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Cons and Events

Youth conferences are a huge part of the Unitarian Universalist youth experience. They’re spaces where teens come together (with adult supervision, of course) to build a community, even just for a weekend, that is radically inclusive, spiritually deepening, and overflowing with joy. Typically, a youth con is run by a team of youth and adults working together, and hosted at a congregation, where the teens spend 1-3 nights. For many teens, the friendships they create at con stay with them for years. Though we only return to these temporary little communities a few times a year, they can be an immensely important experience for youth, who carry the support of con culture into their everyday lives.

If you see any of our UCV youth with a rainbow yarn bracelet, ask them if it’s from a recent con – it might be that it’s their talisman they brought home, a reminder of all the midnight snacks, 100-round games of wink, and genuine connections they shared.

Where? When? And what do you do?

Youth cons are divided into “working cons,” where youth gather to learn about a particular topic or enact a particular project, and regular cons. Every few years we send a group to New York to attend the Spring seminar of the UU Office at the United Nations every April, which is a working con. This past year’s theme was “Demilitarization & Abolition: Resist Policing and Empire.” Other working cons are generally put on by individual youth groups and congregations, and don’t recur every year. UCV’s youth group ran a working con to pilot the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation Reflection Guide in February of 2020.

Regular cons, or “social cons,” have a theme and workshops like a working con, but the schedule is much looser and the activities mostly are just for fun – even worship! The biggest one on our calendar is CanUUdle, the national conference for UU youth. It happens every May long weekend, which means that every second year it coincides with the adult UU conference and AGM. UCV also used to send youth to our tiny little BC Regional Fall Gathering conference in October, which we often hosted, and the massive Pacific Northwest District Spring (April) and Fall (October) cons in Washington and Oregon. In the pandemic, these have changed drastically, and may not come back. However, UCV youth managed to host a pretty cool version of the old BC Fall con this year – let’s see if we can keep it up!

Conferences require a lot of support from adults, as chaperones, fundraising helpers, kitchen coordinators, and more. If you would like to get involved as a youth or adult please contact Olivia or Kiersten, or use the form below.