(Page updated October 19, 2021)

Coming of Age program description

The UU Church of Palo Alto (UUCPA) will be offering the popular Coming of Age program in 2022-2023 for youth entering grades 8-9 in the fall. Depending on ongoing COVID restrictions, some elements of the program may have to be changed (e.g., serving dinner to a homeless shelter).

The goal of our Coming of Age program is to help young people sort out their ethical and religious identity (recognizing that some young people do not feel religious at all), so that they may make rational decisions about the kind of person they want to become.

We have three objectives that help us reach this broad goal:

  1. We want participants to have fun, and to bond with a community of young people who share similar moral and spiritual values.
  2. We want participants to articulate their own ethical and religious identity, to gain a deeper sense of identity and to present that identity through the arts, spoken word, etc.
  3. We want participants to engage in direct action, including social justice projects and the arts, so they can experience living out their religious and ethical values in the world.

We will help young people meet these three objectives through five types of fun activities:

  1. 18 regular meetings: Participants will have 14 class meetings to get to know each other, have fun, and reflect on religion and ethics. Most meetings will be on Sunday evenings at 7 pm, December through May.  Participants should attend an absolute minimum of 12 of the regular meetings.
  2. Participants will cook and serve dinner to the Hotel de Zink homeless shelter.
  3. Participants will meet with an adult mentor of their choice, responsible adults from the congregation who can help them reflect on their identities. (We will assist families in finding appropriate adults from whom they can choose a mentor who will be a good match.) Participants meet with mentors six times from January through May.
  4. Participants will write a “credo statement” setting forth their ethical and religious identity, at this moment in their lives. These statements are usually about 500-700 words long. Mentors help youth write their credos. You can read some sample Coming of Age credos online here.
  5. Participants will lead both Sunday morning services at UUCPA in late May, during which they present their “credo statements.” After the service, participants attend a closing celebration with a potluck lunch; parents and family members may also attend the closing celebration. Participants must be present at both services, and at the lunch afterwards.

Youth say that the Coming of Age program is both fun and meaningful. The program will help them grow in self-knowledge, it will allow them to spend time with youth and adults who share similar values, and it provides additional strong adult role models at a time in life when that’s what many young people are looking for.

If you have any questions or would like to sign up for this program, contact Rev. Dan Harper.

The complete curriculum is online here.

The information below is from the pre-pandemic version of Coming of Age. Ongoing pandemic restrictions may change details of the program in 2022-2023.

The Coming of Age Program

All group meetings take place at UUCPA, Sun. from 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., with a few exceptions. The order of some of the sessions may change, but the dates of class sessions and field trips will remain the same.

Family meeting:

September 20, 2020
Youth and parents meet with the minister of religious education to go over the calendar for Coming of Age, and ask any questions about the program.

Meet with mentors:

January – May, self-scheduled
In addition to the group meetings, participants will arrange to meet on their own with their mentors at least six times from January through May. Mentor meetings are an excellent time for youth to work on their “credo” statements, their statements of who they are as religious and/or ethical persons. It is possible for youth to complete their credo statements during mentor meetings, without any additional time commitment. (Note that Coming of Age graduates tell us that the mentor meetings can be the best part of the program, and they may wish to meet more frequently.) Click here for mentor information.

Coming of Age Calendar:

Nothing scheduled at this time.