BUF’s program just for high school age UUs is called YRUU. YRUU helps youth put our faith into action every day by daring to be real, showing acceptance and support, leading with courage, and acting for justice. After all, what is religion for if it isn’t about changing your life—and changing the world—for the better?
We are building a radically inclusive community where youth can explore their identity without boxes: we are multi-racial, Latino/a, Asian, Black, Native, and White; rich, middle class, poor; young and old; lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, straight, and anything in between. We are spiritually diverse and know “we need not think alike to love alike.” Every one of us has worth and dignity. Some people may tell you otherwise based on the color of your skin, where you were born, your family’s net worth, your abilities, your gender, or who you love. We know this is not true, and that we all have work to do to make equality a reality. However youth identify, they can find a home here.
We encourage youth to bring passion and a desire to see change; to be prepared to exercise their hearts, minds and spirits—and know that we’re here each youth on their path. We choose curricula that explore identity and help us learn about the sacred, about others, about oneself. We aim to discover what it means to have a personal faith that is anchored by diversity and acceptance.
You’ll see that Unitarian Universalists are always creating opportunities for youth who want to put their faith into action. This year BUF sponsors OWL (“Our Whole Lives”), comprehensive sexuality education for youth in grades 10-12. The program begins in September 2019 and runs for twelve weeks until January 2020.
Twice a year, in the fall and again in spring, youth have the opportunity to attend regional youth conferences. A youth conference, or “con”, is a weekend long retreat planned and run as a collaboration between high school youth and supporting adults (with a youth to adult ratio no higher than 7:1). The theme of each con informs worship, small group ministry, and workshops. Youth covenant to uphold their standards; a chance for them to live within UU community as they design it. Cons gather up to 100 youth from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia, and even Alaska. Cons are held at Camp Cispus, between Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens. “Cons” are radically inclusive, spiritually deep, and religiously contagious!
Every January, YRUU raises funds to help pay for scholarships to Con and for other fun activities by baking cookies and selling food during the Bellingham Folk Festival weekend at BUF.
Unitarian Universalists believe in supporting our youth and young adults through times of transition, such as life stages, relationships, home, work, and identity. These life stages are full of changes that include loss, gain, confusion and growth. Our faith helps us make meaning of the changes we may experience. Thus, every year, we celebrate youth who complete high school with a bridging ceremony during Sunday service.