YRUU A Five-Year Review of Programs for Youth 1989 - Summary

YRUU Five Year Review

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The following is a quick summary of our report. (Our full findings and detailed recommendations are in Section III below.)

A. Adult and youth leadership
Adult involvement in YRUU has improved somewhat from the "massive abdication" found by SCOYP in 1977, but it is still far below what we believe is necessary, and youth leaders do not have enough support and training. We have recommended several steps to rectify this, including the funding of a continental leadership training program for both youth and adults as youth leaders, and an increased emphasis on youth ministry in the education of professional religious leaders.

B. Age range
We have concluded after much study that YRUU is serving neither the junior-high nor the post-high age range effectively. The present 12-to-22-year old-age range was a compromise to begin with, and discourages the kind of focused, age-appropriate programs that we feel best meet the needs of youth. Accordingly, we recommend that the YRUU bylaws be amended to reduce the membership age range to 14 to 20 years old. We hope this change will draw attention to the need for UUA support of programs for junior-high youth. We recommend the addition of a Junior-High Youth Program Director to the Youth Staff.

C. Structure and accountability
We think the overall design of YRUU and its relationship to the UUA have proved to be successful. We have recommended only a few minor refinements in this structure: 1) that the Youth Programs Director be identified as the supervisor of the Youth Program Specialists, and 2) that the YRUU Steering Committee be enabled (through funding for three meetings per year and for an improved program evaluation process) to set priorities for the Youth Program Specialists.

At the district level, we see much variation both in structure and effectiveness. Conference planning is especially spotty. We recommend that all districts have permanent and official representatives of youth and of adults who work with youth on district boards and religious education committees. We urge district staff, officers, and boards to accept responsibility for the recruitment, training. and support of district-level youth advisors. We also believe that a conference planning manual from the Youth Office would be helpful to districts, which too often have to start de novo every time youth leaders change.

D. Program content
We applaud the trend, begun during the YRUU era, toward greater variety of program offerings for youth, but we still feel the lack of a guiding philosophy that takes into account the whole range of needs. The attached "Visions for Youth" paper is offered as a starting point for a restatement of the UUA's philosophy of youth ministry. We recommend that leaders at all levels evaluate youth program offerings to be sure they include the following: structured study-discussion programs. social programs, worship and spiritual exploration, social service and action, and experience in self-governance and leadership.

E. Delivery of services
We believe the first priority of the Youth Office should be to serve district YRUU programs particularly by offering leadership training. We have recommended that all staff activities should be measured against this priority, and that the Youth Office travel budget be increased and reallocated to permit more district visits.

F. Behavior
It should surprise no one that behavior at youth conferences continues to be an issue. We believe that codes of behavior need to be evaluated periodically by youth and adults working together. We therefore recommend that a new Behavior Code for youth and adults at continental events be written by the YRUU Youth Council and approved by the UUA Board of Trustees. We would expect the new code to reflect current concerns and perspectives, and to be a model for a similar revision process in the districts.


Translated from the original text document to htm by Lorne Tyndale, YRUU Programmes Specialist September 1993 - August 1994. The document was on lryer.org. I have placed the document on this site as I've been notified that lryer.org appears to be down.

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