Youth and young adults were jubilant after passage of the youth and young adult empowerment resolution at this morning's plenary session. The resolution calls for congregational, financial, and spiritual support for youth and young adults. The vote was preceded by a heated debate in which numerous youth and young adults spoke to the importance of the resolution, especially in the face of UUA cuts to the two continental organizations, Young Religious Unitarian Universalists and the Continental UU Young Adult Network, and opponents who believed that the resolution did not provide enough “meat.” Emotions ran high as the debate was extended twice.
“We feel we need to be ministered to as any other member of our congregations,” said Joe Gayeski, a member of the youth caucus, as he stood at the microphone surrounded by 30 other members of the caucus.
“Passage of this resolution is so important,” said Will Floyd, a member of the YRUU steering committee. “There is such flux and uncertainty in youth programming.”
Victoria Mitchell, who co-authored the resolution spoke about its importance to keeping her generation in the UU family. “Over 90 percent of youth leave and never come back to Unitarian Universalism,” she said.
Denny Davidoff, former UUA moderator, was the first to take the “con” microphone. “I know, admire, and love many people at the ‘pro’ mike,” she said. “But in its vast comprehensiveness, I fear this resolution will be asking this delegate body to make promises that many congregations cannot keep. It will make a mockery of the democratic process.”
Other “con speakers” addressed such issues as the lumping together of youth and young adults, and the fact that in its vagueness, the resolution might let congregations "off the hook.”
As the session snaked through procedural interruptions and suggestions, UUA moderator Gini Courter offered a moment of levity. When someone pointed out that the language in the resolution “urged” congregations to make these changes, it didn't “mandate” them, Courter quipped, “I have lots of urges but few mandates!”
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Jane Greer is a former senior editor of UU World magazine.