Youth events are primarily about building inclusive, religious community in the context of Unitarian Universalist values. In order for this process to happen in positive and safe ways, youth and adult participants are asked to show they already have a minimum level of involvement within the Canadian UU community before they attend over-night youth events. This is done by providing signed Congregational Involvement forms in advance of attending a Youth Event .
Youth Events, and “Cons” in particular, are intended to be welcoming spaces where youth (and adults) can be free to express their most authentic selves. In doing so, this may sometimes include being vulnerable emotionally and spiritually. Overnight youth events, including social Cons are NOT generally suited to be an “outreach tool” as they assume a relatively high level of UU knowledge and identification on the part of the participants. Youth group meetings or other congregational events provide better opportunities for new, interested youth and adults to learn more about Unitarian Universalist youth ministry and community.
Requirements – Youth
In order to attend a CUC Youth Event, CUC policy requires that:
▪ all youth participants have attended at least three Youth Group or program meetings at their Congregation within the last six months prior to the event.
If the Youth does not attend youth group, they should be actively involved in their congregation in other ways or involved at the regional or denominational level (i.e. in the case that their congregation does not have youth programming). In the case of a youth who is regionally or national active, but not active in a congregation, it is their responsibility to find an appropriate adult who can personally speak to their involvement. This could include a CUC Staff person or CUC Board member.
Persons from a congregation who may vouch for a youth’s involvement include: Youth Advisors, a Director of Religious Education (or equivalent), a Minister or a Congregational Board President.
Requirements – Adults
CUC policy requires that Adults volunteering at a CUC Youth Event must:
▪ have attended their local congregation for at least six months prior to the event/program
▪ be at least twenty-five years of age
▪ have been vetted through their local congregation’s own screening process, including having:
o personal reference checks performed
o a Criminal Records Check or Police Records Check (PRC) performed*
* It is acknowledged that a PRC is valid only on the day it is completed and is therefore incumbent on the volunteer to inform their congregation (and/or the CUC) if there is a change in their criminal record. To be considered valid, a CRC must be renewed every 3 years.
Persons from a congregation who may vouch for an adult’s involvement include: a Director of Religious Education (or equivalent), a Minister or a Congregational Board President.
Why does the CUC require Criminal Record Checks?
Serving as a Youth Advisor is a privilege. Youth advisors at CUC events, serve and minister to and with youth from around the country. As both a religious and volunteer driven organization, it is the CUC’s moral and legal duty to ensure that we provide, to the best of our abilities, a safe and nurturing experience for the young people of our community and that our volunteers to do not take on undue risks in their work on our behalf.
In order to protect both our youth and the adults who work with them, the CUC, as outlined in our Safety in CUC Sponsored Children and Youth Programming Policy [PDF] (which was developed as part of the Volunteer Canada’s Screening in Faith Initiative) requires that volunteers (and staff) working at CUC events with children and youth, adhere to a high level of safety standards that are consistent with Canadian best practices.
Serving as a youth advisor constitutes a “high risk” position, as adults who serve in this role, have the opportunity to be alone with youth and or have power over or a position of trust with them. Obtaining a Police Records Check (PRC) in order to work with youth is considered a minimum requirement asked for throughout the educational and social service sectors, and is only one part of ensuring that adults are adequately screened. A PRC is in no way a replacement for current and thorough background checks.
- Please see Safety in CUC Sponsored Children and Youth Programming for information about Volunteer Canada’s 10 Safe Steps for mitigating risk for volunteers, as well as information about the assessment of risk used for screening volunteers at all CUC events.
Both forms can be completed online here.