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

YRUU Five Year Review

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YRUU 5 Year Review - III - Findings and Recommendations

F. Behavior
In January, 1982, the UUA Board of Trustees amended and adopted "Youth Behavioral Guidelines" proposed by the Continental Youth-Adult Committee (see Appendix C).

The behavioral guidelines are seven years old; today's youth were not involved in their development; attitudes of youth and adults about behavior issues have changed greatly in this time. We think the behavior rules for youth at continental YRUU events should be reviewed every five years. Youth participation in the development of a behavior code not only is consistent with UU principles, it helps to inspire assent. Collaborating to set realistic limits is valuable for both youth and adults.

Besides its age, the current behavior code has several flaws. The different rules for older and younger youth are seen as unfair by most youth. The code does not spell out the consequences for forbidden behavior, nor docs it clearly say who is responsible for its enforcement. This is especially uncomfortable for advisors, who need to know what they should do when youth fail to accept the responsibilities the code gives them.

We are also troubled by the fact that the code as it now stands deals with sexual and drug-abuse behavior only by setting limits. We believe that in a world where sexual activity and drug abuse occur among youth. we have a responsibility to educate as well as to forbid. We have no simple answer to suggest (we have heard proposals ranging from free condoms to hourly bed checks), but we think the youth and adults who frame the new behavior code should struggle honestly with this responsibility.

One of the real achievements of the YRUU years is a new Code of Ethics for adults working with youth (see Appendix D). This statement, adopted by the Youth Council and approved by the UUA Board of Trustees in June 1986, is a major step towards ethical clarity in an area that has been too long neglected. Many districts, camps and conferences, and local congregations have adopted similar or identical codes.

1. We recommend the YRUU Youth Council develop a new behavior code for UUA-sponsored youth events to be approved by the UUA Board of Trustees. This behavior code should be reviewed every five years.

2. We recommend that the new behavior code include the following elements:

  • a. A single behavior standard for all youth participants regardless of age. This standard should cover sleeping arrangements, sexual behavior, violence. and substance abuse.
  • b. A single behavior standard for all adult participants, incorporating the UUA Code of Ethics for Persons Working with Children and Youth.
  • c. A policy for education about the consequences of substance abuse and sexual behavior. This should include information about contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, and the abuse of legal and illegal drugs, including alcohol.
  • d. Explicit procedures for dealing with problem behavior, including the rights and responsibilities of advisors, conference organizers, and participants.
  • e. Flexible guidelines concerning consequences for code violations by either youth or adults.
  • f. Clear responsibility for enforcing the code. We believe this responsibility is best given to a conference affairs committee (CAC) created early in each conference. The CAC should include at least one youth and one adult from the Conference Planning Committee, as well as both a youth and an adult from the conference at large.
  • g. A requirement that conference organizers send the behavior code with registration packets and with a mailing to adults recruited to be advisors, with signed assent to be required of all participants.

3. We recommend that district youth-adult committees and local youth groups create their own behavior codes by a similar process. A district YAC might draft a code for district board approval; a local permanent or ad-hoc YAC might draft a code for approval by the congregation board.


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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