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 ground our youth in the history and structure of the Unitarian Universalist Association and of our congregation, and show them how Unitarian Universalism fits into the larger context of all spiritual traditions celebrated by humankind. 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 2021 Coming of Age Program will run from January – May. Our COA Advisors will lead 1.5 hour sessions on Zoom twice per month for youth participants and their designated Mentors. The program will culminate in a church service on May 23, when the youth will present their Credo Statements, and be affirmed with blessings from the congregation.

Coming of Age, for tenth graders, is a journey with friends new and long-term, a way of exploring how Unitarian Universalism impacts and blesses our lives.

Are you considering the role of a Coming of Age Mentor at Follen? Here’s what you need to know!

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 meeting with a mentor, studying the history of our liberal faith and, most importantly, creating a statement of beliefs to share with their congregation.

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.

How Does One Become a Coming of Age Mentor?

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. All applicants will be notified of the assignment outcome.

General Roles and Responsibilities

The COA Mentor guides their 10th Grade “Mentees” 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 once per month on a Sunday afternoon with their Mentee.
  • Meet with their Mentee a minimum of once per month outside of the Sunday COA gathering in a public place
  • Participate with their Mentee in one day-long COA retreat in the Fall, and one overnight retreat in February or March. (dates to be determined, adapted during pandemic)
  • Support their Mentee as they write or develop their credo.
  • Be able to communicate via email.

Interested? Please complete the COA Mentor Application and return by email to Beryl Aschenberg, our DRE, by December 27.