We’ve got some fun things happening this month that I will tell you about below, but I also want to talk about some “boring” housekeeping things, especially since we have so many new families with us who just may not know some of this stuff.

First, some safety stuff! In addition to providing an outstanding Religious Exploration program, we take safety very seriously! It’s the job of the staff, particularly RE and child care staff, to create and follow guidelines based on best safety practices for working with children and youth. This is for the safety of EVERYONE at UU Asheville. Here are some things you should know:

1. Children and youth visitors – We think it’s great when our children and youth want to share their church experience! Please help us out when bringing visitors whose parents/guardians are not on campus by bringing them down to RE and making sure that teachers and/or RE staff know who their adults are so we know who to contact in case of an emergency.

2. On campus supervision – Parents/guardians/caregivers are responsible for their children and youth whenever on campus, or at an off campus UU Asheville event. Outside of RE classes and activities, children in 5th grade or under should be with their families or another designated adult at all times. Children and youth who are in 6th grade or up have a bit more freedom to move around the campus, but you should still know where they are at all times while on campus. Children in 5th grade and under should be picked up from RE by a parent or other designated adult by 12:30 pm on Sundays. 6th grade and up groups will be dismissed to go find their families by 12:30 pm. This does not mean that kiddos in 6th grade and up have “free reign” on campus – the expectation is that they will be supervised by their folks once they leave class. There should always be adults present on the playground as well, please do not send your kids to the playground without making sure there will be an adult who agrees to supervise them.

3. Safety ratios – The safety ratios that we use in child care are state mandated and determined by the age of the youngest child in child care. This means that we may occasionally not have enough child care providers on hand because the ratio can change. This is one of the reasons that we encourage all parents who use child care to sign up to volunteer in child care several times per year. It means that we may occasionally ask a parent to stay in child care so that we can be in compliance. Our goal is to never have to turn someone away from child care, but I want you all to know the reason why it may happen sometimes. 

1) When any baby younger than one year is present, the total ratio of children under the age of 12 (in both childcare rooms) to adults (over 18) should never exceed 5:1. 

2) If a baby 12-18mos old is the youngest child present, the ratio should not exceed 6:1. 

3) If a toddler 19-23 mos old is the youngest present, the ratio should not exceed 7:1. 

4) If a child 24-36 mos old is the youngest child present, the ratio should not exceed 8:1.

5) At no time, regardless of the age of the youngest child, should the ratio exceed 9:1.

Speaking of volunteering in child care…I’m planning a training! No details yet but I will have more info in the coming weeks. If you want to sign up to volunteer in child care and/or sign up for the training, let me know and we will get you oriented! Now that our nursery is ready to accept babies, we could certainly use some more helping hands and loving hearts.

Please note that both of our child care staff members will be off on Sunday, December 24 and Sunday, December 31. We hope to arrange for volunteers so we can still have child care available on those Sundays, but please know that we may not be able to offer child care if we do not have enough volunteers.

Now for the fun stuff!

DECEMBER VESPERS

Wednesday, December 6th at 6 PM

Our December Vespers evening will be a special celebration. First, a very special guest will be joining us – Santa Claus! Kids of any age can visit with Santa and let him know what you want for the holidays. Our dinner time will include our time for reflection and centering, as well as some meaningful conversation. And after dinner, please join us in decorating UU Asheville for the holiday season! We’ll have hot cocoa and cookies, as well as holiday music and some ornament-making crafts. Bring a friend! The more the merrier as we decorate for the winter holidays at UU Asheville. RSVP Here.

Photos with Santa! – Sunday, December 10th 12:30-2:30 pmEveryone (pets included) is welcome to have a photo taken with Santa! There is a suggested donation of $10 and you will receive the photos. Special thanks to Joe Penno and Tobin Photography for making this possible!

Christmas Eve is on Sunday this year! Join us for all ages Worship with our Ministers at 11 am – all are welcome! Our candlelight service will be at 7 pm, featuring a mini concert from Dr. Les Downs.

We need chalice lighters! Does your family, child, youth want to have a small but significant part in worship? Sign up to be a chalice lighter! Email Kim at lrec@uuasheville.org to sign up!

Mystery Friends is coming and we need YOU! We need at least 2 more adults that can help plan and implement our beloved Mystery Friends program – we want to bring it back, but we need your support! We have one adult already signed up to coordinate so it will be a team effort! Mystery Friends is a fun, safe opportunity for children and youth to make connections and develop relationships with adults in the congregation. This helps to deepen our intergenerational ties to each other and can lead to lifelong friendships! Several of our past pairs have gone on to be mentors/mentees in our Coming of Age program! Email Kim at lrec@uuasheville.org