Next MUUGs Events:
MiSC: Middle School UU Camp at Mendocino Woodlands!
What is MUUGs?
MUUGs stands for "Middle School Unitarian Universalist Gatherings," and it is a district-wide program created to help congregations meet the needs of their middle school youth. MUUGs programming is designed for Unitarian Universalist middle-school youth and most consistent with the needs of 7th and 8th graders. Also welcome are youth in 6th grade, and those in 9th grade who have not bridged to YRUU from MUUGs.
Why is there a need for district-wide programming?
We hope to support our congregations' ministry with youth by offering youth from both small and large congregations an opportunity to meet, connect with, worship and celebrate with other UU youth. An overnight retreat provides an extended period of time in which youth can really let down their barriers and be open to learning about themselves and others. Particularly for our smaller congregations, this additional connection with a larger group of UU youth can help to reinforce many of the values we hope our youth adopt as part of their world view: social responsibility, good decision-making, a life- long search for truth and meaning, self-acceptance, embracing of diversity, as well as a sense of our mutual interconnectedness and interdependence.
In the middle-school years, the most critical role models are often peers and older youth. The MUUG program is designed to capitalize on this by having older youth/young adults serve as positive role models, and by encouraging younger youth to take ownership of the program. Working with the guidance of young adults, the middle school youth learn leadership skills and are provided with
opportunities to put them into action by helping clean and plan meals, co-leading small groups, sharing their unique talents in workshops, helping to lead worship, and co-leading the very retreats that they are attending.
What types of things happen at MUUG retreats?
Many events will be staples of every retreat, and some will be exclusive to particular retreats.
Touch Groups: In many ways, touch groups are the
most important part of a retreat. A touch group is a smaller group, led by an
older youth and/or adult, which meet regularly throughout the weekend, usually
after meals. These groups are designed from the start to build community. It
should be emphasized that the name "touch groups" has absolutely
nothing to do with physical touching. Touch groups aren't about touching bodies;
they're about keeping in touch with each other's experience.
Workshops: These are 60-90 minute long small groups doing activities such as playing or learning music, discussing a topic, learning something physical like a dance or yoga, or playing a game.
Worship: Worship occurs daily and is led by one or two older youth. This is a spiritual activity, often organized circularly, with the chalice in the middle, focused on a communal exploration of shared spiritual experience. Worship will usually include song, readings, and self-reflection, and may be centered on such themes as facing fear, accepting change, or working towards a goal.
All Retreat Activities: At every retreat there will be at least one activity in which the entire community will participate at the same time, in the form of a game, a social action event, or a guest speaker.
Talent Show: This event often happens on the last night of the retreat. This gives youth a chance to show off some talent, be it amusing, beautiful or interesting, in front of a group of loving peers. Unlike many talent shows, however, there are no judges! This opportunity to share of oneself with a non-critical audience is important for this age range.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Dessert will be served on Saturday. At every meal there will be a vegetarian/vegan option, and once a day there will be at least one meat dish served. The youth and young adult advisers will make these meals.
Where do youth sleep at retreats?
These retreats will be held at UU churches, and so youth will be sleeping in rooms provided by the church.