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GOAL: $4,000 Help send the Valley UU (Chandler, AZ) Coming of Age participants and their advisers on their Heritage Pilgrimage to Boston! UU history will come alive when the class visits Boston’s famous and meaningful sites while exploring their religious roots.
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Valley Unitarian Universalist (Chandler, AZ) Congregation’s traditional Coming of Age youth heritage trip to Boston provides students with a week of history and hands-on experience for lessons that will last a lifetime. For youth whose closest sister congregation is a 45 min drive, imagine the thrill of 3 Unitarian Universalist congregations within walking distance of their hostel!

The Coming of Age program is a rite of passage in the lives of our faith’s teenagers.  The youth participants have made a five-month commitment to exploring their personal beliefs, finding how their beliefs fit within the larger context of Unitarian Universalism’s history.  During the program, and in preparation for the heritage trip, the youth meet regularly to discuss readings and journaling assignments and meet with leaders and mentors. They tackle a wide range of topics including Good & Evil, Unity & Diversity, Rituals, Spiritual Practices, and the afterlife.  They select and carry out both a community service project and a social justice project.  After crafting their own statements of personal belief, their credo, they present a Coming of Age service in late spring.  The year culminates in a class heritage trip to Boston in early summer.  UU history will come alive when the class visits many famous sites.

Unitarian Universalist’s past struggles for justice, reflections on humanity and our environment, decisions regarding ritual, and even choices regarding architecture will become real for our youth in the historic churches, graves, statues and other sites they will visit. We are looking forward to visiting the both the historic 25 Beacon St and the new Farnsworth St. UUA offices, the Boston Tea Party museum, the UU Social Justice offices, walking the Freedom Trail and exploring Kings Chapel’s Bells & Bones tour!

In the words of the Unitarian Universalist Association, “WHY PLAN A PILGRIMAGE? A youth pilgrimage can be a great learning experience for all involved, help in building community, and be fun. A trip to Boston can help to make our liberal heritage a real part of the lives of our youth. They can visit the churches where important events occurred, see the public statues of our heroes, the graves of our forebears, and the office of our presidents. They can also meet the staff at the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), ask questions, and realize that real people are working on behalf of all of us to make Unitarian Universalism a force for good in our society today. Tours and historical sites are not the only ways they will learn on the trip. Experiencing the excitement of new places, talking with friends, learning to respect the boundaries of others when all are tired and hungry, making decisions as a group, and figuring out how to handle yourself away from home are all valuable learning opportunities.”

This year, our students have already raised money through donut sales, painting classes, a Valentine’s Dance-a-Thon, an Italian dinner, and an Easter pancake breakfast. We’re turning to the UU community for help getting this inspiring group to Boston in June 2019.

The students will continue their fundraising efforts through the entire academic year, seeking funding both within their own UU community and from the wider community. The group still needs additional funding to cover travel from Chandler, AZ to Massachusetts and for accommodations for the students and their chaperons.

Won’t you consider helping them meet their goal to get to Boston this summer?

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