Youth Program

The SI Youth Program is a week-long place to explore and learn about UU ethics and values without some of the constraints of today’s society, while still in a safe environment.

A core part of SI, the Youth Program offers age-appropriate programming for about 125 youth split between the junior high group (*7th – 9th grade) and the senior high group (10th – 12th grade). Each group has its own theme speaker for an hour in the morning, after which both groups come together to participate in a variety of morning workshops, such as music jam sessions, cooking for coffee house, crafts, games, dancing, and planning for that evening’s youth worship.  Following lunch in Kenyon’s new dining hall, you can attend a variety of inter-generational afternoon workshops (everything from Ultimate Frisbee to Dungeons & Dragons.) Your evenings are filled with various activities, including talent shows, card games, dances, movies, games, hand-drumming circles or just hanging out with other UU youth. After these events, Youth Vespers, created by and for youth (although all SI community members are invited to attend), take place. There is no way to describe Youth Vespers—once you attend one, you’ll know what it is all about, and you’ll probably want to attend more! If you’re entering 10th grade, you have the option of staying in the Senior High Youth Dorm. If you elect to stay in the Senior High Youth Dorm, your parents or sponsor can share a room with you, stay in a different room, or with their permission, you may stay alone in the Senior High Youth Dorm.

At SI, it doesn’t matter if you’re 13 or 18 or somewhere in between. Nor does it matter if you prefer music, sports, political discussions, art or just being with UU people. Basically, if you’re open-minded and looking for the fun, respect, meaning, or love that you can’t find in regular society, the SI Youth Program is the place for you. *If you are an upcoming 7th grader, you have the choice of either staying in the Children’s Programming or entering the Youth Program.

Youth Theme Speakers 2013: Exploring Eastern Traditions Through Movement

Darshanie Radha Sukhu grew up in the Sivananda Yoga Ashrams, a monastic community of yogis, and studied yoga and meditation with Swami Vishnu-devananda for seven years. She became certified in 1987. She now teaches at Leela Mata Peaceful Valley Ashram in Sligo, Pennsylvania and at Yoga Vidya in Germany. Her style of yoga is gentle yet deeply invigorating. It involves conscious breathing, flow sequences, inversions, traditional yoga postures and deep relaxation.

Yoga is an ancient philosophy that uses the body and breath to harness the mind and access deep mystical states. It is a spiritual science that allows you to experience for yourself your divine nature.

Stretch, breath, relax and find your joy. Yoga teaches you how to stay centered and happy. Enjoy a complete yoga class and learn a few fun variations as well. Wear modest and comfortable clothing, bring a yoga mat, blanket or large towel.  She looks forward to sharing with you all. Namaste.

Venerable Shih Ying-Fa is the Abbot and founder of CloudWater Zendo, the Zen Center of Cleveland and is the founder of the Nien-Fo Ch’an Order of Buddhist Monks. He is a lineage holder in the Linji school of Chinese Zen Buddhism. He founded CloudWater Zendo in 1994 and subsequently founded Zen meditation groups in a number of Ohio cities as well as in Pennsylvania and Washington state. For the past 18 years he has taught Buddhism at both state and federal correctional facilities in Ohio and has worked with death row inmates at the Ohio State Penitentiary. In 2010 he founded Great Vow Sangha (GVS) which assists those who are recovering from substance abuse by offering an approach that utilizes both Zen and Buddhist principles to understand and recognize the causes of addiction.

Ven. Shih Ying-Fa will introduce the participants to the teachings and practices of Buddhism.  This will be supplemented by the daily practice of Qigong, a form of internal energy circulation which is beneficial to the body, mind and spirit.  The group will focus on how the various teachings and practices of the Buddhist tradition are relevant to our 21st century society and how they may be mindfully applied in everyday life.  Mats or cushions are optional for meditation, as participants can sit on the floor or use chairs.

Youth Morning Workshops

After the morning theme speaker’s activities, you have several workshops to choose from. Maybe you have a song you want to practice for the coffee house performance, but you’re looking for someone who can lay down a seriously funky bass line? Or after an hour of theme talk, you’re tired of sitting inside and want to get up and move around? Maybe you have a couple ideas on how youth vespers could be improved? You’re in luck, because this year’s morning workshops will include:

Touch Groups/Youth Bridging

The idea of showing up to spend a week with more than 100 youth that you’ve never met before can be intimidating. Maybe you’ve been to a couple previous SI’s, but you always spent your time in the children’s program and now you’re too old for that. Or this is your first ever SI and you know at most two or three other youth from your church youth group back home.  No worries, each of us on the Youth Panel knows what it is like to be coming to your first SI in the Youth Program and we’ve arranged a few things to make sure everyone has a good time. The three main things to know about are touch groups, chaplains and youth bridging: