Here at First United, we value youth as full members of our church family. To engage them in the life of our community we offer opportunities and experiences of fellowship, exploration, connection, and service through the following programs:
Youth of all ages are welcome and invited to participate in Sunday worship every week. Worship is 11 a.m. to noon during the program year and 10-11 a.m. during the summer.
Quest (Confirmation for 9th graders)
This year we will be taking a new approach to Quest! We will meet semi-regularly on Sunday mornings from 9:15-10:45 a.m. Throughout the year we will explore our BIG faith questions, we will worship, we will serve, we will have doubts, and we will discern what it means to be a disciple and whether or not we want to be a member of this church. Faith is a lifelong journey, one that you need never walk alone, and Quest is just one chapter of that journey. Alongside each of our confirmands on this journey is a Friend in Faith, an adult member of the congregation paired with a youth to be a mentor during this process. For information about Quest, the role of a Friend in Faith, or to enroll in Quest or to become a Friend in Faith, contact Alicia Reese (email@example.com), 708-386-5215 (ext. 104).
Youth Church School teachers, 10th-12th grade
Senior high youth who have completed Quest are welcome and eligible to teach Church School themselves. Contact Lydia Mulkey, Associate Pastor of Education (firstname.lastname@example.org), 708-386-5215 (ext. 103).
Youth group: First United Junior Highs
All 7th- and 8th-grade youth are invited to join us each Sunday evening from 6-8 p.m. Together we share a meal and participate in activities that foster fellowship and connection, allow for learning and exploration, and offer opportunities for service. For more information, contact Alicia Reese, Pastoral Associate, Youth and Congregational Care (email@example.com), 708-386-5215 (ext. 104).
All 9th through 12th graders are invited to join us each Sunday evening from 6-8 p.m. We are in the process of trying some new things this coming program year and we would love for you to join us! Together we share a meal and participate in activities that foster fellowship and connection, allow for learning and exploration, and offer opportunities for service. This youth group also offers opportunities for youth to gain leadership skills as they assist in the planning and execution of programming through the position of youth moderators and the role of youth board. The group’s next project is baking and selling Christmas cookies. All orders are due by Sunday, Nov. 24. Pick-up will be Sunday, Dec. 8, when extra cookies will be available for sale. You can use the form at this link to order cookies. For more information, contact Alicia Reese (firstname.lastname@example.org), 708-386-5215 (ext. 104).
O.W.L. is a comprehensive sexuality education program that First United offers to 7th and 8th graders at a lock-in in November. O.W.L. offers honest, accurate information about sexuality changes; dismantles stereotypes and assumptions; builds self-acceptance and self-esteem; fosters healthy relationships; improves decision-making; and has the potential to save lives. The program recognizes and respects the diversity of participants with respect to biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and disability status. The activities and language have been carefully chosen to be as inclusive as possible of this human diversity. The next date for an O.W.L lock-in for 7th and 8th graders is Saturday, Nov. 16. For more information on O.W.L., contact Alicia Reese (email@example.com), 708-386-5215 (ext. 104).
While junior and senior highs are always welcome and involved in worship, there is one Sunday a year when they run the whole show! They make the decisions, from choosing or playing hymns and music, to telling Bible stories, to working with children during Time for Sharing, to delivering sermons. What will they do next year? Youth Sunday always stretches the imagination to offer the congregation a new way of looking at worship.
Calling all high school youth! Next summer we will embark on a week of service to an undecided location! We might be serving at soup kitchens or food pantries, learning about food insecurity, working with folks experiencing homelessness or building homes, or learning about systemic injustice. This is an opportunity that combines fellowship, exploration, and connection through service. Whether you are active in our youth group, or as a church-school teacher or neither, please join us for this new mission experience! We are also looking for adult leaders to participate in this trip. If you are an adult in the First United community, called to live out your discipleship through action and service, please consider this opportunity!
Other Youth Ministry Opportunities
Do you have ideas for other ways we can do youth ministry? To share your thoughts and ideas, contact Alicia Reese (firstname.lastname@example.org), 708-386-5215 (ext. 104).
FUJI and FUSH resources
Want to learn more about activities and future plans in FUSH and FUJI? Check out our blog and see what’s on the calendar!
Two Boy Scout troops meet regularly at First United. Boy Scout Troop 16, a troop for boys in 5th through 12th grades, celebrated 100 years of its continuous church charter in 2016. Troop 16 meets most Friday nights during the school year and camps once a month year-round. Cub Scout Pack 16, for boys in 1st through 5th grades, was chartered by church members in 2014 and meets most Monday nights. As an Open and Affirming congregation, First United highly values the partnership the units have with Scouts for Equality, a national organization founded to advocate for intentionally inclusive Scouting in all forms, including LGBTQ, faith choice, nationality, or financial resources. We believe in Scouting for all! More information about both troops is available online: Boy Scout Troop 16 (http://www.troop16oakpark.com); and Cub Scout Pack 16 (https://pack16oakpark.org/).