Teens to Tackle Human Rights at this Year's YES Conference
AEU Religious Education Committee Chair
This year's Youth of Ethical Societies (YES) Conference takes our teens to the beautiful Frost Valley Camp in New York to discuss the question "Instinctive Human Rights: What are we entitled to?" Every year, 40-50 teens from Ethical Societies around the country gather to discuss the issues facing their generation during a weekend of insight and growth as they share ideas and suggest real-life applications for real-world issues.
Fewer than half of the country's Ethical Societies have strong, thriving Sunday Schools. Only a handful of those have structured youth groups for their teen students. Some youth groups meet weekly, others monthly. The annual YES Conference is a very special opportunity for these teenagers to meet other similarly-minded teens and discuss issues that are relevant in their world. Through discussion, games, and leadership opportunities, friendships are forged and leaders born. It's a sight to behold.
The Conference rotates between New York, D.C., and St. Louis. Our pre-conference overnight, Thursday November 10, will be held at the historical New York Society for Ethical Culture. Having NYSEC as host is such a gift; it's a powerful moment when the teens realize that Felix Adler, himself, stood on that stage in the early years of the Ethical Culture Movement. We'll go into New York City on Friday, November 11th for a little sight-seeing, including a visit to the new September 11 Memorial, before officially beginning conference activities that evening at Frost Valley. The weekend's activities will include community service recognition, ceremonies, long-held traditions, large- and small-group discussions, FES speakers, delicious meals, and exciting memories!
Participants need not be involved in an established youth group to be able to attend. Registration materials can be accessed through the American Ethical Union's website or directly from Trish Cowan, AEU YES Advisor (trishhotze[at]sbcglobal.net or 636-225-2594). Registration is due by October 21; please register now!
Conference Planners (officers), 2011 YES Conference:
Dan Harding, President (Long Island); Sammi Unangst, Vice President (St. Louis); Sharalyn Fields, Secretary (St. Louis); and Annika Schneider, Treasurer (Northern Westchester) and Society Reps.An invitation to support YES from Treasurer, Annika Schneider:
In my life the Ethical Society has played a major role in shaping the
person I have become today, and I am certain that those in my YES group
would say the same. The core values have always been there to guide me.
As a member of this community, I believe those who have gone beyond
using the core values as guidance and are living them, by taking ethics
as their religion and by fully becoming part of the community, deserve
to be rewarded. Therefore, the YES organizers have come up with the idea
for a scholarship to reward an individual who has been an outstanding
member of the community and deserves special recognition.
This scholarship would be directed towards a member of YES who has shown
exemplary dedication towards the community through notable service.
This scholarship would ameliorate the steep college expenses for this
individual. To help recognize such a dedicated person, we ask for a
donation to applaud such commitment. With a donation you will support a
young adult living Felix Adler's leitmotif: "Act so as to elicit the
best in others and thereby in thyself."
Donations can be sent to: AEU, 2 West 64th Street, New York, NY 10023,
attn: YES Ethical Action Scholarship. If you are interested in donating
to this scholarship fund, or have any questions about its purpose,
please contact Trish Cowan at trishhotze[at]sbcglobal.net or