Service-Learning Journeys With Your Youth Group
UUCSJ is excited to offer service-learning journeys for congregational youth groups. Building on our experience of running congregational journeys for adults, these programs are designed to be a powerful opportunity for youth groups to engage in experiential learning and service, while also growing a stronger foundation for the group.
When a group travels together, members have the benefit of returning home with others who have all shared in the same powerful experience. The process deepens learning, spiritual reflection, and solidarity with our partners. The collective experience also makes it easier to share the journey with the rest of the youth group and congregation, and creates a strong foundation for discerning next steps for engagement.
UUCSJ offers financial aid for participants whenever we can, in the hope of making our programs as accessible as possible. Because these funds are limited, we strongly encourage congregations to support those traveling on their behalf by holding fundraisers, donating the Sunday plate offering, and inviting supportive members to sponsor a traveler. In addition to providing practical assistance that allows those of limited means to travel with us, this tangible support also tends to reinforce the interest and commitment of the whole congregation.
UUCSJ typically runs programs with a minimum group size of 10 people and a maximum of 15. However, under special circumstances UUCSJ can sometimes accept larger youth group delegations. If you do not believe you can recruit 10 people from your own youth group, some of the same benefits noted above can be gained by traveling with others from youth groups in your city, state or UUA district. UUCSJ can often assist groups in linking together for a trip.
All of our trips are led by one or more trained UUCSJ program leaders. We will work with you to assess your group’s need for participant chaperones.
UUCSJ can currently accommodate youth group delegations to the U.S.-Mexico border and to the New York City area. These programs are open to youth groups whose members are currently attending high school (grades 9–12), and can sometimes accommodate slightly younger participants.
In our BorderLinks: Immigration Justice program, groups learn about issues of immigration justice in the U.S.-Mexico border region. Youth trips with BorderLinks have a strong emphasis on integrating experiential education with opportunities for service and volunteer work. With a program that begins and ends in Tucson, Arizona, youth group delegations can choose either a program based entirely in southern Arizona, or one which works on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. We recommend your group watches Who is Dayani Cristal?, a film by Gael García Bernal and Marc Silver, which tells the story of a migrant’s own journey to cross the border.
SCHEDULING A youth group TRIP
When you are ready to consider a journey with your youth group, the first step is to fill out this short inquiry form. Within a week, a member of the UUCSJ team will contact you to discuss your interests and go over possible trip dates. To reserve your chosen date, we require a nonrefundable deposit of $100 per participant, with a minimum of 10 participants. Further deposits and payments follow our standard schedule.
Groups often follow our standard itinerary for the chosen destination, which is designed for a one-week program. However, if your group needs a shorter or longer trip, please let us know. Our minimum youth group program length at this time is four days.