Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Volunteer Opportunities 2022-23!
To sign up, email Elizabeth at email@example.com
NOTE: this year (2022-23) all volunteers working with children and youth are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19. Current policy and practices around COVID are made by Albany UU’s COVID Response Team, and can be found here.
Groups you could work with:
Nursery/Toddler Room will be open for all children fewer than three years of age. A staff person and a volunteer will both be present to care for the little ones.
Prek-1st Grade & 2nd-5th Grade groups will be engaging with our monthly themed Soul Matters curriculum. Sessions include chalice lighting, check in, follow-up conversation about the story in service, and a combination of seated and movement activities related to the story and theme. Sessions end at 11:15, and adults are expected to pick up their children in these two groups from their classrooms. This year’s themes include:
January: Finding Our Center
6th-7th Grade will be learning about Unitarian Universalism as well as other world religions in their Crossing Paths curriculum. Led by volunteers, this course encourages respectful wonder about and interest in the faiths being studied, honors the experiences of people familiar with those faiths, and features visits to their sacred spaces and services.
8th-9th Grade will be doing Our Whole Lives, an age-appropriate human sexuality course led by specially-trained facilitators that supports each young person’s ability to make responsible, fact-based decisions about their bodies, behavior, and relationships.If you are interested in being trained as an OWL facilitator at either the elementary (K-1, 4-6) or secondary level (7-9, 10-12), please let Elizabeth know, as it can some time to make arrangements.
Youth Group is open to all high school aged youth, and weekly sessions seek to provide connection, community, and a supportive space. They also like to have fun! Lead Youth Advisor Adrian Cattell is once again guiding the group with help from volunteers. One new activity for Youth Group this year will be the opportunity to help plan a Heritage Trip, to be undertaken along with the Coming of Age group. Since recent COA groups have not been able to take the trip, this year’s will be open to everyone in Youth Group so those who missed out will have a second chance. Scheduling for the trip will be determined early in the fall.
Toward a Safe Congregation Policy
This policy describes our approach to both preventing and responding to behaviors, especially as they are directed toward children, youth and vulnerable adults. Adult volunteers working with children and youth sign the Code of Ethics every year they serve in the program, and submit it to the Director of Religious Education and Family Ministry.
NOTE: this year (2022-23) all volunteers working with children and youth must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, and willing to provide evidence of vaccination.
Volunteering with Children & Youth Q and A:
Why do people donate their time and effort to children and youth?
Sharing the excitement of learning and exploring new ideas with children can be a very special experience. Volunteers often say that they learn as much, or more, from the young people as the young people do from the volunteers. The fresh outlook of children and youth helps us adults to keep our youthful perspective.
I’m still forming my own beliefs. How can I teach religion to children?
As UU’s, most of us spend our entire lives formulating our religious beliefs. It’s a part of what we’re all about! Since we have no creed, we don’t try to “teach” our children religion. Instead, we guide them to question, to wonder, to grow their own spirituality and world view. We help them consider how to think about religion, not what to think about it. Our small group guides don’t need theological certainty, just open minds and open hearts.
But I don’t know how to guide a small group!
That’s okay – we’ll help you. Our staff of Paula Brewer, Program Assistant and Elizabeth Baldes, Director of Religious Education, support the team of volunteers throughout the church year. There is also an opportunity for teacher training every fall.
But I can’t do it alone!
Don’t worry. You’ll be a part of a teaching team of four volunteers per group. When it’s your turn to teach, another member of your team will be there to assist you and monitor the interactions. You can expect to lead one session a month and assist once a month. You’ll receive an email each week to remind you of the schedule and check in with you. Elizabeth and Paula will provide you with the materials you need.
But I’m not good at arts and crafts (or music, drama or whatever).
You don’t have to be! Our curricula is designed to be easy to use. We’ve always said that nothing has to turn out “just so” in our activities. Children and youth will appreciate the opportunity to explore what they like and to share with the group what they are excited about.
I enjoy the sermons too much to miss them.
Good news! We have teams so that no one has to volunteer every Sunday. Plus, now that we are multi-platform, most services are recorded and shared.
OK, now I’m interested. What do I do next?
You email Elizabeth Baldes at firstname.lastname@example.org. She’ll be happy to talk with you about what might be a good fit for you.