Affirmation: 8th Grade
Offered at 10:00AM, except for full morning programs. Starts in the Classroom, expect for special services.
The Affirmation program is our Coming of Age program. A devoted team of teachers and chaperones work closely with the 8th grader as they partake in all that the year encompasses. Students are invited to explore their own faith and values and identity as Unitarian Universalists. They will study our history, and understand the cultural context that the UU faith grew from as well as what it contributed to society. In a process that encourages independent thinking and exploring values and identity, students will articulate their faith and values, their understanding of Unitarian Universalism, and their relationship to the North Shore Unitarian Church community.
The Affirmation year is an intense year for our students and requires a higher level of family participation. The Affirmation program is open to 8th graders and it is recommended that students complete the 7th Grade World Religion program at NSUC before enrolling in the Affirmation program.
In addition to the weekly Sunday classes, affirmants will participate in the following programs and events. (OWL is elective and a fee is charged to those who choose to participate.) Events and trips are self-funded by the Affirmation families. Expenses for the chaperones are funded by the Affirmant families as well.
- Affirmation Opening and Closing Events
We start the year with a special Affirmation Opening Ceremony at Sunday Service which includes an introduction of the Affirmants and their mentors to the congregation. In May we close the year with a special dinner and ceremony, followed by a Sunday service where students share their faith statements with the congregation.
- Camp Duncan Weekend
An overnight camp which includes team building, camp fire sharing, getting to know each other – Affirmants and teachers – better while having fun.
- Mentor Program
Each Affirmant is matched with a mentor, an adult member of our congregation. The Affirmant and the mentor work together throughout the year on various projects and programs related to Affirmation. Mentors and Affirmants often form a bond which stays long after the program is over.
- Affirmation Service Project
Affirmants, assisted by their mentor, design and volunteer for a service project that explores and reflects their faith, values and how it is related to Unitarian Universalism. Each mentee/mentor team presents their project to their fellow Affirmants, mentors, and families. The presentations are later on display to the congregation.
- Our Whole Life (OWL) – elective program
“Our Whole Lives helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. Grounded in a holistic view of sexuality, Our Whole Lives not only provides facts about anatomy and human development, but also helps participants clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality.”
The program is taught by trained OWL facilitators. The eleven week program is elective and requires a fee. Parents must grant permission and attend a parent-information meeting. The program starts in January and runs until mid-March on Sunday afternoons, from 2PM-4PM.
- Heritage Trip to Boston
In the spring the Affirmation class (with its teachers and chaperones) will travel to Boston for an intensive long weekend. As they walk the cobblestone streets of Boston they will explore our history and the people who made it happen, and learn more about Unitarian Universalism and social activism. They will visit Harvard University and the places where Emerson and Thoreau discussed, reflected and wrote on the matters of life. Boston is where both American Unitarianism and American Universalism developed, and the class will stop at UUA headquarters. Families are involved in the fundraising of the trip, such as hosting a Pancake Breakfast and other events.
- Statement of Faith
Each student -- with the support of their mentor, families, teachers, and the Director of Religious Education – will write their statement of faith that is shared with the congregation on Affirmation Sunday in May. A draft is written before the Boston visit and is finalized after the trip. We have often found that the Boston trip changes and deepens the student’s faith, sense of UU identity, and ability to articulate their values and beliefs. Affirmation Sunday is the culmination of the Affirmation year and is always celebrated before a packed sanctuary.