Children and youth who feel connected to a church want to come to church. Here at FPC we offer many opportunities for our children and youth to make connections with each other outside of our Religious Education classes. Our youth groups help build community among our children and youth, encourage each of our youth to develop an understanding of his/her identity as a Unitarian Universalist, and help each youth to develop a personal sense of value within the church and wider community.
All of our programs are open to any interested youth. Families need not be members of the church for youth to participate in the programs. All we need is parental permission.
High School Discussion Group
The High School Discussion Group meets several Sunday mornings a month during Religious Education time. Students determine with their facilitators what their discussion topics will be. Topics include Unitarian Universalist history and beliefs as well as highlighting occasional sermon themes.
Club UU (children in K-5th grade)
Club UU is a social group for children in grades K–5. It meets one to two times each month on Friday evenings to encourage children from both services to get to know each other and to build a sense of community. At these meetings we share food, play cooperative games, and just have lots of fun!
Junior Youth Group (6th–8th grade)
This group is for youth who are in grades 6–8. It meets twice monthly. This group emphasizes building community by having fun, collaborating with other local UU churches, and being involved in social justice projects.
Senior Youth Group (9th–12th grade)
The Senior Youth program emphasizes building community through involvement in social, service, and spiritual activities. Our Senior Youth, under the guidance of our Youth Coordinator, plan our their monthly activities.
First Chalice Program (2nd–4th grade)
First Chalice is a Rites of Passage class that is offered to children in grades 2–4. The goal of this program is to give opportunities for these children to explore their Unitarian Universalist faith with their peers in special Sunday morning sessions as well as at home with their families. This program culminates with a special cereony and recognition in church.
Our Whole Lives (OWL) Programs (5th–9th grade)
Participants in the 5th and 6th grade program learn about and discuss the physical and emotional changes of puberty and examine topics such as values and sexuality, communication and decision making. Each session includes a Home Link homework activity for parents and children to complete together. This open discussion model helps families establish a lifelong pattern of communication around sensitive topics.
Our Whole Lives helps our 7th-9th grade participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture.
Grounded in a holistic view of sexuality, Our Whole Lives not only provides facts about anatomy and human development, but also helps participants clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality.
Coming of Age (10th and 11th Grade)
In Unitarian Universalist churches, as in other faith traditions, we recognize the transition from childhood to impending adulthood. Here at First Parish, our 10th and 11th grade students participate in a Coming of Age program where they reflect on their growth from childhood, learn about themselves, and prepare for adulthood. We mark this transition with a year-long program that includes five parts: pairing youth with adult mentors; discussions and retreats that emphasize self-awareness and confidence-building; service to the church and community; development of a personal statement of faith (a credo); and a culminating affirmation ceremony.
NOTE: For current schedule information about any of our youth programs or events please visit the Youth Programs Calendar on the Members & Friends page. Schedules are also available from the Director of Religious Education, Michelle Cote (firstname.lastname@example.org, 978-897-8149), and on the monthly church calendar.