I don't know why it didn't occur to me sooner to do an interest search for Unitarian Universalism on here... it's not like I'm a newb to LJ or anything. Anyway, I was really happy to find this community and also to find that it's alive! I am a relatively new member (going on 1 year) of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames
, IA, and in the last several months a handful of people have come together to start a young adult group, which we eventually dubbed Prairie Fire. A group of 5 or 6 of us went to Continuity '08 up in Minneapolis (hello if any of you are on here!) and had a fantastic time, and also got a lot of ideas for what we wanted out of our group and how to apply them. So far, things have been slow to grow, but I think once autumn hits, we will be fine. We've decided to loosely set our age group to be 21-45, since a lot of our members are aging out or just aged out of the 18-35 bracket just as we got started, but we still wanted them to be a part of the group. Anyway, right now I think the ages of our regular attendees range from 20 to 37, and the median age is probably around 25.
We do have a campus ministry group (UUISU) primarily for undergraduates as well, and that was brought up in a bit of a dramatic fashion upon making the decision to start a young adult group. Some people wanted us to merge with UUISU, but the majority wanted to keep it separate and create our own identity -- not to exclude college-age students, but because while there are commonalities between the groups, we definitely each have very different needs in places. For instance, committees in our fellowship have historically taken turns preparing a supper for the college-age group every Sunday, and when my husband and I were invited to attend the group, we felt kind of weird having a "free meal" considering that we had our own home and place to prepare our meals; we weren't stuck in a dorm that may or may not serve a Sunday evening cafeteria meal. Nobody really pointed that out to us, but we just felt a bit awkward. Most of the pre-existing UUISU group did end up joining Prairie Fire, but on the other hand, most of the pre-existing UUISU group consisted of non-traditional students who were 22 or older. So it was a fairly smooth transition all in all, considering most of us had attended Continuity together already.
Anyway, we've decided to take a "mindful/mindless" approach to our weekly meetings, which was something we brought back from Continuity. Every other week, we do something "mindless" like watching a movie, having a potluck, going swimming at a local park, or playing board games. On the opposite weeks, we have a "mindful" discussion. We have ordered Building Your Spiritual Home
as a starting curriculum, but so far it has not arrived, so we initially tried taking some meetings out of Evensong
. It didn't seem to fit our group very well, unfortunately, so we've more or less scrapped it. Tonight, our mindful discussion was about the events two weeks ago at TVUUC and what positive things have come forth as a result of the tragedy. We hadn't really had time to talk about it yet, since the last few weeks have been pretty chaotic for many of us with moving and other stresses, but we had a good discussion. The biggest reason I decided to bring it up tonight was because we had a couple visit the fellowship for the first time today, after they'd read an entry
on Daily Kos and had their curiosity piqued about Unitarian Universalism (they'd never heard of it before, and lived 15 miles from the fellowship all this time). I'd invited them to come to Prairie Fire, and they did come, so it worked out well. Our next mindful meeting will be on August 24, which I think is the last weekend that we are on summer hours at the fellowship, and I'm hoping to get a planning meeting organized between now and then so we can get the fall schedule hammered out.
Man, there's so much I want to ramble on about. :) I guess I mostly wanted to say hello, and reach out to other UUs and young adult groups out there. If anyone has any suggestions for meeting topics or things that have worked well for your groups, please share! Thanks for reading!