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 beliefs, discovering their own truths. For us, faith development isn’t about what you believe, it’s about joining together to live our shared values of respect for all people, peace, and justice.

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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 led our groups to many different places and to partner with many different people and organizations, including, in recent years:

  • Portland’s Free Clothing Closet
  • 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 village in Transylvania
  • The UUA’s General Assembly of Unitarian Universalists
  • Local faith organizations

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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

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Junior Youth Group

Our junior youth group and their facilitators on Sundays during worship at 10:15 am in the Common Room at First Universalist from September through May. The junior youth group is open to all middle school students, grades 5-8, and their friends.

Highlights for the 2019-2020 church year include:

  • Team building, fun, and games
  • Spring 2020 pilgrimage trip – location to be determined (past trips include Concord, MA, Boston, MA, and Salem, MA)
  • Opportunities to transform our community and world through justice work
  • A safe environment to discuss questions that middle schoolers have about friendships, relationships, life transitions, identities, and the mysteries and wonders of our world
  • Faith exploration, including discovering the beliefs and practices of other religions

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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 4 – 5:30 pm from September – May in the Gathering Room at First Universalist.

Highlights for the 2019 – 2020 church year include:

  • Team building, fun, and games
  • Summer 2020 mission trip to live our values
  • Opportunities to transform our community and world through justice work
  • Development of our spiritual lives by exploring what is meaningful to us
  • Having a place to be your authentic self and develop lifelong connections