Youth of Unity (Y.O.U.) is a dynamic international youth organization and teen ministry designed for high schoolers aged 14 to 18. Our local chapters, based in Unity Centers, gather primarily on Sundays for spiritually enriching sessions, predominantly guided by the teens themselves. These chapters are the backbone of Y.O.U., fostering leadership among teens through engaging lessons, community service initiatives, social gatherings, and participation in both regional and international events.
The essence of Youth of Unity lies in its unique structure - driven by youth leadership with adult sponsors providing mentoring and support. Teens are elected into teams to steer activities at the chapter, regional and international level, creating a roadmap for teens to gain spiritual leadership experience.
Celebrating a centennial legacy, Youth of Unity isn't just part of Unity's history; it's a cornerstone that has significantly contributed to its growth and success.
A special thank you goes out to the Youth of Unity Alumni Network for their research and support of all things YOU!
Youth of Unity, originally Young People’s Christian Unity, was established in 1922 at the inaugural Unity church in Kansas City. A pivotal moment came in 1936 with the first Youth of Unity conference, entirely orchestrated by the youth themselves. These formative years saw many participants, including the renowned Eric Butterworth, choose a path in Unity ministry after their involvement in national conferences.
A notable contribution to Unity’s traditions came in the 1950s from Jill [Last Name], an adult sponsor from California. She introduced the Peace Song at a Y.O.U. Conference, initiating a practice of unity and harmony that has since become a signature conclusion for Unity services.
On the international front, Youth of Unity was honored by the United Nations in 1997 with an award for 'Peace by Piece,' a project that drew teens from various countries to the annual summer conference.
Reflecting on its rich history, Youth of Unity has seen nearly a quarter of a million people engage and participate in its programs, playing a significant role in shaping the Unity movement.
Discover more and connect with generations of impactful stories at the Youth of Unity Alumni Network history page, where you'll find a rich archive of photos spanning decades and in-depth information about our vibrant history and enduring legacy.
Any Unity center or study group associated with Unity Worldwide Ministries is eligible to establish a Youth of Unity (YOU) chapter. To qualify as an active YOU chapter, a group should:
- Operates under the guidance of a Unity member ministry recognized by Unity Worldwide Ministries.
- Participate actively in regional Youth of Unity activities (refer to our links and information below for details).
- Comprise at least one teen member aged between 14 and 18, along with a minimum of one adult sponsor.
- For a comprehensive guide on initiating a YOU chapter, including a detailed checklist, please refer to pages 15-18 of the Teen Ministry Manual. This section offers valuable insights into the process of creating a YOU chapter.
While each region has its own character, they all share a common structure of teen leadership. Teen leaders, elected annually by their peers as regional officers, dedicate a year to planning events and nurturing regional growth.
One of the key highlights in these regions are the 'rallies', weekend events that typically run from Friday evening to Sunday lunch. Our rallies are transformative experiences, where teens lead the way in creating spiritually enriching and fun events that leave a lasting, life-changing impact. These events vary in format and frequency across regions, and some regions even host summer camps for younger children, offering Y.O.U. members opportunities to serve as counselors.
For more information on the unique offerings of each region, including details on your Youth of Unity consultant and other resources, be sure to visit the Regional Resources and Info page.
Discover a treasure trove of resources for regional family groups and small group activities at our comprehensive library, accessible at https://lessons.youthofunity.org/#familygroup
YOU Sponsors come in all shapes, styles, backgrounds and personalities. The one constant is a sincere spiritual commitment to living and practicing Truth principles and a loving desire to serve our youth by engaging them in the learning process. The YOU Code of Ethics outlines the expectations for those serving in the role of YOU Sponsor.
The success of any teen group begins with its leadership team. Benefits of working on a team include:
- Having a range of ideas, personalities and teaching styles
- Greater personal attention for students
- Sharing of responsibilities
- Mutual support
- Sounding boards
- Sacred Safety
Members of the team serve in a variety of spiritual roles that assist in empowering teens to discover their inner Divine self. Leaders wear an assortment of hats, depending on the center's programs, which can include facilitator, teacher, guide, role model, coordinator, communicator, administrator, youth advocate, liaison, ment0r, coach and travel chaperone. Each leader serves as an accepting, non-judgmental, caring adult who listens and supports without trying to solve the teen's problems.
- Youth Director, who is your biggest advocate
- Regional Education Consultants
- UWMs Youth & Family Ministry Coordinator
- Peers - network with other Unity centers and youth volunteers
- Local, regional and national training workshops, retreats and teachers' meetings
- Your personal relationship with God
- Having an understanding of teens is an important aspect of guiding them into leadership.
- YOU is a program that is youth led and adult guided. It is designed to encourage and support the youth in being responsible for their own classroom experiences. The chart Five Stages of Mentoring Leaders provides simple steps to mentoring teens into leadership.
- Other documents on teen leadership development include:
- It is also important to assist the teens in developing the skills needed to successfully facilitate different aspects of the classroom experience.
International Youth of Unity (IYOU) Event
The International Youth of Unity (IYOU) is a program of Unity Worldwide Ministries, under its tax-exempt status and bylaws. All policies and procedures extend only to international-sponsored events. International Youth of Unity honors the unique needs of its regional and individual ministries and does not require that regions and/or church youth programs adhere to these policies in structuring their own programs.
Addition YOU Resources
Welcome to IYOU Chapter X – an innovative platform where teens lead the way in redefining the Youth of Unity experience. Our initiative is at the forefront of spiritual education, offering a series of dynamic video lessons designed to resonate with today’s youth. Each episode, guided by our dedicated teen directors, delves into key spiritual concepts, making them accessible and engaging for a modern audience. Accompanying these episodes are comprehensive Sunday lessons, designed to enrich local Youth of Unity chapters and teens on their individual spiritual journeys.
Our Teen Directors are the heartbeat of IYOU Chapter X. Shout out to Josh, Sahel, Zinnia and Zoe! These inspiring young leaders bring fresh perspectives and vibrant energy to every aspect of the program, from conceptualizing content to leading family group sessions. Their dedication and passion for Unity’s principles shine through in each episode, making spirituality both relatable and inspiring for their peers.
In addition to our video lessons, IYOU Chapter X has fostered a thriving virtual International Youth of Unity community on Discord. This digital hub is a space for connection, growth, and support, where teens from around the globe come together to discuss, share, and deepen their understanding of Unity teachings. It’s more than just a platform; it’s a global family, united in the pursuit of spiritual growth and mutual upliftment. Join us on this exciting journey at IYOU Chapter X, where we’re not just learning about spirituality – we’re living it!
The IYOU Booster Club arose in collaboration with the Youth of Unity Alumni Network, embodying our shared commitment to nurturing and expanding the Youth of Unity. Central to our collective mission, the Booster Club meets monthly to steer the development of Youth of Unity, harnessing the strengths of dedicated teams and enthusiastic volunteers. This partnership effectively addresses the evolving needs and opportunities in today’s Y.O.U. landscape.
Together, we channel our resources, expertise, and passion to ensure that the Youth of Unity continues to flourish, adapting to contemporary challenges while staying true to its core values and vision. The synergy between the IYOU Booster Club and the Alumni Network is not just about sustaining momentum; it's about driving forward, creating new pathways for growth and impact in the Youth of Unity community.
The Youth of Unity Alumni Network, formed in 2013 by alumni who are committed to enriching their lives through connection and collaboration, celebrates the rich history and ongoing legacy of Youth of Unity while striving to rebuild and strengthen the organization for future generations.
At the heart of our network is the comprehensive Youth of Unity history collection, showcasing thousands of pictures, videos, and stories that chronicle more than a century of Youth of Unity. Our history curriculum is now being taught to Unity’s ministerial students, showcasing the profound impact of over a century of Youth of Unity within the Unity movement. This digital archive not only preserves our past but also inspires current and future generations.
Central to our mission is the support and growth of Youth of Unity. We developed the Youth of Unity Booster Club, which takes an active role in fostering the development of Youth of Unity, leveraging the power of direct teams and dedicated volunteers to take on the challenges and opportunities of today’s Y.O.U..
If you have ever attended a Y.O.U. event you are already a member - visit youalumni.com to sign up for our newsletter and connect with us on social media
Teen Ministry Manual
This guide is a combined manual for Uniteens (11-13 years) and Youth of Unity (ages 14-18). It offers information on the unique needs of teens, getting started with teen ministry programs. Resources include information on the mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, psychological developmental stages of teens. Topics include group dynamics, skill building, leadership for teens and adults, Unity teachings, hosting spiritual, social and service events, fundraising and more.
UWM Members! This item is free to members of UWM (ministers and ministries). If you are a credentialed leader or ministry, use the member login for access to free materials. If you need the login, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 816.524.7414.