Common Ground 1 - Assembly Recommendations

Common Ground 1

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AUTUST 10-15, 1981

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The Common Ground Youth Assembly recommends that the UUA establish its youth
programs with the following requirements of affiliation:
1. The UUA establish a youth organization that serves youth 12 years to 22 years.
See Footnote 1
2. That separate programs for Junior High, Senior High and post-high school will be
maintained within the organization.
See Footnote 2
3. Groups on local, district and association level be clearly identified as Unitarian
Universalist denominational groups with express affiliation to UUA structures on the
on the appropriate level.
4. That individual participants in these groups not be required to hold membership in
UU societies.
5. We affirm the philosophy of inclusiveness that Unitarian Universalism represents.


Our __________________ See Footnote 3 shall serve its members for the purposes of
fostering spiritual depth, creating a peaceful community on earth and peace within us,
and clarifying both individual and universal religious values as part of our growth
process. Our purposes are to provide and manifest a greater understanding of Unitarian
Universalism, and to encourage the flow of communication between youth and adults.
In so doing we shall nurture the freedom and integrity of the questioning mind, and
embrace all persons of diverse backgrounds. We shall encourage the development of a
spirit of independence and responsibility.
We shall strive to support our members and member-groups with educational resources,
a communications network, and with love.
These purposes shall assist us in developing an effective system for social actions, and
serve to raise our levels of mutual respect, communication and community con-

WHY: GOALS (not prioritized)

1. Establish a continental community of youth.
2. Provide for worship, celebration, and rites of passage.
3. Build the UUA movement: Its traditions, membership and heritage.
4. Develop personal growth and leadership skills.
5. Develop individual social consciousness; be group agents of social change and
encourage its members to be peaceful citizens of the world.
6. Develop a communications network.
7. Develop educational resources.
8. Develop program continuity between program levels, from younger to older.
9. Foster tolerance, understanding and acceptance of diversity.
10. Provide resources for identifying and training program advisors.
11. Develop skills in group interaction and relationship building.
12. Build greater understanding between youth and adults.


1.That the UUA create a new section within the Department of Ministerial and
Congregational Services for this UUA youth organization that would be comparable to
the Section on Social Responsibility or the Section on Education.
See Footnote 4
2. That the primary function of the continental level of this youth organization is to
assist the district and local member groups in fulfilling the stated goals of the
3. That the UUA youth organization maintain its continental office at denominational
headquarters (25 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass.).
4. That the UUA youth organization have both youth and adult staff.
5. That this organization be represented on the UUA Board of Trustees.
See Footnote 5
6. That the boundaries of this organization shall coincide with the UUA district
boundaries, and that the other divisions or coalitions are left to the discretion of the
district youth organizations.


The decisions we have made make it necessary to ask LRY to dissolve as a separate
corporation. The Common Ground Youth Assembly affirms LRY for its creative
participation in this process and recommends that LRY be involved as an integral part
through its board and executive committee in the transition to, and implementation of,
the "Common Ground Baby."
Be it resolved that the recommended dissolution of LRY should occur over a two-year
transition period.
Be it further resolved that the recommended dissolution be viewed by all concerned as a
transition and not an ending, but a rebirth and a beginning.
The Common Ground Youth Assembly recommends that the next Continental Youth
Adult Committee have primary responsibility with LRY and the Consultant on Youth
Programs for the two-year transitional period and that attendance at Common Ground
be a primary consideration for appointment of a two-thirds majority of the members of
the next Youth Adult Committee.
We further affirm this assembly's intention to establish a youth organization whose
program and direction will be primarily determined by youth. We also affirm the critical
and essential role of adult participation in the youth organization. We recommend that
the UUA Youth Consultant, LRY and the Continental Youth Adult Committee
continue our efforts to determine specific organizational structures in accordance with
our stated goals, purposes and priorities. Final implementing proposals will be acted upon
at a youth assembly to be held next summer or at the earliest possible date as determined
by the Continental YAC, LRY, the UUA Board of Trustees and the Staff Youth
The Common Ground Youth Assembly recommends that this period of transition begin,
and by October 1983 the "Common Ground Baby," as the sole UUA youth organization,
be fully established and operational.


The definition of each term used in our recommendations shall be the ordinary meaning
found in the dictionary.
The Fair Witness, Rosemary Le Page, has accurately and fairly interpreted and reported
the two-thirds consensus of the reports of our circle groups.
We honor and appreciate the Common Ground Staff & Planning Committee, collectively
and individually, for their example of trust, integrity, cooperation and good will.
In acknowledgement of the vital influence and importance of ministers and religious
educators to the success of youth programs, this Assembly urges their involvement in and
awareness of our emergent organization. We further urge that Common Ground
participants communicate this suggestion to all LREDA and UUMA members and
their chapters.


The section of this report entitled "The Assembly Process" offers details on the decision making process that produced these recommendations. It should be noted here, however, that well over half of these recommendations resulted from a 2/3 consensus of the circle groups. The remainder of the recommendations arose from motions framed in response to broad areas of agreement among the circle groups which fell short of a consensus.

Final votes in the whole group meeting on all of these recommendations indicated approval by 2/3 or more of the delegates voting in each case.

  1. The recommendation that the UUA continue to support a "youth organization" and that the organization include high school age people (14-19) within it was a 2/3 consensus from the circle groups. Slightly less than 2/3 indicated preferences for the youth organization to include junior high (12-14) and/or post-high school (19-22) within its program. Several trial motions resulted in a greater than 2/3 vote of the whole group meeting for the 12-22 age range recommended here.
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  2. This motion was framed to reflect the consensus of the circle groups that these different age groupings have different needs and require "separate programs". Very few circle groups went into greater detail than that.
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  3. The blank space in the first line of the statement of purpose was the result of floor debate on whether the "youth organization" being recommended was intended to be the only "youth program" offered by the UUA. The vote to leave it blank represented the Assembly's desire not to second-guess future deliberations and recommendations on a structure and a name for the new youth program.
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  4. This motion was framed to express a consensus of the circle groups. The groups used a variety of words to describe the structure they wanted: "Department", "Division", etc. We decided to frame the motion using the language and current structural divisions within the UUA's Department of Ministerial and Congregational Services.
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  5. This motion was framed to reflect a widespread feeling but less than 2/3 consensus among the circle groups. In the course of debate on this motion, the whole group was especially conscious of the Board's responsibilities and difficulties in the implementation of these recommendations. A majority vote of the whole group ammended this motion into its present form to allow the Board more flexibility in addressing the issue of how the views of young people might be represented on the Board.
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Footnotes by Wayne Arnason 9/3/81


Translated from the original text document to htm 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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