Coming of Age: A Modern UU Rite of Passage
The Coming of Age program at Unitarian Universalist Society Schenectady offers eighth and ninth graders an engaging and structured atmosphere in which to explore significant issues at this transitional stage of life.
Coming of Age provides a modern Rite of Passage experience that welcomes and affirms youth as they embark on their new journey towards young adulthood. The youth are supported on this journey not only by the class’s volunteer facilitators, but also with volunteer mentors from the congregation. This mentoring program helps foster multigenerational relationships in the community as well as give the youth another venue to discuss and explore their personal belief. It is comparable to a confirmation or bar/bat mitzvah. This curriculum is offered every other year and will be offered again in 2017-2018.
Because of the nature of the class and additional outside trips, there is a fee associated with it. The fee is sliding scale ($150-$350) in an effort to make it accessible to everyone. No youth will be turned away because of an inability to pay. This fee does not cover the Boston Heritage trip. The youth will fundraise during the year for this trip through facilitated efforts at the church. It is not the parents’ responsibility but the youths’ responsibility to raise the money as a group.
At the end of the Coming of Age year together, the youth present a worship service to the whole congregation to discuss what they’ve learned over the year and how they have grown. These “credo” statements can be present as a sermon, a poem, a visual representation, or anything that feels authentic to the youth. After COA, the youth bridge into the Senior Youth Group, where they are then empowered to create their own curriculum.
Some highlights of the program include:
- Community building time- movie nights, overnights, etc
- Development of a personal belief statement
- Learning about UU history
- Working with a mentor
- Community service project
- End of the year celebration/party for the youth and their friends
- Boston heritage trip in the spring including a trip to the UUA headquarters and Walden Pond
There are three components to the Coming of Age program:
- Mentored learning that acknowledges and engages multiple learning styles
- Values clarification through hypotheticals and expansion of thought process
- Ritual for both group and individual celebration
Coming of Age offers parents/guardians of youth participant:
- Support, with small group ministry- style gatherings throughout the year.
- Respected members of our community as mentors and role models for your children
- Safe, compassionate, loving religious community
Please contact Robin Ahearn, Director of Lifespan Religious Education, with any questions.