Service Journeys For Youth

We are excited to offer service journeys for youth groups! These programs offer a powerful opportunity for young people of high school age to engage in hands-on service, while learning about specific ways to tackle racial, environmental or economic injustice.

Our youth service journeys are grounded in spiritual reflection and solidarity with our partners. Each program includes some deep learning about structural injustice, and opportunities to think together about how to bring the experience back home.

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OPPORTUNITIES IN 2017

The following options are available to your group in 2017:

Appalachian Culture and Community, West Virginia:
West Virginia has significant environmental, social, and economic injustices that revolve around the state’s long history of coal mining. After stopping in the state capital to learn more about West Virginia and hear an overview of many of the challenges residents face, participants will travel deep into the Appalachia region of the state to have a hands-on experience working with and learning from communities struggling for a new, post-coal future.

Solidarity with Farmworkers, Florida:
The Alliance for Fair Food and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers represent some of the most exploited workers in the country. In the past decade, these grassroots organizations have had tremendous success building nationwide campaigns to fight for the rights of these workers. Youth will learn about the campaigns, meet the workers, and gain a deep understanding of the life and  conditions of migrant workers — and the inspirational ways they are organizing for change.

Revolution and Resiliency, Nicaragua:
Nicaragua has a reputation of being a country of rebels and poets. Groups will learn about the effects of long histories of both US intervention and citizen solidarity, as well the complex history of dictators, revolutions, and the most recent grassroots struggles of the Nicaragua people. Staying in a small village with local families, youth will experience day- to-day life in rural Nicaragua, study Spanish, and learn how they can be in solidarity with the Nicaragua people upon returning home.

Immigration Justice, Arizona/Mexico:
Human rights are at stake on the U.S.-Mexico border, and through meetings with partners, listening to migrants tell their stories, and walking the dangerous desert paths so many of them risk in crossing the border, youth will experience the depth of the immigration crisis firsthand. The program begins and ends in Tucson, AZ, and youth groups can choose either a program based entirely in southern Arizona, or one which works on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

COST

The cost of our programs will vary based on the destination and length of your journey. We charge only the direct cost for each program, and we offer financial aid for participants whenever we can. Because these funds are limited, we strongly encourage youth groups to generate congregational financial support as well, by holding fundraisers, donating the Sunday plate offering, and inviting supportive members to sponsor a traveler. This financial support also tends to reinforce the interest and commitment of the whole congregation.

GROUP SIZE

UUCSJ typically runs programs with a minimum group size of 10 people and a maximum of 15. However, under special circumstances we 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 region. UUCSJ can often assist groups in linking together for a program.

All of our programs are led by one or more trained UUCSJ program leaders. We will work with you to assess your group’s need for participant chaperones.

SCHEDULING A YOUTH SERVICE LEARNING PROGRAM

When you are ready to consider a journey with your youth group, the first step is to email info@uucsj.org about your group and where you are at in the process. 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.