Two developments at this year’s General Assembly make me wonder about our movement’s commitment to children and their teachers and families. The General Assembly Planning Committee, which has had an increasing say over exactly which programs have happened at GA in recent years, has decided not to include the Sophia Lyon Fahs lecture, which usually has an outstanding speaker and attracts hundreds of attendees, nor any program by the Liberal Religious Educators’ Association (LREDA). LREDA submitted the request as usual and were stunned to have it turned down. I have not seen any response from the General Assembly Planning Committee, whose last-published minutes are from 2011. I hope they give a good explanation before thousands of people come to GA wearing “Where’s Sophia?” buttons.

Also, programming for children has been curtailed. In previous years, there was a UU camp for kids 1st grade and up and I heard great things about it. Now it is only for kids entering 5th grade or older. I was thinking that my daughter would be able to go to UU camp next summer at GA, but apparently she will have only the same kind of programming that she had as a toddler. Not appealing.

If there are logistical or funding problems with LREDA’s programs or camp for younger children, I hope the GA Planning  Committee will say so. If LREDA’s proposed speaker wasn’t good and the committee wants them to suggest someone better, I hope they’ll say so. Taking away these programs without explanation or comment tells us that children don’t count. And in ten years, we will be wondering why those teenagers are drifting away.

Correction: I originally wrote that camp kids have to be in fourth grade. I was wrong; they have to have completed fourth grade. That’s five more years before there will be any programming for my child. She can stay home, going to a secular day camp while my wife solo-parents, but I’d hoped she would accompany me to GA now and then and have a great camp experience with other UU kids from around the country.

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