Category: Children

News related to children (younger than high school age)

Rise For Climate-International Day of Action

What:  Rise for Climate is organized world wide by .

When:  September 8, 2018.  

Where:  Different events at different venues.  Go to the link above and type in your city for local events or check out the following events:

  1. At UCV, faith leaders and community from Metro Vancouver will gather for a meaningful, multicultural dialogue on the power of ‘spiritual activism’ to engender global peace, sustainability and harmony in the face of an uncertain future. Sat. Sept 8, 9:30am,-3:30pm.

2) Burnaby: BROKE will have music, speakers, graphics on “Suffering Salmon” in streams on Burnaby Mountain at the Watch House , Sat. Sept 8, 11am-3pm.

3) Downtown Vancouver:  Climate Convergence and UBCC350  are organizing a rally and march at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Sat. Sept. 8, 4 pm

Why:  We need people to step up and let leaders know what we are already doing to prevent climate catastrophe.  The Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, Sept. 12-14 needs to hear from the grass roots: us.  We need to join forces to fight the Kinder Morgan / Trudeau Pipeline Expansion (TMX). “ 

Who:  Everyone who cares about the impacts of Global Warming.

How: RSVP and show up!

Harry Potter’s World at UCV

Magic Arrives…

Harry Potter Camp at Vancouver Unitarian campus was a huge success this summer. How do I know? Mainly because the kids were talking about “next year at Hogwarts” at the end of day one and were still talking about it at the end of the week. They also arrived each day with smiles and excitement bubbling up and together built a real sense of community. They worked through conflict and resolution as well as through games, classes, and creativity.

Sorting Ceremony

We had 20 attendees who came from the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, North Shore Unitarian, and others who were drawn to the “Hogwarts” page on the website. New friendships were formed, and old friendships strengthened.

Theatre in Action

We approached the camp with the intent to create an immersive theatrical experience for the kids from which they could explore real, pertinent, issues and develop their own power, abilities, and agency. The kids reveled in the opportunity to let their imagination of the Hogwarts world come to life, being sorted into Houses, the decoration of the Great Hall, and the re-naming of rooms—Dormitory of Democracy, Room of Retirement, Chamber of Choice. They were initiated into a chapter of Dumbledore’s Army and, through dotmocracy, chose to focus on fighting the Horcrux of Waste. The theme of how to approach zero waste will be carried through our Sunday activities this fall.

Herbology, Prof. Kiersten

Shape of the Week

Classes were held throughout the week, taught by both our local UCV Professors and local Guests:

Herbology—with Professor Kiersten, exploring the UCV gardens and grounds for “magical” medicinal plants and creating a healing salve from plantain and calendula with olive oil and beeswax.

Potions—with Professor Jannika, creating a Cold-Away Potion from echinacea and an Elixir of Euphoria from Orange Blossom Essential Oil.

Potions with Prof. Jannika

Charms—with Professor Douglas, exploring acting skills through Professor Douglas’ own charms: Interiofocus (stilling the mind and focusing inward), Accion (finding personal power in action), and Connectisaurus (connecting with another person and working together).

Special Guests

Quidditch—with guest Quidditch players and Kidditch instructors from the Vancouver Vipers Quidditch Team.

Defense Against the Dark Arts—with guest artist and actress Professor Bailey, exploring how to face our fears through humour using poetry and spoken word.

Charms lesson with Prof. Douglas

Two Guest theatre artists turned the ground floor of Hewett Centre into Diagon Alley and made appearances as familiar ghosts Moaning Myrtle and Nearly Headless Nick. Together they delved into the complexity of what to do when public art lifts up one culture and ignores oppressions.

Patronus Workshop—with Professor McGonagall, exploring core aspects of their personality and identifying a strength of their own that brings something positive into the world.


The week ended with a Feast and Sharing with family and friends of all that they had been doing and learning—including spells, skits, games, and a haunted house of their own creation.



Herbology at Hogwarts’ Summer Camp

Among the activities the kids did who attended our first annual Hogwarts’ Summer Camp was a course in Herbology. All four houses made an echinacea tincture using plants from our garden, apple cider vinegar and mason jars.  It’s “cooking” as we speak.

They also learned about medicinal “magical” uses of many of the herbs, flowers, and “weeds” in the garden.  They made a salve from plantain leaves and calendula flowers using olive oil and beeswax.

Huge success overall. From the first day on, the kids were planning the second annual camp!

Abundance in the Vegetable Gardens

Those of us who tend a veggie plot on the north side of Hewett Hall are enjoying the produce–and enjoying sharing the abundance with others.

Two of our young families took over a plot (38″ square). Here are Jeonga, Goan and Haram with their first vegetable garden. They’re amazed at what’s come up including the tomato plant they didn’t plant! I love introducing people to gardening.

Photos: Mary Bennett with Goan and Haram in front of their plot.

Jeonga, Goan and Haram all pointing to their favorite vegetable

There is (at least) one more plot available for one of our families. Just send me a note or approach me on Sunday about it if your family would like to garden at UCV. It’s not too late to plant spinach–and some plants bought as starters!

You can do it–we can help.

  • Mary Bennett


Mystery Pals Magic

May 6th dawned bright and warm. I felt a flutter of nervous excitement carrying armfuls of flowers to church, an unusual three block walk to get across the marathon using 49th street. This was the culmination of Vancouver Unitarians first experience with the UU Mystery Pal letter exchange tradition and I wanted to create a beautiful backdrop for it to unfold.

Twelve pairs ranging in age from 4 to 80 were matched up by at least one common interest and had spent the month of April exchanging letters, drawings, and emails not knowing the identity of their pen pal. As the orchestrater of the exchange I had the pleasure of hearing the excitement and curiosity as pals discovered their letters each week. I heard from parents how much their children were enjoying the exchange and from adults having fun comparing notes on how fascinating, bright, and fantastic their pals were. Everyone tried to guess who exactly their pal was of course. My own four-year-old wasn’t sure he wanted to participate because it would be scary to sit at a party with someone he didn’t know. He didn’t want to be left out though so I told him I would sit with him at the party.  As it turns out…

The day of the Big Reveal.

I had tables set aside in the Hall Annex with flowers, fruit, and snacks that pals brought to share. Place settings were marked with the famous Unitarian Universalists that each pair had been connected through—find your famous UU, find your pal, eat and talk together. After the whole congregation worship service, “The Work We Do”, let out Pals started to find their place and find each other. My four-year-old who was sure he wanted me to sit with him? He chatted easily with his Pal for more than half-an-hour; a month of writing letters had taken away the layer of strangeness that he would usually feel with an adult not in the family.

I looked around at the smiles, conversation, and earnest engagement unfolding and found it nothing short of magical. I’m sure some Pals will stay connected more than others, but everyone found a new friend at church. The length of time Pals spent together that morning showed real, meaningful, personal connections were made during a time we often talk to the same people within our age or interest cohort each Sunday.

For all those who missed participating this time around, we will do it again next year!

Earth Day Service a success

The 2018 Earth Day Service was put on by the Environment Committee today. Guest speaker Aline Laflamme gave a moving, insightful sermon titled “All My Relations”. She spoke of the Indigenous view of what “relations” means as well as the responsibility that comes along with being part of a family that consists of all that is living and non-living in the world. The Daughters of the Drum performed Indigenous songs of thanks and prayer and, just to change things up a bit, rather than being read to, the Coming of Age kids read the Story for All Ages to the congregation!

Aline LaFlamme explaining how the drum is a circle that represents the interconnection of all Our Relations, all that is living and non-living in our world.
Daughters of the Drum
The Coming of Age kids reading the All Ages Story to the younger kids and the congregation!


Mystery Pals – Make a New Friend at Church

Make a Friend at Church

create connections across generations!

The mystery only lasts a little while, but the friendship can be much longer.

Sign-up to be a Pal to someone older or younger than yourself—we would love to have everyone involved and will match any pair from different generations (roughly 20 years apart). To facilitate anonymity, each pair will be identified by a famous Unitarian with a corresponding “mailbox” envelope in the Hewett Centre Hall.

Celebrate May 6th after the service with a Mystery Reveal Party.


Kids Will Take Over UCV

Kids Takeover Arts Festival Coming to UCV

Our first event will be June 24th.

Learn to play Phroagh Frog with CoA kids

Make an ATC (Artist Trading Card) of a chalice (and then trade).

Participate in a free-wheeling discussion about the kids takeover in various groups. Be a bee or a butterfly–flit from one table to another or land on a topic and hang out there.

Hosts at each table will encourage brainstorming around: what would it look like if kids took over:

  • Buildings and Grounds
  • Sunday morning
  • Dinners and lunches at UCV (Messy church plus)
  • What would the ground rules be?

Send suggested topics to the Kids Takeover Team or show up with your topic.

We have a budget for art supplies and desert. Is there someone who could arrange the pie and ice cream for 1:20pm?

More about Kids Take Over

Inspired by Kids Takeover UBC (who in turn were inspired by Britain’s Arts and Culture Kids Takeover), I am starting an initiative (with Arts Committee support) to plan an Arts Festival for next fall or the following spring (depending on interest and offers from other UCVers).

Liam attended the Kids Takeover UBC event with his family.

There’s a great start for a committee: Liam and Noella two of our coming-of-agers have joined up.

Looking for a young adult and a parent/guardian of one or more babies (to represent their babies).

Mary Bennett, instigator and co-conspirator

Contact me if you have ideas or would like to join the team planning this event. I’ll pass ideas along to our team.

You’re probably wondering whether “takeover” is one word or two: The answer is both.  Takeover is a noun; take over is the verb.

Are you a kid?

What would you like to take over at UCV?

  • Lunches?
  • “coffee” hour?
  • the Sunday service?
  • Book Group?
  • Forum?
  • Gardens?
  • Sidewalks?
  • Website?
  • Signs?

Tell us! We want to hear! We could create a Kids Manifesto.

Some photos of Kids Takeover UBC from their facebook page

Here’s some of their description:

For too long, UBC has been run by adults. It’s time for kids to rule at this fun-filled arts festival for kids and families.
Celebrate Family Day weekend by bringing your entire family to UBC on Sunday, February 11 from 10am to 5pm for a day where kids and youth will be given meaningful roles, working alongside staff and volunteers to participate in the life of arts and culture. Takeover Day, first launched in the UK, is a celebration of children and young people’s contributions to museums, galleries, arts organizations, archives and heritage sites.

Some links:

A humorous (I think) article from the Ubyssey about what could go wrong.

UBC 2018 Event


UK Takeover Challenge

Takeover Challenge

Here’s a sample letter from young people to an organization–or perhaps at UCV it would be adapted towards a particular individual, committee or team.

[The address of the organisation you’re writing to goes here on the left, above the main letter]

Dear ,

[The name of your school or group] would like to invite you to be a part of our Takeover Challenge from Friday 24 November 2017. This year Takeover Challenge can happen any time, any day over the year so there are plenty of chances to get involved in the biggest takeover in England.

The event gives young people the chance to ‘takeover’ organisations for a day. They get to experience what it’s like to be in a real work environment, taking on responsibility and being a part of the decision making process. This year the project is asking organisations to think about how they can extend their Takeover for more than a day.

Organisations benefit too, gaining new ideas, insight and creativity to improve their services as well as the chance to show their commitment to listening to children and young people. Organisations across every sector and of any size can take part – it’s a flexible event which can be tailored to suit your needs.

[The name of your school or group] chose to invite your organisation to take part because [here you can explain why the organisation was chosen. Is it because they work with young people and you wanted to have a say? Is it because you’re interested in what the organisation does and wanted to learn more about it? Try to give a few reasons and a lot of detail so they really understand why you have approached them]

If you were willing to let us take over for the day we would like to [now explain what you would like to do on the day. How many young people want to take part? Who do they want to work with? What decisions do they want to influence?]

We would be glad to discuss alternatives with you if any of the above isn’t possible.

In previous years Commissioner’s Takeover has been a big success, with hundreds of organisations and thousands of young people getting involved, having fun, learning new skills and exercising their right to speak up on the issues that affect them. With the help of [the name of their organisation] we hope we can make

2017-18 the most successful Takeover yet!

As well as giving young people a valuable experience, Takeover Challenge is a great opportunity to gain publicity and show that [the name of their organisation] is one that takes on challenges and cares about young peoples’ right to have a say in the decisions that affect them. [Is there anything else you can list here that might help convince the organisation to get involved?]

We hope you will consider this invitation and look forward to hearing from you soon.


[your name and position]


Receive Our Chalice Basket and Contribute to Our Congregational Journal

An Invitation to Light the Chalice and …

from Kiersten Moore, Director of Children and Youth Programs

Every Sunday we close our worship with a benediction to Carry the Flame of Peace and Love until we meet again. You are invited to sign-up to light our Chalice one Sunday and receive the Chalice Basket in return. It contains a chalice, a journal, and books with meditations, readings, and Unitarian celebration ideas to carry the spirit of our church and principles through the week. All we ask is that you return the basket to church the following Sunday for the next person or family to receive! Every family and individual member is encouraged to receive the basket at least one Sunday during the year. The journal is meant to be a congregational conversation on each of our experiences or thoughts on being Unitarian through the week.

Why receive the basket?

  • Taking time to reflect, read, and write, or even simply to light the Chalice once a day, helps to connect us more fully as a Unitarians.
  • You may already have spiritual practices that give you a moment of calm or encourage you to reflect in the moment. Receiving the Chalice Basket can bring a sense of community or connection to your practice for the week.
  • You may be wondering how to share Unitarian practice with family at home, or how to create ritual or a moment of mindfulness, or what a Unitarian practice through the week might look like. There are books in the basket chosen to give you some ideas.

Please sign-up on the website volunteer page to light our Chalice and receive the Chalice Basket, and remember to return it to service the following Sunday.

Contact Kiersten

Parents invited to Our Whole Lives Orientation

Our Whole Lives sexuality education for ages 9 and 10

The first workshop is this Sunday, January 14th, at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver.  We have six children registered. I invite any curious, interested, or concerned parents of a child nearing or beginning puberty to attend our Parent and Child Orientation this Saturday, January 13th, from 1:00-3:30 pm in the Fireside Room of Hewett Hall.  If you may consider registering your child for the program I encourage you to have them attend the Child Orientation portion as well.The orientation is required for participation in the course. Childcare is provided for siblings.

Why attend?

The Parent Workshop addresses questions, concerns, and tools for talking to our children about sexuality in an age-appropriate way. We have parent resources and suggestions for learning more; we identify what messages we want our children to receive about sexuality, and what we value about our own sexuality education. We discuss what we want to do differently for our children.

The Child Workshop is about the kids getting to know each other, creating art about their family, orienting them to the anonymous questions box, and creating Group Agreements.

Together we will go over an overview of the Our Whole Lives curriculum and what topics will specifically be covered.

Attending this Orientation in no way obligates you to enroll your child, but the orientation is required in order to register. This can be a wonderful way to help you feel more comfortable in your role as your child’s primary sexuality educator. You will also have the opportunity to purchase the Parent’s Guide to Our Whole Lives for this age group, which gives you more ideas and resources for discussions and education at home.

More information is on our website and at the Unitarian Universalist Association website.

Here is our Online registration which lists the dates and time of the workshops—2 Sundays a month January—May.

Please RSVP to Kiersten Moore if you plan to join us on Saturday.