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Director's Corner

Emmy's Friday Update

For Sunday June 9th

A flaming chalice - symbol of UUSE

Greetings CYM Families & Friends!

This Sunday will be our last day of classes in the 2023-2024 program year for the Children & Youth Ministry program.  I can’t help but reflect on this personal milestone as I work through a year of “firsts” in my role as Director.  I am immensely grateful for the guidance and patience from many, the new families and friends I have met this year, and the great opportunity to work in partnership with your children as we develop collective and individual spiritual and moral identities.  

It was truly a magical and spiritual experience for me last summer as I walked through the hiring process, hopeful and open to whatever may be meant for me.  It was with both tremendous joy and a grounding sense of responsibility that I accepted the role last August.  I felt in alignment with my life’s purpose and work, and that hasn’t changed for a single moment.  I had big shoes to fill, and aimed to make my predecessor and dear friend Gina proud.  I am also incredibly grateful for the work she did before me, and with me at times.  As I said to her, we take turns being leaders, and that’s how we keep it going - our flame lit.  I have MUCH to learn, process, and produce, and that will never change.  But I never cease to be grateful and honored to be a leader in this community.  Please celebrate with me and join us at UUSE this Sunday for our last day of classes!

Here’s what’s happening in CYM this Sunday, June 9, 2024:

This Sunday children and youth will begin in the Sanctuary at 10 AM (excluding Spirit Play, OWL, and HS Youth Group).

Nursery: Childcare will be available in our nursery at 10 AM for children age 3 and under.  

Spirit Play: “Rainbows” - Spirit Play students will review their year with the theme of rainbows!

Workshop Adventures & Twilight Zone: “Last Day Celebration” - We will watch the weather to determine if we’ll go outside Sunday morning (after our time in the Sanctuary).  If we can be outside, children will be offered activities including a rhythm circle, outdoor games, and roasting marshmallows.  Feel free to bring a snack or outdoor games to share if you’re inspired!

If it is raining during program hour, we will hold a modified version indoors.  Please note: If its not raining and we are able to be outdoors, the grass is likely to be damp from the night before, so please dress accordingly!

We could also use a couple more volunteers for this event!

OWL & High School Youth Group: “Mental Health Panel” - Four skilled mental health professionals have volunteered to talk with the youth about mental health strategies, challenges, and resources.  Thank you OWL facilitators Kate Bradway Mullis and Lisa Sementilli for putting this special event together for our youth!  This panel will be held in the Children’s Chapel from 10AM - 11:30AM.  All OWL and High School Youth Group members are encouraged to attend!  (Not intended for parents to attend.)

Save the Date:

June 16th:

CYM Celebration Sunday, All Congregation Service

Bridging ceremony for incoming 6th and 9th graders, as well as graduating 12th graders

Summer Programming: CYM will offer a relaxed summer schedule of activities for children and you of all ages on the following dates (activities TBD):

July 14 + Monthly CYM Family Potluck after service (open to whole congregation!)

July 28

August 11 + Monthly CYM Family Potluck after service (open to whole congregation!)

August 25

See you Sunday!

With Love and Gratitude,

Emmy Galbraith

Cell: (860)576-7889

CYM Committee Members:

Desiree Holian-Borgnis, Chair

Michelle Spadaccini

Paula Baker

Sudha Sevins

Committee email:

Angela Attardo, CYM Program Assistant

Director of Children and Youth Ministry's Monthly Column for June

A flaming chalice - symbol of UUSE

A Children and Youth Ministry Message from Emmy Galbraith, DCYM

I have been taught that it is essential to plan for activities and practices that are restorative. In this way, restoration is somewhat different than resting.

Our community is rich with volunteers, who may sometimes overschedule themselves. It is also rich with folks in the thick of major life transitions and journeys, as well as parents, and elders. Often overlooked as needing of rest are our youngest community members busy with the tasks of growing at a sometimes-alarming pace. Rest can be a delicate balance or even frustrating for folks who live with chronic illness, fatigue, injury, or challenges with mental health. It seems that at least one of the reasons many of us gather in community at UUSE is to experience restoration of our spirits.

When I am struggling with tiredness or fatigue of the mind, body, soul or any combination of the three, I pull out some simple rules for living. I identify what needs to be done in these twenty-four hours. This may include a look ahead to days and weeks and even months to come. But I am brief then put it back on the shelf. I ask myself in the most basic sense what really needs my attention today. I do my best to let judgmental thoughts come and go. I give myself permission to do what the day asks of me; to do one kind thing for tomorrow-Emmy; and then fill the rest of my time with what brings me joy. This restores me.

There can be a small sadness or grief that accompanies that pondering, what brings me joy - because too often, it comes with a realization that our busy and complicated lives may allow very little room for it. Or maybe it's been so long since I made that a priority that I've forgotten what brings my mind, body, and soul joy. When that happens, I ask myself to remember being a kid, and there are some clues there. Who did I love and who loved me? What activities did I enjoy? What were my hopes and dreams for my future? When did I feel at peace.

I'm always in awe of the intuitive knowing of children. As the years pass our heads get filled with ought-to's and should-haves. I find the journey of life is a balance of wisdom and discipline to build the life we dream. Balance is often the answer to my own questions and musings. Plan for the future, learn from mistakes, and be in the present moment. The restorative joy I seek is not the high I can feel from booking a vacation or shopping for everything we'll need but in that peaceful joy with my toes in the sand, the sound of the waves, the laughter of my children.

I’ve noticed that since the Covid pandemic, resting for health became a conversation and a priority in a new way. And that remains so very valuable and important. But this more recent conversation I've been experiencing is about more than taking a break or a nap. (Although again, those things are extremely important.) But this idea of prioritizing what is restorative—what gives my soul a break, massages it, and then infuses it with love? How can we incorporate these restorative practices into our everyday lives, and not just when we are feeling low or run-down?

There are capitalistic and logical arguments to be made that engaging in restorative practices also increases productivity. I find that to be true. But I'm careful not to make that the point or it loses its magic. It also seems to be true that if I step into the collaborative energy of the world today, this is a conversation that people are aching to have. We crave simpler lives without losing our connection to each other, or our life's purpose or meaning. We want restorative healing. Which often requires work. Restoration is not solely about rest, but also about work. That balance where rest and progress, peace and joy, justice and equality align. There is no perfection. But there is renewal. I believe engaging in daily restorative practices can offer us renewal.

At the close of mental health awareness month, I urge you to find what restores you. At the unofficial start of summer, I urge you to find where you experience restoration. And please, tell me about it! I’m eager to hear. Be well friends.


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