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Do you know an amazing youth leader? Tell them about Summer Seminary 2014, a new program for Unitarian Universalist youth exploring the possibility of becoming a religious professional. Focusing on ordained ministry and religious education, the program offers youth the opportunity to explore their call to ministry in all its forms, learn about life as a religious professional, and connect with other youth considering ministry, religious education, music leadership, social justice and other religious professional career paths.
Summer Seminary 2014 will take place July 30-August 4, 2014 in Chicago, IL, hosted by Meadville Lombard Theological School.  It is open to those who were in grades 10-12 (or the equivalent for home-schooled youth) for the 2013-2014 school year.
View and share the Summer Seminary 2014 video and encourage youth you know to apply. 
 
More information is available at www.uua.org/summerseminary.  Applications are due March 15, 2014, scholarships are available.

Nancy Combs-MorganI am so pleased that many congregational leaders in MidAmerica have stepped up to be fully engaged in youth ministry for our entire region. In my regional work, I am so proud to be working with youth and adult leaders who are actively planning to provide a wide array of youth ministry events in 2013-2014 program year. In the Heartland area, we now have a Heartland Area Youth Council, with 9 youth and adult leaders that are organizing youth cons and trainings. In the Central Midwest area, there are a group of committed leaders who are in the process of organizing a Northern Area Youth Council and Southern Area Youth Council, who will be the point people for working with congregations who wish to host a fall or spring con. Thanks to the inspiring leaders of the new MidAmerica Youth Advisor Network (MAYAN), there are advisors who will be serving on these youth area councils to make sure that all of the youth ministry events are of excellent quality and following the highest standards for safety. MAYAN is the new professional association for adult congregational leaders in youth ministry, and will primarily serve to provide support and trainings for youth advisors, youth coordinators, and religious educators (MAYAN will not be the group who actually plan and/or provides youth conferences). Two talented leaders from the Prairie Star area, Ben Wallace, from 1st UU in Omaha, NE, and Sara Karbeling, from 1st UU in Des Moines are also serving on the new MAYAN board. Sara, and the Des Moines youth group, will be hosting their annual youth conference, DEF CON, on Nov. 22-24. Also, in the Prairie Star area, Jill Schwendeman, and the youth from White Bear congregation in Minnesota, are in the process of planning a youth conference in May. For the Central Midwest area there will be a northern Fall Con, Cobalt Nitrate Youth Con, in Rockford, IL, Nov. 15-17, and a southern Fall Con, Space Time CONtinUUm, in Peoria, IL, Nov. 8-10. There are two youth training events on the horizon, a Chaplaincy Training Con, on Oct. 11-13, in W. Lafayette, IN, and a Spirituality Development Conference, on Nov. 15-17 in Dayton, OH. Also, thanks to the leaders in our Michigan congregations there will be a Middle School retreat in southeastern Michigan, Mystic Lake Retreat, Oct. 11-13. Just in case you wanted to find out about more transformative youth events, there will also be the annual Fall conference in the Heartland area, CONtagious, in Indianapolis, on Nov. 1-3!

So, you can see that there is a rich array of wonderful youth ministry events on the calendar for MidAmerica, and I hope to report back soon on the emergence of our MidAmerica Youth Ministry Advisory Group, who will have leaders from the respective area youth councils reporting on youth ministry in their areas. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact me: ncombsmorgan@uua.org