SCOYP -- Report of the Special Committee on Youth Programs to the UUA Board of Trustees

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In recent years there has been a growing concern over the lack of support for youth progrnmming in the Unitarian Universalist denomination. In 1976 members of the Continental LRY Executive Committee became acutely aware of these inadequacies and, as a result of their proposal, the UUA Board of Trustees in April, 1976, voted to establish a Special Committee on Youth Programs (SCOYP) with the following charge:

    " . . . to study the existing youth programs in the denomination, including LRY, 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 Board agreed that the budget recommendations of the Committee should include alternatives."

The following committee was appointed, for reasons of both personal qualifications and geographic representation:

  • Elaine Smith, Chairperson, Seattle, Washington
  • Kim DeRidder, Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Tom Greenspon, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Anne Oden Heller, San Francisco, California
  • Leon Hopper, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Eric Joselyn, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Jennifer Shaw, Lawrence, Kansas

The Committee has held four meetings and has spent over 15 months compiling information and examining youth programs throughout the Unitarian Universalist denomination.

Each member of the Committee would like formally to express appreciation to the UUA Board for the opportunity to work on SCOYP. We would also like to acknowledge and cnmmend the Board for their recognition of the need for the Committee. The response the Committee received frm every sector of the denomination has been overwhelming -- in both quantity and content. Awareness of the immensity of this task has moved us to especially thoughtful consideration. Our work has been an emotional and painful process; we have worked hard, learned much, and developed a special sense of committee.

As a result of a year's deliberations we have come to feel deeply that there are two things of critical importance. First, the status quo is inadequate and a disservice to youth. It seems clear to us that if the status quo continues, the situation will only become worse. Second, it is difficult to ignore the massive abdication of adult responsibility. Therefore, change is required and will entail broader and different funding.

We believe the work of the Committee has called attention to the problem of the need for more effective youth progrgmming, and in many cases the existence of the Committee raised awareness in both youth and adults. A number of things we typically think of as youth problems have emerged as denominational problems and will only be resolved by a strong denominational effort.

A high school student once wrote a canto:

    "We often look through a pane of glass when we should be looking in a mirror . . . ."


Translated from the original text document to HTML by Lorne Tyndale, YRUU Programmes Specialist September 1993 - August 1994

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