Updated: Mar 23, 2022
What are Youth CONs?
Youth Conventions or “CONs” are weekend long events planned by youth with adult support for youth from third grade to high school. At heart, a youth con is an experience in building covenantal community and empowering youth leadership.
Supported by the larger work of The Mountain, each con has a different theme and focus, but they all incorporate community building, fun, worship, and exploration of spirituality. Each event has its own covenant and is in covenant with The Mountain’s safety policies. Youth experience both the safety of being in a covenantal community and the responsibility to repair relationships when difficult situations arise.
Youth have the opportunity to serve in leadership roles to help plan events, help run events, help the CON community live in covenant, or be peer chaplains for emotional support.
During The Mountain's most recent CONs, participants were invited to share their feelings towards these gatherings. Several CON participants voiced the following:
The reality of life can be the opposite of here at The Mountain. Other people can be hard to connect to, I know I can relax here. There can be a lot of stress and drama in my life, it is good to get away from that. My friends and I are always on Instagram or other social media. When I am here, it is nice not to feel I have to respond to all that, to connect through my phone.
A safe place for youth to be, you can be who you want to be, no judgment which is super-duper nice. It is my favorite place to be because of the happy environment people and the people who are very accepting towards everyone. ~~Piper M.
This is the community where I feel extremely comfortable.
I like getting to know people better and meeting new people.
After I’s here, I feel really happy, being with my friends, the activities, and the coffeehouse was really fun. ~~Nicolle M.
I really like meeting new people and be disconnected with the rest of the world and do new things. ~~Tallulah H.
The youth program at The Mountain serves as a place for kids to learn about themselves in a safe community where we put a lot of focus on inclusion and acceptance. ~~Isa R.
It creates an environment where kids can learn to be sure of themselves and their values and then put those values into practice. ~~Elly M.
It is important for social gatherings, and being around a lot of people you are comfortable with. ~~Roan A.
It is nice to be around other kids and not worry about judgment.
I like it here. Wish we could stay longer, more social things, more walking in the mountains. ~~Leo G.
Especially after COVID and being online so much, it is nice to be with people.
I like being outside, the Mountain is so pretty and I like it because it is different for me. ~~Sophia W.
I really like this weekend because I got to bond with a lot of people and do cool activities – crafts and cooking together and field games (capture the flag) and other games, like Ninja. ~~Neave B.
I really admire the way The Mountain teaches youth and children how to live sustainably and treat the earth with respect. I like talking about caring for the earth and seeing the effects of what we do. ~~Fiona A.
Unitarian Universalists children and youth can be islands in a huge sea. It is easy ttart thinking that our families are weird or something is wrong with me, because their friends are involved in other religions and believe something else. When the youth come to a CON, it is amazing to them. Every time I have brought new kids to a CON, on the way home they say, “I didn’t realize there are so many of us.” It is so important for being able to see this, it is exciting to know we are not an island.
For me, The Mountain Endowment represents hope and security. I feel secure and confident that one day the Endowment Fund will be strong enough to support programming, especially youth programming.
~~Joy Irwin, CON Advisor and Mountain Trustee