Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Religious Education Programming for Children and Youth 2013-2014

Religious Education programs for children and youth start September 15, 2013. Registration forms will be available @ FUSS starting September 8 and online. Every child and youth must be registered. There is no fee for the programs, with the exception of Coming of Age.

Religious Education programs are run on a cooperative model. Parents of children and youth are asked to volunteer in areas that speak to their strengths. Because we are an intentional, committed, faith community, and not a service provider,  parents are expected to participate in the life of the congregation and must remain onsite while their children are in RE classes.

Our youngest, children ages three and under, are cared for by paid nursery attendants. The nursery is set up intentionally with age appropriate toys and books that acknowledge and honor and value different kinds of people and families. Our goal is to provide a safe and loving space for our youngest to become comfortable in our community.

2013-2014 Religious Education program offerings:

Grades PreK/K. Creating Home and Love Surrounds Us. Children ages 4-6 meet in a room next door to the nursery. They are led by a committed team of adults who have experience with our religious values and practices, the curriculum, and children.

Grades 1-5. Workshop Adventure. Children ages 6 - 11. Children begin together at Waters House for a short, interactive worship (approximately 20 minutes) focused on a wisdom story or ethical tale that teaches Unitarian Universalist values. Singing, sharing, mindfulness practices, curiosity, and movement are all part of a children’s chapel worship.

After group worship, the children head out with their adult guide to a designated workshop room. Room themes include outdoor explorations in nature, movement and art. Workshop leaders guide the children through an experience that helps children explore the worship theme or story as Unitarian Universalists.

There will be 2-3  groups with combined ages which will depend on the number of children registered in each age group.

Grades 6-7. JUUNIOR Youth: Building Bridges. Children ages 11-13. Adults and youth will work together continuing an exploration of film media. Working with adults, youth will plan, film and edit 2-3 short pieces. Youth will also travel off site to visit other faith communities including the Grafton Peace Pagoda,the Sikh Temple in Niskayuna, and a synagogue.

Grades 8-9. Coming of Age. Youth ages 13-15. A modern Rite of Passage that is welcoming, affirming, and connects across the generations of our FUSS community. Coming of Age meets 2-3 times monthly for workshops, UU pilgrimages, ropes course, social action and more. The Coming of Age program includes mentored learning, values clarification and physical challenges, ritual for both group and individual, and celebration.

Because of the scope and depth of the program, parents and youth must sign a commitment form in order to participate. There is a fee for this program. There will be an introduction to the program in September. Please contact Director of Religious Education Melissa MacKinnon at melissa.DRE@gmail.com or call 387-9373 for more information.

Grades 10 - 12. Senior Youth Group. Youth ages 15-18.
Our youth group meets Sunday morning beginning at 10:30 AM in the Youth Lounge (the basement of the main building). Youth group is open to the youth of our congregation and their friends. Our advisors work in collaboration with the youth. Youth group focuses on social action/justice, worship, fellowship, learning, and leadership opportunity. Members may also participate in district and continental events, including District Youth Conferences (Cons) and the Youth Caucus at General Assembly. Cons are held throughout the year at various UU congregations throughout our district. These weekend youth retreats offer opportunities for friendship and spiritual reflection in addition to workshops, worship, dances, shared meals and communal living.


Water House library. Waters House, our religious education building, houses a small church library. The library is meant to offer lending resources on religion, theology, social justice, history, parenting, environmental stewardship. It is also a quiet space during RE times Sunday morning for children to sit and read, listen to a story with headphones and explore spiritual practices such as finger labyrinths and mandalas. It is meant for the child who wants or needs quiet time Sunday morning. There will be a volunteer adult in the room.