I was leading the orientation session last night for this year’s Coming of Age mentors. At check-in, I mentioned that I had my first conference call with the other GA youth advisors this week. Mason said, “Wait a minute, what’s this about?” So I explained that I had been chosen as a Youth Advisor/ Sponsor Coordinator for this year’s General Assembly. As a Youth Advisor, I will be working with the Youth Caucus to support the work that they do. I will also help youth and their sponsors have a safe and positive experience at GA as a Sponsor Coordinator. To this, Mason responded, “It must be nice to follow in your daughter’s footsteps!” And I have to say, it is indeed.
Jaimie’s experiences over the last few years in the wider UU world have amazed and inspired me. One of her first life changing experiences was at GoldMine that was held in Williamsburg the summer before her Freshman year of high school. She came back from that incredibly excited about being a UU youth. She met wonderful students from across the district and her confidence level made a big leap.
This past summer, as you may know, we held GoldMine here. I knew I needed to give the GoldMine experience to other youth. Jaimie played a major role in facilitating the workshops with AJ Bennett and Rev. Andrew. While I was at Charlotte Con recently, I got an update from the mother of one of our GoldMine students. She told me that the week in Newport News had made a profound difference in her daughter’s life and she couldn’t thank us enough. I also heard this week that another GoldMine student is seriously considering going into ministry now and is applying for the Summer Seminary program at UUA.
Jaimie and I also took the Youth Chaplaincy workshop offered at Williamsburg where we learned ways to give pastoral care to youth especially at lock-in or CON settings. I think this helped us decide to attend Charlotte CON the first time and then later plan our own Nature CON.
Going to District meetings together in North and South Carolina and the Anti-Racism Conference in Richmond helped us learn more about our denomination and ourselves.
Jaimie led the path to SUUSI for our family. She convinced me to go three years ago and it has now become a tradition. Jerry gets the chance to be a rockstar and Jaimie and I share our time with the youth program.
Going to meetings, CONs and SUUSI has helped her grow her network of UU friends which led to her interest in Youth Caucus. Participating in Youth Caucus on the worship staff was a truly awesome experience for Jaimie. And it has since given her many opportunities to follow her path toward ministry.
Last summer she attended Summer Seminary in Boston. You may have seen her in the Summer Seminary promotional video that was posted on Facebook. And this year she works as an intern at Marsh Chapel where she has started a children’s RE program.
So thanks to my daughter and the connections she has made, I’ve found more ways to do my life’s work, more ways to empower youth at UUFP and elsewhere.
Yes, it is nice to follow in my daughter’s footsteps. I can’t wait to see where we’ll go next!