All youth in 9th grade and up are invited to participate in our Youth Group. The activities and meeting times are determined by the interests of the group and range from meeting other UU youth to inspiring community service projects. Our Youth Group programming includes growth opportunities in the areas of worship, youth-adult relations, connection, social action, learning, and leadership. Our youth always have lots of fun together while leading our community in being “principle activators” by putting our UU values into action. This year much of our social action time has been devoted to raising money, learning about, and serving the homeless families who are guests with Family Promise Metrowest.
Regular ongoing groups in addition to Youth Group
In addition to our Youth Ministry activities, our 8th and 9th graders also participate in the Coming-of-Age program. This program will next happen beginning in Fall of 2017. A highly regarded program is the Unitarian Universalist tradition for recognizing our teenage youth as they are becoming adults. The goal for this program is for the youth to explore and define their self-identity as UUs. This includes but is not limited to actively participating in discussions about deep theological questions; developing a close relationship with a First Parish mentor; exploration of their own deepening spirituality; exploration of social injustice and involvement in Social Action work; and involvement in meaningful “community” worship. A program highlight is the presentation of personal credos during the Coming-of-Age worship service in the Spring.
Our Whole Lives Program
First Parish of Sudbury is pleased to be offering the Junior High and Senior High programs of our Our Whole Lives. The next offering is Junior High OWL, which will be January through April 2017. The Unitarian Universalist Association writes, “Our Whole Lives helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. Grounded in a holistic view of sexuality, Our Whole Lives provides not only facts about anatomy and human development, but helps participants to clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality.”
This “Sunday morning” small group offers our 12 to 14-year-olds more autonomy as they begin carrying our UU principles into the world with deeper theological explorations, unique activities, and inspiring community service projects. Our youth engage in formal curricula with the aforementioned Our Whole Lives program on Sunday afternoons, so they use their Breakfast Club time like a Youth Group designing their own community-buidling and meaningful activities.
Our 7th and 8th grade youth will also be invited to participate during the winter season in an incredible community program called STOP, Students Together Opposing Prejudice. This interfaith program honors coming together, learning about the other religions in our area, and recognizing prejudice and doing what we can to stop it. First Parish of Sudbury enthusiastically supports this program and encourages all of our youth to participate. This program will be on Wednesday evenings this winter.
Morris Dancing All youth ages 10 and up are invited to participate in Morris Dancing on Sunday afternoons. Tom Kruskal has been leading Hop Brook Morris since 1990 here at First Parish of Sudbury . They perform ritual dances from England at festivals and events around the Boston area. There are many adult groups performing these dances, but they are one of the few kid’s teams. Morris dancing comes from the Cotswold region of England and is a springtime ritual dance done in the small agricultural villages around Cambridge and Oxford. The bells, sticks, and colorful costumes combine with the vigorous dancing to wake the earth and drive away the evil spirits of winter and guarantee a good crop that summer. These dances are hundreds of years old and were passed down through the generations to us today.