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Meet Your Youth Caucus Staff

Posted by Jeremie Bateman // June 9th 2014 // Youth Caucus Prepacket 2014 // one comment

Get to know your Youth Caucus Staffers and what their roles are at General Assembly.

YC14Not pictured: Rev. Andrew Weber



Deans are the leaders of the Youth Caucus Staff and represent the Caucus during General Assembly planning. They select programming and staff, and help organize all of Youth Caucus!

Owen Huelsbeck, Tahoma Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Pacific Northwest District

Owen loves being outdoors hiking or hanging out at the beach with his friends and a frisbee. Recently graduated from high school, Owen plans on attending the Santa Clara University honors college for the next four years and study anything and everything that catches his interest. He has a passion for leadership, and can’t wait to share time at General Assembly with you!

Olivia Calvi, Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church, Pacific Southwest District

Olivia Calvi is a lifelong UU, growing up at Emerson UU Church in sunny SoCal. Her passion for leadership led her to be Jr. Dean. Witty and unpredictable (and modest), she hopes you come talk to her! She’s euphoric that you made the right decision to come to GA! Salamander.


FUN TIMES Managers

FUN TIMES stands for Folks Unanimously Networking to Imagine, Manage, and Execute Sessions. The Managers run FUN TIMES where all youth can discuss the business before the Assembly, meet leaders in the Association, and get involved.

Isabelle Marshel, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond, Southeast District

Isabelle Marshel was born in and grew up in Richmond, Virginia. She enjoys rock climbing, playing guitar and piano, ping pong, and Adventure Time. A rising junior, she is excited to be part of Youth Caucus Staff and to have a great GA filled with business and networking.

Kara Marler, Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church, Pacific Northwest District

Kara is a junior from Bothell, Washington and is incredibly excited to be this year’s Junior FUN TIMES Manager. She is active in her church and district, and does anything to put more UU zest in her life. On the side she loves to run, play music, and dance.


Worship Coordinators

Worship Coordinators are responsible for Youth Caucus worship and for bringing a spiritual element to other Youth Caucus sessions. They are also involved in the Synergy Worship and this year are offering a workshop on spiritual practices. 

Olivia Schouboe Elzinga, University Unitarian Church, Pacific Northwest District

Olivia Schouboe Elzinga is very excited to be joining Youth Caucus again this year as the Senior Worship Coordinator. She believes that worship can be a powerful way to unify a community, to empower individuals and groups and to explore identity, and she hopes to see you at every worship!

John Newhall, First Church in Salem, Massachusetts Bay District

John Newhall, Junior Worship Coordinator,  is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist.  He is a Religious Education teacher at his congregation in Salem, Massachusetts. He enjoys theatre, physics, and writing. He is, without a doubt, overflowing with excitement for GA!


Connections Coordinators

Connections Coordinators run workshops that exist to help Youth Caucus attendees connect with one another. This year those sessions are on youth group games that you can bring back to your congregation, and discussions on faith identity and interfaith work. Additionally, the Coordinators help youth connect in informal ways throughout General Assembly.

Morgan Day, High Plains Church, Unitarian Universalist, Mountain Desert District

Morgan Day is a junior from Palmer Lake, Colorado. She is a native born Coloradan, but loves to travel anywhere and everywhere. She pole vaults, dives, and skis, which takes up almost all of her free time. Her favorite things are hugs and spontaneous dance parties.

Colleen Murray, West Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Pacific Northwest District

“Colleen Murray is one jubilant and jovial go-getter. She’s been deeply involved within her congregation  and the PNWD since early high school. This young upstart will be connections coordinator for this GA and is always happy to meet and talk to new people!” – Customer testimonial



Chaplains are at GA for you! There are two youth and two adults on the Chaplain Team and their job is to be available to you if you need someone to talk to and to monitor group dynamics and help build community. They have also written a short letter to youth and sponsors explaining what it is that they do, what resources are available, and some information about our friendship table and morning spiritual practices. 

Phoebe Masterson-Eckart, First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco, Pacific Central District

Phoebe enjoys tea, swimming, and singing/being outdoors with friends. She’s involved in various UU activities back home, including everything from the governing body of her district’s youth programs to congregational committees. She attended last year as a Youth Caucus chaplain, and is thrilled to do it again. She’s so excited to meet you all, hear about and participate in your GA experiences!!

Oliver Evans, Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron, Ohio-Meadville District

Oliver has just graduated high school in Akron, Ohio. Next year, he will study mathematics at the University of Akron. Oliver has been very involved in UU youth leadership as both a chaplain and a worship coordinator. He loves to play music, dance, and make new friends at General Assembly!

Donna Renfro

Donna Renfro has been a leader and co-dean of Goldmine Youth Leadership School, advisor for OWL programs and cons, DRE, hospital chaplain. She’ll be walking in the GA Service of the Living Tradition as a new minister ( woohoo!), and brings improv movement and dance into her ministry. Flashmob anyone?

Rev. Andrew Weber, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark, Joseph Priestley District

Rev. Andrew Weber is excited to be serving the GA Youth Caucus staff as one of the adult chaplains, his third time in this role. Andrew is a life-long Unitarian Universalist and serves the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark, DE (pronounced new-Ark). He and his wife, Isabella, recently had their first child, Micah, born in April – and life is amazing! Andrew firmly believes our faith and the world is bettered by youth involvement and is excited for a great time in Providence!


Advisors and Sponsor Coordinators

These staffers fill two roles. First, as advisors, they work with the youth staff on their programs and provide support and an adult presence at Youth Caucus events. As sponsor coordinators, they work with and support the adult sponsors and provide support to youth and adults with sponsorship-related issues. 

Joanne Dingus, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula, Southeast District

Joanne Dingus has been a Unitarian Universalist since 1973. She has been DRE at the UU Fellowship of the Peninsula in Newport News, VA for the past fourteen years. She enjoys being able to use her creativity while working with children and youth. This is her fourth GA and first time on Youth Staff. In addition to her work at the Fellowship, she works part time as a crossing guard, childcare provider and picture framer. She volunteers with Tidewater Arts Outreach where she either performs with a Middle Eastern dance troupe or teaches art classes to residents of care facilities. She is on the Advisory Council for the Christopher Newport University Writers conference and enjoys writing middle grade fiction. She is the incredibly proud mother of Jaimie and Jerry Dingus.

James Forrest, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, Joseph Priestley District

James Forrest works as the Youth Ministry Coordinator at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax in Fairfax, VA. He spent many years working with youth as an adult advisor at youth cons and camps in the Pacific Southwest District. This is his third time attending General Assembly and he is very excited to be serving on Youth Caucus Staff.

Jessica Laike, High Plains Church, Unitarian Universalist, Mountain Desert District

Jessica Laike is a lifelong UU who serves as the Director of Faith Formation at High Plains Church in Colorado Springs and she also runs the Colorado Springs YRUU Youth Group which serves both UU congregations in her town. Jessica is passionate about youth ministry, religious education and developing inter-faith cooperation and community. After living all over the country, Jessica is thrilled to be in Colorado where, when she isn’t working, she spends much of her time with her fiancé outside in their garden or playing with their dog, Peanut.


Put individual names with faces with this announcement video from earlier this spring.


Additionally, several UUA staff members support the Youth Caucus each year. 

Carey McDonald – Youth and Young Adult Ministries Director

Carey will be in and out of Youth Caucus helping to support the Youth Caucus staff. He also works with Young Adults @ GA programs, and always enjoys talking with people of all ages about youth and young adult ministry! If you see him, introduce yourself so he can say hi. He’ll also be taking on a new role at the UUA next fall doing outreach.

Jeremie Bateman – Leadership Development Associate

Jeremie is the staff person who works most closely with the Youth Caucus volunteer staff. He’ll be at Youth Caucus events supporting the staff and also as a resource for youth and sponsors. He helps the youth staff make program decisions and supports them in their planning. Ask him about the Luminary Leaders youth recognition program when you see him!

Deborah Neisel-Sanders – Office Administrator

Deborah plays a behind-the-scenes role in our work at GA – perhaps you spoke to her while you were applying for a scholarship or in order to make sure all your forms were in. At GA, she provides administrative support to the other UUA staffers and staffs our office booth in the UUA Expressway. Don’t know who to ask about a program or resource? Ask Deborah!

Ted Resnikoff – Communications Technology Associate

Ted will be in and out of Youth Caucus, helping to share our events with the broader UU world. He’ll be capturing video and taking pictures. He also manages our blog Blue Boat at blueboat.blogs.uua.org. Follow us on Twitter! @YAYAUUA

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About the Author

Jeremie Bateman is the Leadership Development Associate in the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at the UUA. He can be reached at jbateman@uua.org.
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