UUS Meeting Virtually Due to COVID-19
UUS is currently in Phase One (Building closed) of our COVID Reopening Plan. Sunday services are being streamed via Zoom at 10 a.m. Read more »
Children & Youth Programs
Children and youth have big questions and concerns. As a community, we help young people find the courage and confidence to develop their own answers with many sources and mentors as guides.
Overview & COVID Changes
In many ways, our 2020-2021 religious education program is not going to resemble years past. Like so many in the spring of 2020, we just picked up what we did in-person and shifted it to online. And like so many, we did not get the results we wanted. We found content-based and weekly meetings were too overwhelming for children, youth, and many adults.
Taking what we learned in spring, we are going to be meeting less frequently and focusing on three key areas during the current church year: virtual connections, physical connections, and connecting with children and youth through their interests and passions.
Sunday religious education classes
While we remain online, religious education classes for children in pre-K through grade 6 will be held via Zoom after Sunday services beginning in October. Registration is required, and each grade level will meet in alternating weeks as follows:
- Pre-K – K: First Sunday of each month
- Grades 1 – 3: Second Sunday of each month
- Grades 4 – 6: Third Sunday of each month
Note: Siblings and other family members are welcome to be present during any class, but be aware that the conversations and activities will be geared for that Sunday’s age group, and we will be prioritizing those participants.
Youth programs & opportunities
This year our youth groups for junior high (Grades 7-9) and senior high (Grades 10-12) will be partnering with UU congregations in Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities to offer a joint youth program. Beginning October 11, online meetups will happen every other Sunday evening via Zoom from 7 to 8 p.m.
RE in a Box
During registration families can opt in to receiving a monthly “RE in a Box” kit. Boxes (or bags or envelopes) will contain a packet with activities related to our monthly Soul Matters theme and basic supplies for completing them. There will be one packet geared for elementary aged participants and one for youth. Families with children in both age groups will receive both. To help us keep costs down, there is also the option to pick up your kit from UUS, but if you are not able to do so, we can mail or deliver them.
Special Programming & Volunteering
We will be adding special, short-term, and stand alone programming as time and enthusiasm allow. These programs will be geared for specific age groups, and most will be for a specific set number of sessions. As more details become available, they will be sent out to families.
In addition to volunteering to lead our virtual meetups or youth programing, these stand alone programs are a great way for congregants and families to connect with our children and youth over shared interests in a time frame that works with their schedule. So if you have a hobby (painting, making bread, etc), justice practice, or spiritual practice that would work well with our RE program or help children and youth cope with COVID times, contact the Director of Lifespan Religious Education.
Family & caregiver events
As part of our family ministry programming, we will be offering once a month parent/caregiver small group meetups via Zoom. These groups of 5-8 people will be a way for families to share what is working well, discuss what challenges they are having, and support each other with education and parenting issues. The hope is to group families based on children’s ages, schooling format, and schedules as best as we can.
Parents and caregivers who are UUS members should complete our interest survey to help us form groups. Any non-UUS family that would like to join can contact our Director of Lifespan Religious Education directly.
Our Whole Lives (OWL)
Our Whole Lives (OWL) is a sexual education program developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association, and we offer sessions for youth in both junior and senior high. With a holistic approach, OWL provides accurate, developmentally appropriate information about a range of topics, including relationships, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual health, and cultural influences on sexuality.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to offer a virtual version of OWL, so this program is on hold until we are again able to meet in person.
If you have questions about any of our programs for children and youth, please contact the Director of Lifespan Religious Education.