This story comes to us from Aislynn Pasierb, a member of Eliot Unitarian Chapel in Kirkwood, Missouri.
I was incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to attend UU Youth Midwest Leadership School (YMWLS) in Beloit, WI this past  July. YMWLS gave me the chance to create lasting friendships and learn more about what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist. Most importantly, I learned about how important multi-generational involvement is in Unitarian Universalism.
A significant component of being at YMWLS is creating a worship service in a group of participants from both the youth and adult leadership schools. This experience was very different for each group, depending on their ability to communicate and include both youth and adults. My experience was very positive. When any person, no matter their age, would speak, everyone would listen and truly consider the other person’s ideas. As a group, we were able to incorporate everyone’s input and make sure everyone could participate in the service in a comfortable way. Read More...
Until recently, I felt guilty about my privilege. I shoved it down and denied its existence. I waited for someone to reassure me that privilege was a made up phenomenon. I watched others do the work but called myself an ally. I never spoke up about the numerous opportunities I received. I couldn’t explain or fix it, so why acknowledge that privilege was existent in my life?
Recently, I attended UU Youth Midwest Leadership School in Beloit, WI. This intensive experience, which explored leadership development, social justice, our Unitarian Universalist (UU) faith, and team-building skills, was set to be another ordinary week in my life. I expected to show up and talk once or twice about justice. I would feel safe, comfortable and inside my comfort zone. I was wrong. Instead, we confronted tough topics. We were forced to gain new perspectives and tint the lenses in our glasses through which we see life in order to view these issues in new ways. We engaged in conversation, shared simple team-building games, and explored activities which built leadership skills. Most activities were informative, motivational, and inspiring, and placed me outside of my comfort zone to ensure attentive participation. Read more...
What Is It for Us to Do?
In July 2014, we attended Youth Midwest Leadership School (YMWLS), a week-long UU leadership camp for UU youth in Beloit, Wisconsin. It was the best week of our lives.
We arrived with little preconception about the week's activities. We hoped for fun and eye-opening experiences. What we encountered was far more than we could have hoped for, particularly the relationships we developed with 28 other open-minded UU youth. We created a unique UU community where, together, we pursued acceptance, spirituality, communication, peace, equity, and unconditional love. We bonded until the idea of leaving sounded impossible. We departed feeling we'd evolved into new and better versions of ourselves who had experienced a real taste of what community, spirituality, and love truly means.