Family Ministry, May 2018

One of the greatest challenges our youth leaders recognize in building a vibrant youth program is communication. Sound familiar? Right now our activities for teens are, to be honest, poorly attended. After considering why participation is so low, the Youth Adult Team leaders have identified the first big barrier. Youth rarely know what’s going on in youth group. Without information they simply can’t make plans to show up when there is a special activity.

Though solving that challenge is complicated. Some teens prefer communicating via text messages, while some don’t even have phones. Some advisors only use email. Everyone, it seems, is busy and flooded with lots of information to digest. Rethinking communication norms is certainly a challenge of our times. After exploring our needs and doing some research we’ve decided to try out a new tool.

Flocknote is a service that lets you choose how you’d like to get announcements – via email or text message. It’s created for churches and thoughtfully facilitates connections between people across the age and technology spectrum – giving each person the choice of how they’d like to get announcements. Best of all, it’s designed intentionally to protect young users. All contact info is kept private. Both messages sent to a group and those sent privately are visible to Family Ministry staff, who regularly review activity. This ensures the transparency and documentation required by UUCB’s safety policy.

Youth, parents, and advisors can sign up now. It’s easy. Text uuchalice to 84576 from your phone. Or visit our church at: flocknote.com/uucb. Want more info? See our FAQ page. Or visit www.flocknote.com.

Our youth leaders know that improving the communication challenges is just one step to better engaging their peers. Later this month we are having a Youth Visioning Overnight to get input from the youth community. I’ve been encouraging youth and advisors to think of our dwindling participation as an opportunity to rethink youth ministry. Dropping attendance is certainly a clear sign that what we’re doing has gone stale. My hope is we can take a fresh look at what would be most meaningful and fun for our middle and high school youth.

The Youth Visioning Overnight begins Saturday, May 5, at 10 am. It ends Sunday at noon. Logan Stump-Vernon is planning games and yummy meals we’ll cook together. Merrin Clough is pulling together the visioning workshops and working with youth to lead a late-night worship. Middle school and high school youth and advisors are invited for all or part of the event – especially the Sunday morning session at 11 am. Join us! Have questions? Email merrin@uucb.org.