Youth Program (arriving 7th grade-Completed 12th grade)

The Summer Institute youth program provides programming for over one hundred youth in an atmosphere of fellowship in a safe and supportive community. The program is organized by a panel of elected youth and adults working together. Youth also join the entire SI community in afternoon and evening activities which seek to engage them in the wider community. Participants break into daily youth workshops that highlight their diversity and creativity.
Community Organizing 101: How to Get Yourself, Your Friends, and Your Community to Act on Issues You Care About

Theme Speakers: Katie Fry & Sue Lacy, Round River Consulting, LLC

In our many years in the world of community organizing, we have developed principles and tools that can be utilized in your communities to impact your world and create concrete change. We will share those principles and tools, while focusing on two dynamics – the Nature of Power and the Power of Relationships.

All sessions will be interactive. Daily discussion topics will include: Understanding Power, Organizing People, Identifying Issues, and Spiritual Activism & Our UU Principles. A combination of whole group sharing and small group working sessions will be included. Participants will identify issues to organize around, and issue-based groups will work to develop action plans.

Our final day together will include a Call to Action for taking concrete steps to improve your community – with friends and UU youth group members.

This theme workshop will be engaging, enjoyable and provide youth with tools to give back and keep acting!

WeddingSue and Katie are experienced UU youth leaders. They served as COYA Adult Advisors at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron (UUCA) for several years and Katie was the Director of Religious Education at UUCA for two years. Sue was a member of the UUA’s Just Change Consultancy project for two years, advising UU congregations around social change initiatives.

Sue and Katie co-founded Round River Consulting (RRC) in 2002. Their ability to equip leaders, organizations, and communities with the capacity to take effective action on issues that most impact their lives has shaped the firm’s reputation for producing valuable results and more sustainable organizations.  They have worked with a wide range of leaders and organizations including public agencies, non-profit organizations, health systems, faith communities, businesses, public policy and elected officials, and community residents on the development of strategies to address priority community issues.  They have organized hundreds of community- based planning processes and dozens of large-scale meetings that bring community members and policy-makers together to inform decision-making.

Notable accomplishments include engaging Katrina survivors and evacuees in shaping key policy decisions to rebuild their lives, managing a multi-county community health assessment that has provided community-based data to help shape new community initiatives, and launching an award-winning community reading initiative.

Prior to forming RRC, Sue directed a local development corporation, served as constituent services staff for a city councilman, directed a city-wide anti-racism initiative, founded a faith-based community organization that changed the governance structure of Cleveland Public Schools to mayoral control and served on the senior staff of a faith-based community organization as national training director. She is currently coordinating a project in Summit County to strengthen the workforce system so that the right people show up at the right place, with the right skills.

As a professional educator Katie taught in public schools, supervised student teachers, created curriculum for Kent State University and taught in Developmental Education and Upward Bound programs. Through her work as a medical trainer, Katie developed curriculum for community educators and a six-month training program for a medical staff. As Education Director for Mustard Seed Market, she created a cooking school and a community wellness education program.

Touch Groups
The youth program can seem overwhelming sometimes therefore each youth participates in a “touch group”. These youth/adult-led groups encourage youth to share conversation and games and closer friendships with a small crowd and ensure that both youth and adult staff can provide support to each youth throughout the week.

The SI Youth Program creates an environment of safety that fosters youth independence and accountability. A panel of youth and adult leadership manage situations that arise with empathy and confidentiality. Parents and sponsors are notified during the process. Youth staff are committed to providing a safe and healthy community and regularly reexamine policies and procedures. Expectations of youth for the week include no sex, no abuse or violence, and no substance use. Respect for others and their property is also part of our covenant to one other. Youth check in 2x daily with staff and are expected to check in with parents/sponsors as well. Supervised youth hangouts during non-programming time are provided. Junior Highers are escorted by youth leaders from evening activities to their dorms. If a parent or sponsor also rooms there, older youth (10th-12th grade) may stay in the “Youth-Focused Dorm”.