Reflections on CanUUdle XVII

CanUUdle is the annual youth con for Canadian UU youth who are 14-20 and their adult advisors. As always, it was a beautiful weekend where youth and adults created an amazing community, worshiped together, grew as spiritual beings and joined in multigen activities. It was full of fun, laughter, games, discussion, thought, and above all, love and friendship (the special kind that can only be found in the UU community!).

42 youth participated in CanUUdle this year, which had a special focus on the youth community because there was no accompanying adult conference. Here are reflections from two of them.

Ben Bradt, Unitarian Church of Calgary

General impressions:

  • The warm fuzzies. positive notes written to friends and other con people;
  • The feeling of acceptance. No matter how you were born or what you like, respect flows like a sprinkler on plants;.
  •  Cuddle puddles, allowing so much human contact with little afterthought;
  •  Hug buttons, letting you quickly ask for small doses of said contact;
  • The workshops, letting you customize your experience and possibly make something of colours and feelings;
  •  The right to pass on anything you did not feel you wanted to do.

High points in rough order:
Friday

  • Arrival, seeing the many people i had met over the past few years all in one room;
  • Being consolidated into touch groups, giving new people a backup group to socialize with and experienced people a way to focus how they contribute.

Saturday

  •  The meaningful conversation which con allows, both in selection of people and ability to open up;
  • The friendliness of kitchen staff, allowing those using their right to pass to help them Sunday;
  •  The angel wash. being able to walk with trust in not your eyes, but your friends. being able to be embraced at every turn with arms and emotion, to hear people’s thoughts of you, halfway shrouded by anonymity.

Monday

  • The car wash, being given a large note to remember not just one person, but the entire con by;
  • The car ride home, seeing how i inspired my friends to go to more.

Alex Trefzger, Kingston Unitarian Fellowship (a youth worship coordinator)

CanUUdle 2017 was my favourite UU con experience so far. Without the adjoining ACM adult conference it was less rigid and very youth oriented which suited our theme of youth empowerment very well. The worships that I helped to put on and the workshops chosen all added to the general feel of “we can do so much”. I also really loved the Sunday service that we attended and how they tried to fit into our theme, it really gave us a connection to the congregation who was hosting us.

Highlights from regional youth events – Fall 2016

wrfg-2016-03Western Region: We had a great turnout of 40 youth and 8 advisors for “Drama Con” – the regional youth con happening in conjunction with the Western Regional Fall Gathering in Saskatoon. Con-goers came from 6 congregations in the Western region – from Edmonton to Thunder Bay!

Our talented planning team of youth and advisors put together a great weekend of workshops, worship, games and late night activities. There were lots of first time con-goers (or “nUUbies”) that were welcomed into the youth community and left with new friends and beautiful memories.

Thanks to everyone that worked so hard to pull this off, and thank you Saskatoon for hosting – it was definitely a success!

Eastern Region: Lakeshore Unitarian Universalist Congregation welcomed 10 youth and 3 advisors for a regional sleepover at the church, followed by a multigen day of workshops and activities in nearby Beaconsfield. Saturday’s Eastern Regional Fall Gathering was a truly multigenerational success – with workshops exploring who we are as UUs, what we believe, and a fishbowl discussion featuring voices of all ages talking about the promise and pitfalls of church as we know it. Thanks to Lakeshore for hosting and organizational support.

Central Region: Youth from Grand River participated in a multigenerational Fall Gathering day of workshops and worship – joining in Matt Meyer’s drumming and song workshop. We enjoyed lunch together, and a rousing closing worship, and games in the youth room.

Thanks to Grand River and its volunteers for a wonderful day and for all your organizing work!

BC Region: North Shore Unitarian Congregation hosted a very successful regional youth con with 35 youth and adults coming from all over BC, Washington and Oregon. With a SoUUl Food theme, the con celebrated and explored the ways that food shapes and touches our lives through workshops and worship. The planning “staff” team of youth and advisors worked hard, and with amazing organizational skills, to plan this con and make sure it was a memorable and wonderful weekend for everyone who came. Thank you all for your incredible dedication, and thank you North Shore for hosting!

By the numbers: Over 5 weeks, we held 2 youth cons and 2 multigen events involving youth in all 4 regions, with a total attendance of 104 people… And too many hugs to count!

Save the Date: CanUUdle 2017

CanUUDle 2011 - Group PhotoOur annual national youth con!

  • When? May 19 – 22, 2017
  • Where? Unitarian Church of Edmonton – Edmonton, Alberta
  • Who? Youth (14-20) and Advisors (25+)
  • What? CanUUdle is the annual youth con for Canadian UU youth who are 14-20 and their adult advisors. It’s a beautiful weekend where youth and adults create an amazing community, worship together, grow as spiritual beings and join in multigen activities. This year there is no CUC conference, but we will be sharing some time with young adults and adults at Justice Con.

Cost: We are striving to make this gathering as financially accessible as possible – with a sliding scale fee and subsidies available.  Stay tuned for fundraising ideas and tips – coming soon! Continue reading

Youth Ministry Competencies – UUA hosts free webinar series

Inspired Youth jumpingFrom now to July 2017, the UUA is running a webinar series to train adults working with youth. The “Competencies for Ministry to and with Youth” is the UUA’s new approach to youth advisor training, focusing on training adults who are part of youth ministry in congregations (that includes advisors, religious educators, ministers and other adults).

Each webinar features one of the competencies, and is given twice in the month. Canadians are welcome to participate! The webinars will be lead by UUA and regional staff who are excellent resources for those working in youth ministry in any capacity. I would highly recommend participating in these webinars, and passing this information on to any new youth advisors coming on board this fall. The webinars will be recorded for later viewing.

Upcoming Webinars include:

  • Healthy youth/adult relationships – Oct 11 at 1:00 pm EST or October 12 at 8:00 pm EST
  • Safety in youth ministry – November 9 at 1:00 pm EST or Nov 10 at 8:00 pm EST
  • Pastoral care to/with youth – December 8 at 8:00 pm EST or December 13 at 1:00 pm EST

Click here to find more information and to register.

Regional Fall Youth Programs

Youth-CanUUdleThis fall we have youth-focused programming in each of our four regions! Please have a look at what’s happening in your region and join us in beloved multigenerational community at an event near you.

Western Regional Fall Youth Con – October 14-16
Unitarian Congregation of Saskatoon – Saskatoon, SK
Registration now open! Deadline is October 7 so register now!
Open to all youth aged 12-20.
$55 per youth/advisor – weekend food and accommodations included

Join us for Drama Con – an exploration of all kinds of meanings of drama. We’ll talk about how to deal with drama in our lives, learn about ourselves and push past our comfort zone in improv games, and explore the theme of truth, healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada. Most of the weekend will be youth space at UCS, but we’ll join in multigenerational community with the rest of the gathering on Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as for the Sunday morning worship.

Register at: http://cuc.ca/youth/youth-events/western-fall-youth-con/


Eastern Regional Fall Gathering and youth con – October 21-23
Lakeshore Unitarian Universalist Congregation – Montreal, QC
Registration now open!
$40 per youth/advisor – weekend food and accommodations included

The Eastern Regional Fall Gathering includes a youth con from Friday to Sunday. Join us on Saturday for an exciting and interactive multigenerational program where we’ll explore what it really means to be UU and how we can share our true selves and our diverse beliefs with each other. The afternoon program includes a fishbowl activity where we’ll hear from voices of all ages and get to learn more about what touches each of us and what gives us spiritual sustenance.
There will be many other highlights of this weekend including youth worships on Friday and Saturday, con games, and a multigenerational Sunday worship about what it means to have interdependence, love and justice at the centre of our church lives!

Register at: http://cuc.ca/event/eastern-regional-fall-gathering-2016


Central Regional Fall Gathering – Saturday, October 29
Grand River Unitarian Congregation – Kitchener, ON
Registration now open. Homestays available so you can join us for Sunday morning too!
$25 youth/advisor and young adult – lunch, dinner and coffee included

Dear youth: This fall gathering has been designed with YOU in mind! Our workshop streams on Saturday include music and song leading with Matt Meyer and UU-style leadership skills with Asha Philar. In the leadership stream, you’ll learn about group facilitation, and how to plan meetings that are meaningful, efficient and give us spiritual sustenance. Carry these skills with you so you can bring more inclusive group process into the world! The afternoon at the gathering will include a fishbowl activity where we can share our learning from the day and learn more about each others’ beliefs, and a closing youth-style worship.
We’ll also have an evening activity for youth and advisors in Kitchener after the day’s programs (details TBA!). Please stay over in town on Saturday night to join us for Sunday morning worship, which will be an amazing, interactive, musical experience led by Matt Meyer.

Register at: http://cuc.ca/event/central-region-fall-gathering


BC Regional Fall Con – November 11-13
North Shore Unitarian Church – Vancouver, BC
Registration open – deadline is October 28.
$55 per youth/advisor – weekend food and accommodations included

Here’s a taste of the delicious programming at this year’s SoUUl Food themed con! At this year’s Unitarian Universalist Youth BC Regional Fall Con, we will be exploring how food is intertwined with our identity, spirituality, and social justice. Food could tell a thousand stories with every bite, so we will be taking the time to listen deeply to the tales of the earth that grew, the arms that gathered, the hands that cooked, and the grumbles of our own cravings. Inside every act of cooking lies a revolution — and a story about who we are. Let’s forge a deeper understanding of what nourishes us in hopes that it will nourish our souls too.

Register at: http://cuc.ca/youth/youth-events/bc-youth-con


Questions? Please contact Asha Philar, the CUC’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry staff at asha@cuc.ca or 226-820-9311.