Sponsor Info

Posted by T. Resnikoff // May 22nd 2017 // Youth Caucus 2017 User Guide // no comments

Feel free to download and print this letter and the Youth Sponsor Parent/Guardian Sample Agreement.

Hello, Adult Sponsors of Youth!

Welcome to General Assembly 2017 – Resist and Rejoice!

We are Sam Wilson, Kathy Smith, and Pam Lepley –Adult Advisors to the Youth Caucus Staff and your Sponsor Coordinators!

Large spiritual communities like Youth Caucus can be powerful, life-changing, and deeply meaningful. These opportunities cannot happen, however, without the help of Sponsors.


Sponsor Role

You, the Sponsor, are responsible for the safety, health, and well-being of the youth you are sponsoring at all times throughout GA. To help prepare, review our Youth Caucus Frequently Asked Questions.

You are on the front line and we are your support team. Join the Youth Caucus 2017 Facebook Group  and RSVP to the General Assembly 2017 Facebook Event where you can ask questions and connect with other sponsors.

Sponsor Coordinators Role

  • We are your primary contacts at Youth Caucus and we support you in your role as Sponsor.
  • We can be reached at (857) 263-3462 at any time during GA. This phone number will be live from June 21st-25th.
  • At least one of us will be at every Youth Caucus-sponsored activity.
  • Contact us if you need us – we’ll contact you if we need you.
  • Along with the Youth Caucus chaplains and UUA staff, we will support your youth if something happens to you.

As Sponsor Coordinators, we will:  be available through the Youth Caucus 2017 Facebook Group in advance of GA; provide an Orientation to Sponsors on Wednesday; support you in upholding the Youth Caucus Covenant created at Orientation and the Youth Caucus Participant Covenant signed prior to GA; welcome you and other adults into the Youth Caucus space and programming; offer reassurance to you in your role as Sponsor; field concerns about youth-related programming; create opportunities for youth and sponsors to connect during GA; and to assist in  re-connecting if you have lost contact with one another. In the event of a youth emergency, we will work with you, the UUA staff, and the appropriate emergency teams to manage the situation.

Traveling with Youth

It is the policy of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries that youth and their sponsors must stay in the same lodging during General Assembly.  We also strongly encourage sponsors to follow their individual congregation’s Safe Congregations Policy when making travel and housing arrangements.  Sponsors or families seeking further guidance can find helpful suggestions in this Youth in Hotels document from the UUA’s Central East Regional Congregational Life Staff.

Prepare for GA

In order to have the best GA experience possible, you and your youth should get to know each other and develop a plan. Before you come to New Orleans, take some time to talk things through so that your expectations of each other are clear.  Review the GA schedule and Program Book together.  We recommend that youth, sponsors, and parents/guardians create and sign their own written “Agreement” together, which includes expectations for both youth and sponsor roles, responsibilities, and limits. Please refer to our sample agreement at the bottom of the page for some items to discuss in advance, such as curfew, expectations for program attendance, and how often you will check in with one another throughout the day. SEE OUR SAMPLE AGREEMENT (Word, PDF).

The First Day of GA

Attend the mandatory Youth Caucus and Sponsor Orientation on Wednesday from 4:00-5:15!

This is where you will meet us as well as all of the other Youth Caucus leaders.  This is the place to get any last-minute questions answered.  Make-up Youth Caucus and Sponsor Orientations are scheduled for 8:30am on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for youth and sponsors arriving after Wednesday. Please attend the first orientation available to you after your arrival, as this is where you will receive vital information for having a fun and safe General Assembly experience.

Look around! Help your youth get oriented to the Convention Center and where it is in relation to your hotel.  Review the ground rules and safety information.  Stock up on snacks for you and your youth.  Take a deep breath!  This is going to be an AWESOME WEEK!!!

Safety, Curfew, and the Unique Environment and Opportunities of New Orleans

Familiarize yourself with the laws concerning minors and the age of consent in Louisiana.

Please note that the curfew for youth under 17 years old is very early! In the French Quarter youth must be accompanied by adults after 8pm nightly, everywhere else youth must be accompanied by adults after 9pm on school nights, 11pm on Friday and Saturday nights.

Programming at General Assembly tends to run until 11pm every night.  To meet curfew laws, an adult must accompany youth back to their hotel/lodging after General Assembly programming each night. We highly recommend that adult be the youth’s sponsor, or an adult that the youth and sponsor trust.  New Orleans police strictly enforce the curfew – they will ask for ID and then arrest.  Please note that a disproportionately high number of arrests for curfew violation are youth of color. Even if your youth are 17 or 18 years old (and thus the curfew law does not apply to them), a police officer might not be able to judge their age properly and might stop them anyhow.

New Orleans and the French Quarter

A cultural hub for the south, New Orleans attracts 9 million+ visitors per year.   With its distinctive architecture, variety of shopping opportunities, and iconic restaurants, many of those visitors are drawn to the French Quarter.

Please note that the French Quarter is experienced differently after dark.  One of the attractions to the Quarter is the street party atmosphere and it is common for people to be loud and inebriated. Please know the boundaries of the French Quarter make sure that your youth knows them as well.

Grabbing beignets at Café du Monde at noon then exploring some shops in the Quarter would be a fun activity with your youth. Trying to stroll down Bourbon Street with your youth (regardless of age) after dark – not so much. While in New Orleans, as in any large and busy tourist town, be aware that pickpocketing and petty crime are real.  Take care with your possessions, including credit cards and cash, Pay attention to how you carry your wallet, purse, and backpack.

New Orleans Curfew for Youth under 17 years old

French Quarter:  8pm nightly

New Orleans, other than area known as the French Quarter: 9pm on school nights, 11pm on Friday and Saturday nights

New Orleans Like a Local – Attend a Festival!

June 24-25 – Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival

Two unique styles of music, both birthed in Louisiana are celebrate at this annual festival.  This free event is held from 11am-7pm both Saturday and Sunday at Louis Armstrong Park, 701 N. Rampart Street.  Food vendors, cooking demonstrations, and local craftsman will all be on hand for the celebration so bring some cash just in case if you want to check it out for lunch or dinner.

We look forward to Resisting and Rejoicing with you in New Orleans!

Sincerely, Sam Wilson, Kathy Smith, and Pam Lepley

Meet Your Sponsor Coordinators

*Questions before arriving? Please email youth@uua.org with inquiries about Youth Caucus prior to General Assembly.

Youth, Sponsor and Parent/Guardian  SAMPLE AGREEMENT

General Assembly (GA) 2017– New Orleans, LA

Download this Sample Agreement (Word or PDF)

The Following are *some* examples of important items for Youth, Parent(s)/Guardian(s) And Sponsors to discuss before going to General Assembly.

We agree that before leaving for GA we will discuss our individual and mutual responsibilities, limits and expectations. Some examples of these may include:

  • What is the youth hoping for from participation in GA? What does the parent/guardian hope for?
  • What are the parent/guardian/sponsor’s/youth’s own expectations for youth behavior?
  • What does the parent/guardian expect from the sponsor?  What does the youth expect?
  • How can the parent/guardian best be contacted? What are everyone’s expectations in terms of how often, or under what circumstances, parent(s)/guardian(s) are to be contacted?
  • How will youth and sponsors arrange meals? How much spending money should the youth bring?
  • How will any medications be monitored and or administered?
  • How will sponsors be aware of relevant medical conditions, allergies, or ability to treat youth with over-the-counter medications?
  • What are your agreements around safety? What is your plan in case of any emergency?
  • What are your agreements around self care, including sleeping, eating, etc.?
  • How will you take what you’ve learned back to your home congregation and/or district/region?

The Following are *some* specific examples of agreements that the Youth and their Sponsor may wish to make:

In Terms of Spending Time Together At GA:

We, the Youth and the Sponsor, agree to meet at least ___ times per day while at GA, at a time and place that works for both of us.  Examples of good times/places to do so:

  • We will attend general session, a workshop or worship together.
  • We will share a meal.
  • We will check in at an agreed time/place.  

In Terms of Communicating with Each Other During GA:

We, the Youth and the Sponsor, agree that before leaving for GA we will create a system for communication with each other.  Examples of good systems of communication include the following:

  • We will carry each other’s cell phone number and hotel room number at all times.  
  • The convention center may have limited cell phone reception. We will have a back-up plan in case we can’t reach each other by phone.
  • We will designate a specific Meet Up Spot where we will generally meet up by default, rally as a group, go back to if we lose each other, etc.
  • We will share our expected schedules so we can find each other in an emergency.  

In Terms of Individual Responsibilities at GA:

    • We, the Youth and the Sponsor, agree to attend the mandatory Wednesday afternoon Orientation or the first available Orientation for arrival after Wednesday’s meeting..
    • Sponsor: I understand the Adult Sponsor Code of Ethics and I pledge to follow it.  I also understand and agree to the expectation that adult sponsors will not drink alcohol or take inebriating or illegal drugs while at GA.
    • Youth:  I agree to attend at least ___ events (workshops, Youth Caucus-sponsored events, General Sessions, and/or worship services) while at GA.
    • Youth:  I agree to the rules as outlined in the “Participant Policy and Covenant,” and will obey all state and local laws, as well as the laws of the hotel or residence where we are staying. I will also abide by the policy on sexuality and community.
    • Youth:  I agree to the curfews set by my sponsor.  I understand that while at GA I am the responsibility of my sponsor.  Please note the New Orleans city curfew for unaccompanied youth:

Children 16 or younger who are not accompanied by a parent or guardian must be home by 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday in the summer. On Friday and Saturday, they need to be home by 11 p.m. – unless they are in the French Quarter or a section of Faubourg Marigny that includes Frenchmen Street. Curfew in the French Quarter is 8pm nightly.

Youth, Sponsor and Parent(s)/Guardian(s):  We understand that this agreement is created between us to ensure comfort and safety for youth, sponsors and parents/guardians.  We further understand that if the youth violates any GA rules, parents/guardians will be notified and the youth will be sent home at the expense of the parent/guardian.

_____________________            ____________________             __________________

Youth Signature                               Parent Signature                              Sponsor Signature

Please Note:  

This is a *sample* agreement between youth, sponsors, and parents.

Look it over.  Modify it.  Make it your own.  

Create your own agreement between yourselves!

Agreements between youth, sponsors and parents/guardians should be built on mutual respect and understanding.  Everyone benefits when youth, sponsors and parents/guardians all agree in advance about what they expect from each other.

You may want to print your own modified version of this document and formally sign it in each other’s presence to help you remember the covenant you have made with each other.


About the Author

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