Coming of Age

Coming of Age program description

The UU Church of Palo Alto (UUCPA) will be offering the popular Coming of Age program in 2017-2018 for youth entering grades 8-9 in the fall.

The goal of our Coming of Age program is to help young people sort out their ethical and religious identity (recognizing that some young people do not feel religious at all), so that they may make rational decisions about the kind of person they want to become.

We have three objectives that help us reach this broad goal:

  • (1) We want participants to have fun, and to bond with a community of young people who share similar moral and spiritual values.
  • (2) We want participants to articulate their own ethical and religious identity, to gain a deeper sense of identity and to present that identity through the arts, spoken word, etc.
  • (3) We want participants to engage in direct action, including social justice projects and the arts, so they can experience living out their religious and ethical values in the world.

We will help young people meet these three objectives through five types of fun activities:

  • (A) Participants will have fifteen regular meetings as a group to get to know each other, have fun, and reflect on religion and ethics. Most of the meetings will be on Sunday morning from 11:00-12:15; a schedule will be avialable at the family meeting. There will also be five optional fun sessions devoted socializing and to making a fun project, life-size plywood self-portraits (this is your chance to learn how to use power tools!). Participants should attend an absolute minimum of 12 of the 14 regular meetings.
  • (B) Participants will participate in a 4-5 hours of social justice work. To make this easy for youth, the Coming of Age program will cook and serve dinner to the Hotel de Zink homeless shelter on Sat., Sept. 9, from 6-10 p.m. Whether serving dinner for Hotel de Zink or other social justice project approved by the ministers, participants must complete a minimum of four hours of social justice work.
  • (C) Participants will meet with an adult mentor of their choice, responsible adults from the congregation who can help them reflect on their identities. We will help families find appropriate adults from whom they can choose a mentor who will be a good match. Participants meet with mentors six times from January through May.
  • (D) Participants will write a “credo statement” setting forth their ethical and religious identity as it stands now. These statements are usually about 500-700 words long. Mentors help youth to write their credos. You can read the Coming of Age credos from 2007 online here. (Additional sample credos will be handed out at the credo-writing sessions.)
  • (E) Participants will lead the services here at UUCPA on Sunday, May 20, 2018 (at both the 9:30 and 11:00 services). They will present their “credo statements” during this service. After the services, participants attend a closing celebration with a potluck lunch; parents and family members, as well as mentors, are encouraged to attend to the closing celebration. Participants must be present at both services, and at the lunch afterwards.

Youth say that the Coming of Age program is both fun and meaningful. The program will help them grow in self-knowledge, it will allow them to spend time with youth and adults who share similar values, and it provides additional strong adult role models at a time in life when that’s what many young people are looking for.

The complete curriculum is online here.

If you have any questions, or would like to sign up for this program, contact Dan Harper.



All group meetings take place at UUCPA, Sun. from 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., except where noted (in bold). The order of some of the sessions may change, but the dates of class sessions and field trips will remain the same.

August 26, 11 a.m. – 12:15
Youth and parents meet with the minister of religious education to go over the calendar for Coming of Age, and ask any questions about the program. Meeting is scheduled for Room A (if there are too many people, we will head outside to the covered patio).


November through April, self-scheduled
In addition to the group meetings, participants will arrange to meet on their own with their mentors at least six times from January through May. Mentor meetings are an excellent time for youth to work on their “credo” statements, their statements of who they are as religious and/or ethical persons. It is possible for youth to complete their credo statements during mentor meetings, without any additional time commitment. (Note that Coming of Age graduates tell us that the mentor meetings can be the best part of the program, and they may wish to meet more frequently.) Click here for mentor information.


Coming of Age Calendar, 2017-2018

Aug. 26, 11 a.m. — Family meeting

Sat., Sept. 15, 6-10 p.m. — Serve dinner to Hotel de Zink at UUCPA

Oct. 21, 11 a.m. — Begin plywood sculptures
Nov. 11, 11 a.m. — Work on plywood sculptures
Nov. 25, 11 a.m. — Work on plywood scultures
Dec. 16, 11 a.m. — Coming of Age session 1
Jan. 6, 11 a.m. — Coming of Age session 2
Jan. 13, 11 a.m. — Work on plywood sculptures
Jan. 20, 11 a.m. — Coming of Age session 3
Jan. 27, 11 a.m. — Coming of Age session 4
Feb. 3, 11 a.m. — Coming of Age session 5
Feb. 10, 11 a.m. — Coming of Age session 6
Feb. 17 — NO session
Feb. 24, 11 a.m. — Coming of Age session 7
Mar. 3, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 — Field trip to Asian Art Museum
Mar. 10, 11 a.m. — Coming of Age session 8
Mar. 17, 11 a.m. — Coming of Age session 9
Mar. 24, 11 a.m. — Coming of Age session 10
Mar. 31, 11 a.m. — Finish plywood sculptures
Apr. 7, 11 a.m. — Coming of Age session 11
Apr. 14, 11 a.m. — Coming of Age session 12
April 21 — NO session
Apr. 28, 11 a.m. to 12:45 — Coming of Age session 13
May 6, 12:30-2 p.m. — Coming of Age session 14, rehearsal
May 12 — NO session
May 19, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. — Lead both services, have lunch afterwards

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