coming of age

a program of NYSEC -- New York Society for Ethical Culture


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Coming of Age

INVITATION: If you wish to be part of Ethical's Coming of Age Program, contact

Families of NYC youth and young teens are encouraged and welcomed 
into this diverse community grounded in Ethical Learning.
            Newcomers are welcome. 
                       Explorers are welcome.
                                    Curious families are welcome.
Families with youth interested in a progressive Coming of Age program 
are invited to gather for information and active planning sessions 
at New York Society for Ethical Culture:

Participation of individuals runs at a self-determined pace, through several seasons, and culminates in FINAL PROJECT & CELEBRATION. People may initiate involvement at the program at any seasonal interval.  

This is a mature program designed to include diverse young people within their exploratory tween and teen years. We welcome those who are ready for inner and worldly inquiry, recognizing that the age range may be as wide as 12-17 years. 

We recognize the deep maturity of some on the younger end of this spectrum, and we also recognize the hopes of some on the older end of this spectrum who may not have had opportunities like this so far in life. That is why the stated range of age is relatively wide.  Determining when your child is ready for this process is not simply based on age qualification, but on maturity, desire, and personal need.  This is an opportunity for young people to mark their life-path with a process and celebration focused on the direction of deeper self-inquiry, greater worldly awareness and growing inner and outer responsibility

            In recognition of the diversity of NYC families' experiences, we open our group to all families of youth who are seeking support for these transitional years of growth.  Families of all perspectives are welcome, with full respect.  Youth who have experienced "rites of passage" in other traditions (bat-bar mitzvahs, confirmations, etc) may wish to join this program for a very different, complimentary body of learning. 

Our curriculum aims to be focused and deep, yet responsive to the needs of the families included in the journey. The guiding goal is to provide a safe creative grounding for each individual to blossom within community. With a humanist anchor, we will journey as deeply into ourselves as we do out into the world of ideas and values.  We will respectfully explore "religous and cultural" views throughout the world.

This program intends to be enjoyable and creative and will include field trips, group workshops, leadership development, community service (DEED: doing ethical experiential deeds), journaling, and personal exploration.

This is a program of New York Society For Ethical Culture (NYSEC) which is part of a larger historical movement of putting ethics at life's center, represented by American Ethical Union (AEU).  While holding space for diverse belief systems that inspire people toward their goodness, we come together to explore and hold as the highest imperative: ethical relationship. In this sense, Ethical Culture is a religion of humanism, of ethical-centeredness, of what we all may strive to have in common:  GOODNESS.

In many traditions, the space between childhood and teenage life is marked with a profound learning period and celebrated with a rite of passage. At Ethical Culture, unbeholden to stern traditions, but rich with diverse learning materials and rooted in humanist values, we collaboratively create this excursion with young people, mentors, and family members.  
             In the vision of cultural teacher, Joseph Campbell, this is a kind of "hero's journey." Our development is intended to transform us, challenge our understandings of the world, and strengthen our offerings toward the world. We will be using a three-pillar model throughout: Self, Community, World. This can translate to: Feelings, Actions, Vision.

            We hope to create a schedule of gathering that is centered on Sunday afternoons, with exceptions and additions for special field trips.  We welcome youth and their family members to attend Ethical Culture morning meetings with the larger NYSEC community, when and if they wish to.  The group will gather at 12:45 for informal lunch and social connection.  Workshop processes will generally take place in the afternoon.
            The schedule will be modified with those participating if necessary to accommodate the group's commitment to working together. Meeting times on Weekday afternoons or evenings are also a consideration, but only if that works best for the whole group.