The Four F's of Youth Ministry

Our vibrant program for middle school and high school students is based on the four F’s of youth ministry – Food, Friends, Fun and Faith (yes, pretty much in that order).

Food. Yes, we always make sure to have snacks, and for our high schoolers who meet in the afternoon, we do candy communion while we check-in about what is important to us.

Friends. In our groups, people make lasting and meaningful friendships - and all friends are welcome!

Fun. We play games, tell jokes, and welcome times when we just get to be silly.

Faith. Unitarian Universalists believe in people finding their own path, developing their own believes, discovering their own truths. For us, faith development isn't about what you believe - we have people who are or have been Christian, Jewish, Humanist, Pagan, Atheist, Agnostic, and Muslim who come to First U - it's about joining together to live our shared values of respect for all people, peace, and justice.

What We Do in Youth Groups

When we're not playing games or eating snacks, our youth choose to advance justice in our community and world by identifying problems that they see and partnering with others to help and to explore our community and world in order to broaden our understandings and our views. This has lead our groups to many different places and to partner with many different people and organizations, including, in recent years:
  • The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland
  • Walden Pond in Concord, MA
  • The Center for Wildlife in York, ME
  • Preble Street Resource Center in Portland, ME
  • Gyepes, a small agricultural town in Transylvania
  • A Love Reaches Out Assembly in Providence, Rhode Island

Who Comes to Youth Group

While some of the kids and teens attending group have grown up at First Universalist, others have opted to join in to be with or make new friends, participate in social justice activities, go on trips to places as varied as Transylvania and Boston, MA, and enjoy developing their own ideas and beliefs about the world.

Groups remain open throughout the year, and members are encouraged to bring friends. First Universalist welcomes youth of all backgrounds, religious affiliations, ethnicities, abilities, gender identities, and sexual orientations.

To register your youth or if you have questions, please contact our Program Assistant, Gwen Matthews at gwenatfirstu@gmail.com.


Junior Youth Group

Our junior youth group and their facilitators meet most Sundays at 10:30 am in the Common Room at First Universalist from October - May and is open to all middle school students, grades 5-8, and their friends.

Highlights for the 2016/2017 church year include:
  • Team building, fun, and games
  • Spring 2017 pilgrimage (possibly to Boston, MA)
  • Opportunities to transform our community and world through social justice initiatives
  • A safe environment to discuss questions that Middle Schoolers have about friendships, relationships, life transitions, identities, and the mysteries and wonders in our world
  • Faith exploration, including discovering the beliefs and practices of other religions

Senior Youth Group

Our senior youth group is open to all High School students, grades 9-12, and their friends. The senior youth and their facilitators meet most Sundays from 4pm-5:30pm from October - May in the Gathering Room at First Universalist.

Highlights for the 2016/2017 church year include:
  • Our Whole Lives comprehensive human sexuality program for Fall 2016
  • Team building, fun, and games
  • Spring or Summer 2017 pilgrimage and mission trip - location will be decided by the senior youth
  • Opportunities to transform our community and world through social justice initiatives
  • Taking leadership positions within the youth program and developing lifelong connections with others in group

Adult Mentoring

Becoming a Youth Group Facilitator

First Universalist is proud to have fun, knowledgable, energentic, and engaging staff and volunteers as facilitators of our youth program. Facilitators often find that working with youth is one of their favorite parts of their church life, that it encourages their own spiritual growth, and that it is just plain fun. If you would like to become a youth group facilitator, please contact us to explore if you might be a good fit for the program and to learn more about the responsibilities and opportunities of being an advisor and mentor at First Universalist.

Guest Presenters

Our youth groups welcome guests to share their knowledge, passions, and skills by leading one or two time sessions with the youth. Last year visitors to our youth groups presented:

  • Journaling as a spiritual practice or helpful, reflective tool
  • LGBTQ issues in a discussion pannel and question-and-answer format
  • Creating and sewing babydolls to give to New Mainer children
  • Learning Romanian and tips for traveling to Transylvania

If you have something you would like to share with our youth, please contact us to discuss your idea.