Children and Youth are integral parts of our religious community. For them we have a complete RE program, ranging from Child Care for preschool children to YRUU for the high school youth, and they regularly attend at least part of a service. The RE program is staffed by our Director of Religious Education, Cindy Wakeland, and a cadre of volunteer teachers. Parents and other members are involved either as teachers, as occasional participants, or as mentors in the Coming of Age class. The RE program encourages our children and youth to grow morally and spiritually, and to each find her or his own path.
We gratefully acknowledge the efforts of our teachers, and they in turn often find teaching in RE to be a profoundly rewarding life experience. Because teachers are also valued members of the congregation, we offer a “Hybrid Co-op Plan” that allows teachers to rotate in and out of RE on one of several part-time schedules, that allows for regular participation and continuity in the classroom and also regular participation in Sunday worship.
Currently, the RE program involves 24 teachers leading 7 classes with 97 children and youth participating.
PRESCHOOL – CELEBRATING ME AND MY WORLD
In our UU communities, we seek to provide young children with experiences and opportunities to grow in their sense of trust and caring, to develop their self-identity, and to deepen their sense of connection with all of life. This UU curriculum celebrates the wondrous qualities of children and expands outward to the things and people around them.
KINDERGARTEN AND FIRST GRADE – CREATING HOME
This curriculum helps the children develop a sense of home that is grounded in faith. The program speaks of the home as a place of belonging, including the congregation as a “faith home.” Like a family home, a “faith home” offers members certain joys, protections, and responsibilities.
SECOND AND THIRD GRADE – SIGNS OF OUR FAITH: BEING UU EVERY DAY
Signs of faith guide children to do their best every day. As UUs we are asked to be faithful to what we love. Children will learn about traits and values and look at their own lives to see how these are present or can become present in their everyday lives.
FOURTH AND FIFTH GRADE – SING TO THE POWER
Sing to the Power affirms our Unitarian Universalist heritage of confronting "powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love." Participants experience their own power and understand how it can help them to be leaders.
SIXTH AND SEVENTH GRADE – NEIGHBORING FAITHS
Neighboring Faiths introduces youth to faith traditions and practices of other religions in their community. Leaders and participants together plan their program, determine which religious groups they want to learn about, visit, and relate to their growing UU faith. This journey builds community among the youth, connects them with their congregation and larger community, and strengthens their UU identity.
EIGHTH AND NINTH GRADE – OUR WHOLE LIVES
This class follows a curriculum created by the UU church and the United Church of Christ. Unlike other sexuality curricula currently available, OWL is not focused solely on preventing or reducing problems such as high rates of sexually transmitted infections and unintended teen pregnancies. While the program certainly equips youth with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to avoid these consequences, it has the proactive goal of helping youth to become sexually healthy people who feel good about themselves and their bodies, remain healthy, and build positive, equitable, loving relationships. The program is inclusive, respecting diversity of all kinds, including gender expression and disability status.
NINTH THROUGH TWELFTH GRADE – YRUU – SELF-CHOSEN CURRICULUM
The Youth Class is a self-led class with both the youth and the leaders taking leadership roles. They talk about what is on their mind, UU issues and beliefs, and worldwide events. They plan and share a youth worship service, help with service projects, and have fun on an annual ski trip.
A lay-led adult discussion group meets weekly following the Sunday service. Topics for discussion include current events, spirituality, the environment, and anything of interest to the group. Topics for upcoming weeks are suggested by the members. The person who suggests a topic leads the discussion on it. The group is completely open at all times, and no registration is required.
ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION GROUPS
Other groups form from time to time to discuss a particular topic of interest, such as a book or social action topic.