About Cluster Retreats
Cluster events are very different from cons so the YAC has decided to call them retreats. Each of the four clusters has one district sponsored retreat a year but the YAC is encouraged to plan other cluster events throughout the year. Events do not have to resemble a con in nature, they could be overnighters, Saturday afternoon workshops, bowling nights, whatever!
Social Action Focus
Cluster retreats have fewer people than district cons. It’s much easier to find an organization to work with or design a social action project for 30 people than it is for 90 people. Designing and implementing a social action project can be a way that the YAC and retreat planners from the 4-6 congregations in your cluster can bond and grow together throughout the year. The YAC and retreat planners are encouraged to think outside the box. How can social change be creative? What is most needed in your local community? What coalitions are your UU community already part of? What information would your congregations like to have to be able to move forward in their social action initiatives?
Schedules & Timeframes
Cluster retreats may take many forms. An overnighter, a camping trip, a day trip, the traditional con format. The Cluster Retreat Schedule Template provides but one way to run your cluster’s retreat. When deciding a theme and schedule for your retreat, consider the needs of the congregations in your cluster. Should it be multigenerational? Should it be just middle and high school? Should it be just high school? Do you want to spend all day working with an organization? Do you want to have one big workshop, multiple smaller ones or none at all? The planning team is encouraged to experiment and do what fits well with your congregations. The Youth Ministry Consultant will attend one event per cluster annually but you are encouraged to plan other cluster events too.
Youth and Adults are welcome to attend events hosted by clusters that are not their own. Those who do are considered ambassadors of their cluster and should be requested to take notes on what they’d like to implement in their own cluster. They should be prepared to provide information on how their cluster works too.
Cluster retreats don’t have to be just for high schoolers and their chaperones. They can include adult from the congregations and middle schoolers too. Youth-adult partnerships are what makes YRUU strong. Middle schoolers are future YRUUers. Cluster retreats can include youth 7th-12th grade in a variety of ways. Middle school youth may stay the entirety of the time, for only one night, or just durning the day. High schoolers can act as counselors and workshop facilitators. YAC and the retreat planning team will need to intentionally create activities that guide the community toward multigenerational success.
Registration process and Deadlines
All registration is online. The Youth Ministry Consultant acts as Registrar. DRE and guardian emails are required to register so that a confirmation email can be sent.
Early registration deadline ($35) is one month prior to the event. Absolute final deadline ($45) is 2 weeks prior to event.
A Scholarship application is available online. The MDD will partner with guardians and congregations to make sure everyone who wants to attend a retreat can.A ratio of no less then one adult for every seven youth is mandatory. Middle school and high school youth are invited; high school youth take leadership roles. Any new youth or adult wanting to attend must first meet with the Director of Religious Education, Director of Ministry to Youth or other Religious Educator (see Newcomer Orientation). They must be active (attending at least once a month) in their local church.
Registration will open and filers and event info will will be released three months prior to the event. Fliers will be sent via email to congregations and posted on Facebook three months in advance. Please print and post fliers. All registrations for retreats will be available online ONLY at www.mdduua.org and the registration deadline for all events is the Monday two weeks before the event. Confirmation emails will be sent directly to DREs for each registrant automatically upon submission and a confirmation email with a schedule and a list of things to bring will be sent to each registrant and their parents upon submission.
The YAC recommends securing retreat chaperones for ALL events your congregation intends to go to at the beginning of the church year. It is much more effective to secure at least one adult for each event in September than it is to scramble at the registration deadline.
MDD requires youth 18 years or older, all youth in leadership positions, and adults to sign the Code Of Ethics. Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend.
At the retreat the Opening and Orientation set the tone for intentional community and the behavior necessary to maintain it. The rules are read and clarified by the Youth Chair and Adult Advisor so all participants understand them.
Each participant will be assigned a Gaggle Group facilitated by a high schooler with which they can connect to a smaller group of people, share joys, concerns and goals of their con experience. Gaggle groups also divide the tasks required to keep the retreat running. They set up and clean up meals and share the responsibility of “The Miracle” (Sunday morning cleanup).
We begin each day with Spirit Circle, a short time we can all be together, light a chalice and set our intention for the day. Worship is a central focus and happens at least once a day. The host church youth group is responsible for organizing Friday night worship. Saturday night worship is run by the Sprit Coordinator and a selected group of people at the con.
The host church is responsible for securing a UU Chaplain that can be on site at the retreat for the entirety of the event. He/she will serve on the spirit committee (see below) and is available to address any joys or concerns of con participants on an individual basis. Peer Chaplaincy training may be provided so youth can be available to address personal issues as well.
Separate sleeping rooms for males and females (self identified) are provided Friday night. Mixed gender rooms are provided Saturday night which has an awake adult in the room at all times. There is an adult in every room, and all rooms are checked at night by the night shift adults and Spirit Committee. The curfew on Friday night is set by the retreat planners (usually midnight). Saturday’s curfew is dependent on adult participation. If there are enough adults to take 2hr awake shifts, there may be no curfew on Saturday night. However, it is recommended that middle schoolers have a set curfew.
At cluster retreats, serving on Spirit Committee is an excellent opportunity for youth to build their mediation and compassionate conflict resolution skills. Spirit committee oversees the general atmosphere of retreats. Spirit Committee members address any problems with individuals or with the conference community as a whole. The Spirit Coordinator chairs this committee. The committee consists of the Youth Chair, Adult Chair, one other YAC Officer, a youth and adult from the host church, and at least two at-large youth and adults. It is everyone’s responsibility to see that the rules are followed and the covenant is honored. All participants, youth and adults are responsible for reporting rule infractions to the Spirit Committee and for making the Conference a safe place. Anyone with a concern about any aspect of the Conference should feel free to talk with a Spirit Committee member. Confidentiality will be a priority. If someone reports a rule has been broken the Committee will met and decide by consensus what should be done. If it is determined that someone has broken a rule or guideline they could be put on probation and may need to sit out the next event and then be helped back into the community with a peer mentor. Spirit committee members try to mix with everyone to ensure a good experience for all.
Posted Monday, 12 September 2011 15:49 Written by Jennica Davis