Common Ground 1

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THE CONTEXT OF "Common Ground"

In April, 1976, the Unitarian Universalist Association Board of Trustees voted to establish a Special Committee on Youth Programs, charged: "to study the existing youth programs in the denomination, including LRY (Liberal Religious Youth), and to make proposals, including budget proposals, to the Board as to the best ways for the UUA to develop, offer and support programs for youth generally of high school age."

The Special Committee was appointed in response to growing concern over the lack of support for effective youth programming in the UUA at that time, and in direct response to a request from the LRY Executive Committee.

The seven members of that Committee returned a twenty-six page report to the Board in November, 1977. The report included research data, philosophical observations, and specific program and budget recommendations.

Controversy and debate within the denomination and the Board centered around the SCOYP recommendation to appoint a full-time Consultant on Youth Programs, and to discontinue funds in support of a full-time LRY Executive Committee. At the UUA General Assembly in 1979, UUA President Eugene Pickett was called upon to seek a financial formula which would create a new full-time staff position in youth programs, and at the same time maintain a full-time LRY Executive Committee and program at least through the 1979-80 fiscal year.

In January, 1980, President Pickett announced the appointment of the Rev. Wayne Arnason as the UUA Consultant on Youth Programs. The UUA administration and the leadership of LRY considered possible solutions to the stalemate that had developed over the SCOYP recommendations. The SCOYP proposal for a "Continental Dialogue" on youth programming, a dialogue that would allow maximum participation and inclusion in decision-making on future youth programs, seemed to offer a possible direction.

In April, 1980, the UUA Board accepted a proposal from the UUA administration and LRY to support a Continental UUA Youth Assembly in August, 1981. In June, 1980, a Youth Assembly Planning Committee was appointed as a committee of the UUA Board, charged with planning this assembly and reporting back its recommendations.

The Committee members included:

  • Anne Odin Heller (Convenor): A UU minister from the Berkeley, CA, and a member of the SCOYP of 1976-77.
  • Justin Alcorn: Former youth co-chair of the Ohio Meadville YAC.
  • Gretchen Jones: The Director of Finances and Assemblies for LRY.
  • Oren Peterson: A UU minister from Eugene, OR. Charles Wyatt: A member of the UUA Board from Corpus Christi, TX.
  • Kevin Clark: an unaffiliated UU youth from Salem, MA.

(Originally, the Board appointed Adele Logan, an unaffiliated youth from the North Shore Unitarian Society of Plandome, NY to serve on the Committee. Adele resigned due to school pressures in September, 1980, and was replaced by Kevin Clark at the October, 1980 UUA Board Meeting.)

Wayne Arnason acted as Executive Secretary for the Committee.

The committee's task description, as ratified by the UUA Board in October 1980, was as follows:

  1. To make all necessary physical and financial arrangements for a 1981 Youth Assembly, including choice of site, appropriate publicity, a procedure for delegate selection and accreditation.

  2. To build financial and moral support for the assemblies within the districts. Specifically, to help design and encourage at least one pre-Assembly conference in each U-U district sometime before the summer of 1981.

  3. To seek creative alternatives for delivery of youth program services from the continental level to the regional and local levels. To present those alternatives to the pre-Assembly district conferences and ultimately to the Assembly itself for consideration.

  4. To be in no small part responsible for the actual execution of the Assembly. (It is anticipated that the Consultant on Youth Programs would function in a manner parallel to M. Winchester's relationship with the GA Planning Committee.)

  5. To seek additional funding for travel scholarships for youth attending the Assembly, in an effort to encourage as many UU youth and adults as possible to attend.

  6. To evaluate the results of the Assembly and submit a final report to the UUA Board and the UUA YAC.


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

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