Children and Youth
We deeply value the presence of all children and youth at Riverside and seek to be a vital part of their faith experience. We strive to be a church where children can find their voice, listen with their heart and learn social justice by serving others. For more information on any topic regarding kids’ participation at Riverside, please call our youth leader, Katie Cook or by calling the church office, 541-386-1412.
Sunday Morning Education
Children join the worship service through “Children’s Time” with our pastor. Then, grades kindergarten through middle school are dismissed to engage in a lively Sunday school curriculum, where art, dramatics, sensory experiences and ritual encourage discussion and interaction. We explore Bible-based stories, with relevant references for today’s times.
We offer nursery services on Sunday mornings for newborns through age four, at any time during worship, one half-hour before worship and one-half hour afterwards, to allow parents to attend Hospitality Hour.
The nursery is also available for children who are not quite ready to go to Sunday school, or young siblings who would like to stay together. We try to be very flexible to meet our younger children’s needs.
Our nursery is staffed by two adults. The staff offer crafts, toys and light snacks. Our nursery staff is competent, trained in safe conduct practices, have taken a first aid class, and will work with parents to make your child’s time an enjoyable experience.
To use the nursery, please bring your child to the nursery room, which is inside the Fireside Room on the lower level. Sunday school is offered adjacent to the nursery in the Fireside Room. A half-door allows Sunday school staff to monitor activity in the nursery.
Middlers usually meet once a month on Fridays when school is in session, from 3:45-5:30pm. They share a light meal, play cooperative games, plan service projects and take part in an activity that helps them understand their spirituality.
Teens in high school usually meet monthly to participate in a service activity, sharing and preparing food, planning service projects, cooperative games and a contemplative spiritual activity.
Our Whole Lives
Our Whole Lives, or “OWL,” is a series of comprehensive sexuality curricula for children, teenagers, young adults and adults published by the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Association.
At Riverside, we offer OWL for ages 7th-9th grades. Because the program works better in in-person settings, it is currently postponed. Classes are generally held on Wednesday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m., with several half-day Saturday workshops. The curricula takes about four months and there is a tuition. Partial scholarships are available. A mandatory parent education night is held prior to the classes. Please call the church to sign up and ask for more details.
OWL is the result of seven years of collaborative effort by the two faiths to prepare material which addresses sexuality throughout the lifespan in age appropriate ways. OWL meets or beats the National Sex Ed Guidelines and also is written in alignment with the SIECUS Guidelines for teaching comprehensive sexuality.
The Our Whole Lives program operates under the idea that well-informed youth and young adults make better, healthier decisions about sexuality than those without complete information. OWL strives to be unbiased and teaches about heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, and transgender sexual health. OWL helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their relationships, health and behavior based on their own values. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, society and culture. It provides not only facts about anatomy and human development, but helps participants to clarify their values, build interpersonal skills and understand the social, emotional and spiritual aspects of sexuality.
The program is built around the values of justice and inclusivity, sexual health, responsibility and self-worth.
A Safe Environment
If you’d like to read our Safe Conduct Policy, it is available here: 2019 Riverside Safe Conduct Policy Final
Camp Adams is a forested 210-acre recreational retreat center located 35 miles south of Portland, Oregon. Owned and operated by the United Church of Christ, Camp Adams is available to United Church of Christ member and non-member organizations.
Every summer, youth who have completed 2nd grade and up look forward to a week at Camp Adams which features a swimming spot, nature walks, a ropes course, crafts, all meals, nightly campfires and an outdoor worship area. In the fall, Riverside members also make a yearly all-church trip to Camp Adams.
For the past 60 years Camp Adams has provided Oregonians with a unique outdoor facility. The camp hosts everything from Outdoor School for students in Oregon’s public schools to spiritual retreats offered by area churches. While programs for 2020 have been cancelled, we look forward to summer programs again in the near future.