Welcome! We are a congregation that is committed to our youth and the development of their spiritual well-being. We are fortunate to have a thriving youth program, one where youth explore their personal beliefs, build lasting friendships, and engage in the larger world as they put their beliefs into practice. Staff and adult volunteers support our youth as they navigate the unpredictable waters of adolescence into young adulthood. My primary role is to build relationships with our youth, to support them as they explore the meaning of life, and to help them connect their vision of religious life with the larger congregation and beyond. For more information about our youth group, please reach out to Jamaine Cripe, Beacon’s Youth Director at email@example.com or (908) 273-3245 ext. 130.
Junior Youth (6th – 8th Grades)
Our Junior High Youth kick off the year with our Fall Retreat on the last weekend in September at Frost Valley YMCA Camp located in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, just a short two hour drive from New Jersey. While the Junior High enjoys a retreat together with activities including hikes, zip-lining, sports, arts & crafts, tree time and many more, our parents also gather at Frost Valley to get-away, have fun, and build their own community. You can use this link to register for the Fall Retreat.
6th & 7th Graders attend classes on Sunday mornings during both the 9:30 AM and 11:15 AM services. 2017-18 is their Building Bridges (World Religions) year where they will learn about a variety of faith traditions, visit their local houses of faith, and discover what all faith traditions share in common. You can use this link to register your 6th & 7th Graders for this program.
8th Graders attend classes at 6:30 PM on Sunday nights. Our oldest middle schoolers participate in Our Whole Lives (O.W.L.) – an inclusive and developmentally appropriate curriculum that addresses sensitive topics that are excluded from many sexuality curricula. The proactive goal of the program is to help our youth become sexually healthy people who feel good about themselves and their bodies, remain healthy, and build positive, equitable loving relationships in preparation for their high school years. You can use this link to register your 8th Grader for O.W.L.
Youth Group (9th – 12th Grades)
9th Graders mark the rite of passage in life from youth to young adult in our Coming of Age (CoA) class offered at 6:30 PM on Sunday nights. Led by adult and senior youth teachers, students explore personal identity, family roots, Unitarian Universalism, spiritual disciplines, dreams & realities for the future, and the meaning of life.
CoA works hand‐in‐hand with Youth Group. It is held Sunday evenings from September through May. For the first hour, CoA students attend Youth Group followed by a 60‐minute class. Through the course of the year, students will also visit Unitarian/Universalist sites in Boston & NJ, engage in service projects, and participate in a district youth conference. At the end of the year, our CoA class shares their personal belief statements with the larger congregation during a Sunday worship service in May.
9 through 12 Graders gather weekly on Sunday evenings for Youth Group. Youth Group is a safe, caring community where youth connect with one another within the bounds of our Covenant which reminds us how we can be with one another in caring ways.. They build strong friendships with one another and with adults who care about them as they explore who they are, life as we know it and beyond. Youth Group acts together to create a better, more hopeful, more justice‐filled community through activities, worship, games, discussion, sharing and field trips.
Youth Group is led by elected youth leaders in partnership with the youth director and adult advisors. It is held on Sunday evenings from September through May. Newcomers are welcome at any time. Please use this link to register your 9th through 12th Grader for Youth Group.
Youth Participation in the larger Congregation: Beacon is a congregation that welcomes youth to attend and participate in our larger congregation. Youth are invited to join us for worship and to share their skills & presence in worship services, social action, congregational committees, and religious education.
Tools for Parents: Being the parent of a teenager is both exciting and terrifying. We offer different tools – from educational workshops to small group support – to help parents along the way.
Parents are encouraged to support our youth programs and the larger congregation. However, generally-speaking, parents are not asked to be adult advisors or chaperons of our youth groups. You will probably be asked to drive 4-5 youth somewhere where they have interesting conversations as if you weren’t in the car or buy large amounts of groceries from a bulk-food store.
Advisors and Adult Teachers: Working with teenagers isn’t as hard as everyone makes it out to be. After all, teenagers are people. Just like you and me. In fact, it is often incredibly fun AND gratifying. (After all, what other meetings in your life are you asked: “If you could visit any planet, where and why?” or invited to sit by a tree for 30-minutes with your journal?) Also, don’t worry about being cool. You get your “cool” by caring about them.
Our advisors must have attended our congregation for at least 6-months prior to getting involved and must be 25-years old. Advisors are trained by our Youth Director, mentored by other advisors, undergo a 3-month trial period, and attend regular advisor meetings.
Connecting to the larger Unitarian Universalist Youth Movement