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YA Conference in the JPD

Posted by T. Resnikoff // February 15th 2012 // Events and Opportunities, young adults // no comments

A.J. Bennett Young Adult from the Joseph Priestley District, reports on a a recent Young Adult Conference in Joseph Priestly District.–Ed.

On the weekend of January 7th at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockville, 55 Young Adults (and an adult ally) from the Joseph Priestley District gathered for the first District YA Conference that had been organized in a few years: YAvengers YAssemble!

The JPD has had a very strong program of Youth Conferences, organized by the JPD-YSC (Youth Steering Committee). As youth active in the conferences bridged, however, they found no equivalent district level community for YAs. Bridging, at the district level, at least, became a “bridge to nowhere” situation.

Then, in 2010, there was a movement initiated by SUUSI and JPD young adults to have a Con at First UU of Lynchburg, Virginia. Word spread quickly via Facebook and many became very excited. However, it soon became clear that Lynchburg wouldn’t be large enough, nor was there clear leadership on the part of the YAs. Lynchburg had to decline hosting and the event did not take place.

Luckily, the excitement and momentum did not cease. Interested YAs from the JPD formed a Facebook group, email list, and monthly conference calls to organize a loose committee known as the YACPACC (Young Adult Conference Planning and Action Committee). This was January 2011. A coffee house was held in Philadelphia in April to build interest and find more volunteers. We reserved the space at Rockville in July, so we had 6 months to plan.

It took a lot of planning, discussions, conference calls, assistance from the district, reminders, and even more emails to put everything together, but we pulled it off. We had deeply connecting worship each night, empowering and informative workshops, excellent food, a raucous coffee house, and superhero cape-making. The event was a huge success, and it showed us the many areas of putting on a conference for Young Adults that we need to look at more closely. We also had elections, so that YACPACC is now an official JPD committee and more importantly, accountable to the community.

It has been long journey, and we have still farther to go to realize our dreams for quality YA-specific programming at the District level. We will continue in the same fashion that brought us here, with great aspirations and high standards, forgiving hearts and understanding minds, and of course, regular meetings and frequent reminders. We cannot stress enough how helpful it was to have people specifically designated to simply remind each other of what we agreed to do and of meeting times.



AJ Bennett, Ben Polson, Tracy Abner, Kimber Dudley, Paul Gupta, Ben Lighter, Kelson Shilling-Scrivo, Lucy Smith, Taylor Steel, Rachel Stevenson


A.J. Bennett is a Young Adult from the Joseph Priestley District.

About the Author

Ted Resnikoff is the Digital Communications Editor at the Unitarian Universalist Association.
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