Coming of Age
Coming of Age for Follen 10th Graders
The Coming of Age (COA) program was created in response to a need for a formal rite of passage for our youth such as exists in many cultures and faiths. The program is designed to help our youth explore their spirituality, deepen their religious understanding and clarify their personal values and beliefs. In addition, the program will provide our youth with insights into the many ways in which Unitarian Universalism informs lives and provides both spiritual and moral grounding. Ultimately, participation in the program may increase their sense of belonging in their home church. Youth who complete the COA program will be invited to membership within the church.
The 2023-24 Coming of Age Program will run from October – May, 2023 (Dates to be determined). The program will culminate in a church service, in which the youth will present their Credo Statements, and be affirmed with blessings from the congregation.
For Follen tenth graders, Coming of Age is a journey with friends new and long-term, a way of exploring how Unitarian Universalism impacts and blesses our lives, and an opportunity to intentionally focus on who they are and what they believe- in this particular snapshot of time, and as a foundation for future growth.
Coming of Age – a program for Youth AND their Mentors
Across religions and cultures people honor the transition from childhood to adulthood with study and ritual. For Unitarian Universalists, a coming of age ceremony is usually the culmination of a process that involves the young person delving into an intentional assessment of their own values, spirituality, and beliefs at this time in their lives, which they will ultimately be asked to share with their congregation. The process is an important one, for which they will have both program advisors and an individual, chosen adult mentor to companion with as they explore.
The Coming of Age (COA) Mentor is a trusted and respected adult member of our congregation, over age 25, who brings integrity, honesty, and ethical interaction to that process. Mentors participate in the bi-monthly meetings with their “Mentee” and use those gatherings as a springboard to offer guidance and insights.
How Does One Become a Coming of Age Mentor?
COA Mentors must be active members of Follen Church. All potential COA Mentors must apply for a role in the program. Participating youth will rank their top three choices among the applicants and will be assigned by the Coming of Age leadership team based on preferences and qualities best leading to group coherence that year. Alternately, COA Youth participants or their parents may approach and secure a Mentor from among the adults they are familiar with in the Follen Congregation. All applicants will be notified of the assignment outcome; those who will be participating this year will be required to complete an online background check before they meet with their “Mentee”.
General Roles and Responsibilities
The COA Mentor guides their assigned 10th Grade “Mentee” in thinking about their values and beliefs, while building a boundaried, positive, and healthy relationship. Follen’s COA Mentors will:
- Comply with the congregation’s background check program (currently administered through Trusted Employees) and Safety Policies.
- Attend a Mentor Info meeting.
- Be available to participate in and support their Mentee at the Coming of Age Service.
- Participate in the COA gatherings, approximately twice per month on a Monday evening with their Mentee.
- Meet with their Mentee a minimum of once per month outside of the Sunday COA gathering in a public place (while Covid 19 safety concerns exist, we recommend this take place outdoors or on Zoom)
- Participate with their Mentee in scheduled COA retreats or extended social justice projects (dates to be determined, adapted during pandemic)
- Support their Mentee as they write or develop their credo.
- Be able to communicate via email.