Below you can find testimonials about YRUUP’s lasting community and impact from YRUUP Youth, Adult Advisors, and organizations that we work with.
Do you want to share your experience with YRUUP?
YRUUP conferences are so important to me. When you go to a con, you are accepted and loved for exactly who you are. It is such a beautiful place for youth to experience spirituality and friendship together, with people they might not have otherwise met.
The youth leadership part of cons is so important… because it builds confidence and helps youth learn leadership skills. But it is also important because when youth are leaders, everyone is truly an equal at cons, and we are all working as a team to make the experience as great as it can be for everyone.
Cons have (and continue to) change my perspective, attitude, and spiritual practices. I’d love to talk about how great the YRUUP community is for hours and hours, but I’m limited by this short-ish paragraph. So, I’ll only tell you the two most important things that cons have brought into my life.
(1) The people that I’ve met have allowed me to take part in a community where I’ve found some of the strongest, supportive, kind, and caring friendships that I’ve had.
(2) This youth-led program has enabled me to see the world from a leader’s perspective. I believe that all of us have the spark to transform our surroundings simply by having confidence in our abilities. Cons have taught me that.
YRUUP has truly empowered me. Thank you, YRUUP!
I have off and on been an adult adviser at YRUUP events over several years. YRUUP is completely youth led and run and I am always blown away attending their events as I get to stand back and watch the maturity, good judgment and decision making just happen. YRUUP has successfully created a youth culture of respect, kindness and wisdom. I don’t think that’s an easy thing to do. The older youth model and ease the younger kids into leadership roles over time as they attend. I have been there long enough to see this process a few times and it always makes me happy to watch a young person go from an intimidated new, fresh face to in a few years running the meetings, being on council, or planning all the meals and running the kitchen, etc.
The churches I grew up in had summer camps which I attended and enjoyed but always felt like the kids who were helping the adults lead were picked more because of popularity and fitting a certain look or narrow skill set the adults wanted. Every young person is welcome and can step into leadership at YRUUP even if it’s just running a workshop for the weekend to teach others how to play guitar. There is such an awesome mash up of different subcultures at YRUUP. Some youth who are leading are into art and dress like they are at a punk concert while others look like they are at a college interview. It is the least cliquey group of people I have ever seen. It’s amazing and I would have loved at their age to have something like that. My own kids someday will be very encouraged to attend.
The YRUUP community has been life-changing for those that give their time to it. It’s remarkable because I have had the pleasure of attending and being a contributing member of this community for long enough to see it change, and to see the members within it change. At its heart, it is our safe space for religious exploration and for expression, so the community has a tendency to attract people that really need it: the misfits, the worried and the sick, the believers, and everything in between. What strikes me the most is how even new members so quickly pick up the rhythm, as the community is youth run and youth lead, and how quickly it can affect them. I have seen people enter the community shaking and fearful of the world around them, only to exit with this newfound trust in themselves and in their capacity that they use to tackle the world.
All the time we share stories of how the skills we learn in this community contribute to our daily life: the logistical skills, the leadership skills, the social skills, the emotional skills are all things that are so casually yet so firmly embedded in everyone that participates. I can say without a doubt that I have been changed in so many ways by this confident and endearing community and the people in it, and I have made so many incredible life long friends who, even years after I bridged remain some of the closest I have ever had. This community creates artists, politicians, activists, leaders, lovers, and fighters, and the list continues to grow day by day.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City (UUFRC) has a long-standing commitment to serving Unitarian Universalist Youth, and has hosted YRUUP Cons in the past. As Host congregation for the upcoming CON (weekend of 02/13-16), we’ve been particularly attentive to recent changes within YRUUP organizational structure, and proactively working with them through actual and potential concerns.
Over the past months, some concerns have been raised about the history and current organizational structure of YRUUP, particularly relating to safety and accountability. It is always difficult when there are differences in perspective within an organization that we all care deeply about. UUFRC’s Board of Trustees, Director of Religious Education and Minister have held in-depth discussions about these issues, both internally and with YRUUP leadership.
We are convinced YRUUP has been working hard to address these in their carefully-crafted governing and oversight policies, as well as through their responses to questions raised. Their effort is impressive; their policies are comprehensive and thoughtful, as is what we have experienced of their process.
We have received full cooperation regarding UUFRC safety policies, standards and expectations (including those relating to insurance and mandated reporting). We have faith in their commitment to UU principles and values, and all applicable policies and laws.
Derby Davidson, in his capacity as our Director of Religious Education, had already planned to be on-site throughout the CON. This has been the case each time UUFRC has hosted such an event. Derby will be aware of any controversial issues, can contact others in our community if needed, and through his presence, will be an additional Mandatory Reporter (YRUUP already has its own in place). Reverend Stefanie will also be available and attentive over the weekend as a welcome presence at the Friday orientation and for a few hours on Saturday and Sunday.
It’s hard not to be impressed by these young leaders. These Youth have responded to the challenges before them with strong demonstration of UU values in action. It has been a privilege working together to find solutions that support and enhance our shared ministry to Unitarian Universalist Youth.
We are happy to share our conversations. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Jennifer Bahr-Davidson, President, UUFRC Board of Trustees
Reverend Stefanie Etzbach-Dale, Minister
Derby Davidson, Director of Religious Education
I’ve been going to Cons for just over two years. During this the I have been in this community, there have been some major changes, both in the leadership and in the parent organization. But no matter what challenges or obstacles, this community has kept on going on, and I’m so proud to be a part of it.
As someone who’s had special health needs, I feel so welcomed and taken care of here. When my ankle hurt at WUUKY, I was sat down and taken care of, even though I was in a leadership role. The best part of this community is the people. I don’t often feel at ease in a large group, especially of those that society has deemed my peers, but I feel so comfortable here. I consider these people part of my social circle, no matter the distance.
Northern California Unitarian Universalist Camps and Conferences (NCUUCC) is proud to welcome Young Religious Unitarian Universalists of the Pacific (YRUUP) into our nonprofit organization. We are excited to bring our communities together.
NCUUCC is a member of the Council of Unitarian Universalist Camps and Conferences, an affiliate of the Unitarian Universalist Association. We are an all-volunteer organization that oversees camps & conferences offered in Northern California & Nevada throughout the year.
YRUUP (formerly PCD YRUU) is an independent youth-led and adult-advised organization that provides several weekend-long conferences and a week-long camp throughout the year. These conferences are focused on providing a time and place for enriching spiritual experiences for people ages 14-20 in a respectful, open-minded, and safe environment.
We, NCUUCC, are honored to support YRUUP and their vision for youth and young adult empowerment. At all of our camps and conferences, our mission is to:
enhance the growth of each individual, our religious societies, and our presence in the larger community;
nurture the individual spiritually, intellectually, and creatively;
provide positive interaction among people of all ages;
provide experiences that reflect Unitarian Universalist values;
encourage personal and collective responsibility regarding social and environmental issues;
create environments that are genuinely caring and joyful;
Both organizations work from well-established bylaws, policies and procedures, and safe-camp policies to ensure an enriching and safe experience for all. We look forward to growing our collaborative partnership and look forward to creating quality programming for people of all ages together.
Former PCD-YRUU Youth
I grew up feeling out of place. In my family, the area I lived, the religion I was told to be… it just didn’t fit.
My older brother started going to conferences when he was around 15 and about a year later when I was 13, at his insistence, I went to my first con. It’s hard to describe the amalgamation of anxiety, excitement, and confusion I had before and during that first weekend, but the love I felt and friendships that I began to make were what convinced me to go back. I can still remember that weekend so vividly. Every experience was so new, different, and wonderful that each second is ingrained in my memory permanently. However, the next 7 years of memories are mostly muddled together. There are things that still stand out, but after that first weekend, feeling accepted and loved wasn’t new or surprising.
Having this space to be myself, and be loved and accepted just for that, taught me to love myself. It gave me the family I always needed. And it saved my life.
I am grateful to have been a part of this wonderful community. I’m thankful that I am able to give back to this community and support it as it continues to give space to those who need it now.