community as outlined by the youth office of the UUA

To further a commitment to social justice by planning, choosing and following through on at least one major social action project for the year.

To further develop their sense of self-identity, self-esteem and fun.

Facilitators: Young teens require leadership who understand the times in which we live and can relate to them while maintaining their own identity as responsible adults. This age needs boundaries set in a malleable structure moderate consistency. A commitment to the age group and the program is necessary for a successfully meaningful program. A male and female leadership team is suggested.

Adult leaders will need facilitation technique training and youth advisor related training or have has relevant experience.

Remaining flexible to the groups needs, its dynamics and being culturally aware are critical to the group’s engagement. Responding to the evaluation process in order to implement the teen’s suggestions and needs will be done on a regular basis.

Evaluation process will be done weekly using index cards asking the following:

What did you like about today’s session?

What would you change?

What have you learned?

The adult leaders will process the evaluation cards each week; the results will be implemented in following sessions and discussed with group.

The model listed below is an outline of a sample year:

A. 6th Grade early spring overnight retreat- this enhances the sixth grade experience and lays the foundation for the group to continue in September. The goals of the retreat are to begin a bonding process, to have fun together, to gain an understanding of the group dynamic.

B. September –December-planned sessions using four week cycles (exception for #2; which will be used in a two week cycle).

1. Paradigms Lost and Regained by Jeff Liebman (life skills)

2. Small group ministry process (using culturally relevant material as kick-off for discussions on ethics) and social action proposals

3. Heresy Apparent (UU identity/heritage)

4. “Living the Promise” and “A Kingdom of Equals” Judeo-Christian

C. Jan-May- using a weekly evaluation process collected from the fall sessions, some lessons will be planned using the results and suggestion from the teens.

*continue the cycle as noted above reserving two weeks of the month for their suggested sessions. The adult leaders will work with the group and empower them to designing the sessions themselves.

**The small group ministry process follows:

Chalice lighting/opening ritual

Check-in by the group

Introduce theme example watch a Friends/Simpsons episode to lead a discussion on values/ethics/Unitarian Universalism.

Process discussion

Closing ritual