Re-Imagining How UUCR Serves Families and Children – A First Report

Prior to Covid, UUCR had consistent Religious Exploration (RE) opportunities for children. While our RE program was small, with the loving energy of Pat Bjorke and others, the outreach to families and children was always there. 
Then came Covid. Then came Covid protocols. Children’s vaccines were available much later than those for adults. Through this all, families juggled altered school and work routines. Early in the pandemic UUCR tried some children’s online and other programming, but the reality was everyone was just too wiped out to engage, and this past year UUCR did not have regular programming for families and children. These have been hard, unprecedented years, especially for families. 
For 2022-23, UUCR is committed to boldly re-imagining ways to serve children and families as a top priority. The Board has asked me to lead a Children and Family Task Force to consider what might fit for families in our current world.
We’ll be starting with questions. What is going on for those parenting children and youth today? What do they see as questions their children will face over the next 5-10 years? What might be ours to do at UUCR to engage families who are trying to make sense of a complex world?
As we look at these broader questions (it will take time!), beginning on September 11 we will start offering what we are calling, “Childcare and Age-Appropriate Activities” during the Sunday service. This will be volunteer led and will be a “go with the flow” approach. The volunteer will have available several simple activity packets (covering different age ranges), books, and craft supplies to use as they see fit. Activities could include outdoor play and generally there will be a snack available. For September our volunteers will be Jackie Mathwich (Sept 11), Kim Agee (Sept 18), and MQ Riding (Sept 25). While at some point we can imagine having a more robust curriculum-based RE program, for September we just aren’t there yet and don’t want to over promise. This is our start.
We’ll be reaching out to everyone in the congregation to get your thoughts and perspectives. What are you hearing from families and children in your networks? Please share with me any thoughts you have at any time. 
In connection and patience,

Rev. Sue