The following rules have been adopted to foster the creation of safe and inclusive community during youth conferences, trainings and other events where youth are the main participants and where there is an ‘overnight’ component. These rules are intended to offer the “minimum expectations” for behavior of participants and are based both on valued behavioral norms that are promoted in UU Youth culture as well as insurance requirements and best safety practices. For these reasons, these rules will be in effect at all CUC youth events and are recommended for use/adaptation at the congregational level as well.
Exclusive behaviours, typically involving small closed groupings of individuals, have been identified by both youth and adults, to be detrimental to a variety of the goals of UU youth gatherings and events.
These goals include but are not limited to:
- community building and stretching personal comfort zones
- creating safe, sacred space
- encouraging personal and spiritual growth
- building strong and healthy friendships among youth and between youth and adults
- allowing youth to grow and flourish in a respectful and open environment
Cliques, bullying, drug and alcohol use, violence and overtly sexual behavior all diminish the chance for these goals to be reached.
CUC Youth Event Rules
The following apply to all participants of youth events, regardless of age:
- Youth participants must be between 14 – 20 years of age¹
- Adults Advisors (or other adult volunteers) must be 25 years of age or older² and must remain in the role of advisor at all times
- A maximum ratio of 8:1¹, youth to adults, will be used for all events with an overnight component
- A minimum of 2 adults advisors must always be present at any youth event
- All youth participants (regardless of age) must have an advisor present
- All participants must stay on site for the duration of the event. No leaving the site except as part of a planned activity
- All participants must follow the site’s rules
- Only registered participants may attend. (No drop-ins)
- All participants must be sober at all times. (No illegal drug, substance, or alcohol use is permitted)
- Peaceful behavior and actions must be maintained at all times (No violence, threats of violence or weapons are permitted)
- Inclusive, appropriate behaviors must be maintained at all times (No violating the CUC Policy on Sexualized Behaviour at Youth Cons see below)
- All participants must sleep individually (1 person per sleeping bag or blanket)
- All participants must maintain appropriate dress for the duration of the event (Public nakedness at CUC Youth Events is not permitted)
- All participants over the age of 18 and all youth under the age of 18 who are serving in a leadership role, must sign the CUC Code of Ethics for Adults and Older Youth Working with Children and Youth
- All participants (including event organizers/staff) must submit completed registration forms by the registration deadline, including providing a signed Congregation Involvement Form and an Informed Consent Form (where applicable).
- Youth between the ages of 12 – 13 years old may, in some circumstances, be invited to participate in joint Jr. & Sr. Youth Conferences, in which case the youth to adult ratio must be increased to 6:1 and separate sleeping areas for the Junior youth are required
- Young Adults between the ages of 21 – 24 may, in some circumstances, be invited to be guest speakers or facilitators at Youth Conferences or be participants in Youth Learning Conferences, if they are specifically designated as multigenerational events. In both cases, Young Adults ages 21 – 24, may not act as advisors/sponsors for other youth and must abide by all conference rules.
CUC Policy on Sexualized Behaviour at Youth Events
Sexuality is a healthy and important part of young people’s lives. Youth programs are an important opportunity for youth to express themselves in healthy ways, however exclusive relationships, especially those of a romantic or sexual nature often detract from the larger community. All members of the community must respect each other’s physical boundaries and the intention and purpose of Youth Events.
Inappropriate sexualized behaviour for youth events (i.e. oral, vaginal, anal or digital intercourse, and or sexual harassment of any kind) is not permitted. (In short form: Yes for consensual hugs and kisses, No touching with the intent to arouse , between the neck and the knees).
The Reconciliation Committee (or designated group) reserves the right to deem any behaviour inappropriate. Parents/guardians are invited to discuss this policy with their youth.
Breach of either of the above Youth Event Rules or Policy on Sexualized Behaviour, during a Youth Event, may result in participants being disallowed to participate in the remainder of the event/and or being barred from attending future CUC Youth Events. In the case of a serious breach of rules, the participant may be sent home at their or their parents’ expense.