Bringing all of the history for
Youth Of Unity
in one space.

Youth of Unity History Video

We are excited to share with you our first-ever history video that delves into the unique parts of Y.O.U.'s past. This video is a must-watch for anyone who wants to understand the organization's evolution and what makes it special.This video is from the first conversation of 500x90, our first-ever virtual conversation supporting Y.O.U.References:Y.O.U. History Slideshow The google slideshow used for the Y.O.U. history video with references.Same slideshow but in pdf format, with all referencesView TranscriptY.O.U. History Video Link - for the video below.

The first Youth of Unity chapters began in 1922.
Youth of Unity conference began began in 1936.
Youth of Unity Alumni Network was formed in 2013 on Facebook, with a focus on our lives now, as alumni.

Gathering all of the Youth Of Unity history into one space is a project as an alumni organize - we truly believe in. Youth Of Unity had a profound effect on us and bringing that history together has been something is one of our biggest goals. Since there is no making new memories in the past, gathering as many as we can is a wonderful gift.Here are some of the awesome things we have learned about Youth Of Unity, since we formed in 2013.

Our first chapters, pre-conference era

  • Y.P.C.U. which stood for Young People's Christian Unity was the first name for Youth of Unity.

  • This existed almost exclusively in chapter or local church form.

  • The first chapter appeared at the first Unity Church, Unity Church Universal at 9th and Tracey. It appeared April 15, 1922. It began appearing in the weekly newspapers after that.

  • There were at least 7 chapters that we know of that existed in the 14 year span before our first conference. We have found new chapters that aren't listed yet.

  • Charles and Myrtle Fillmore attended a Y.P.C.U. dance - this is the only known connection for Youth of Unity with Myrtle Fillmore. However, this is proof of a connection.

Photo Gallery

1936 - 1949
Conferences and Rallies Begin

  • "Youth of Unity began as Chi Lambda Epsilon in 1936 to “establish spiritual co-operation among the youth of the world.” This was changed to Young People’s Christian Unity (YPCU) in 1936. At the Second Annual YPCU Conference in 1937 the name was changed to Youth of Unity (YOU)". Source

  • While the first conference was this year, we know from newspaper sources that local chapters began 14 years prior to the first conference.

  • The first Youth Of Unity conference was in 1936.

  • Eric Butterworth, famous Unity minister, was Youth Of Unity president in 1940. Source

  • Update - see slide with newspaper article: The age range during this time was 12-30. There is evidence that this longer age range continues through the 1950s, after the Korean War.

  • During this time, the International Youth Of Unity officers were one person, and that was a "President" role. You could be enrolled in Unity's ministerial school and be the Youth Of Unity "President" at the same time.

  • Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity, taught at one of the Y.O.U. Conferences 1941.

  • Even though they had teachers, even early material shows how Youth of Unity was youth-led

  • Regional events began in both Kansas City and the midwest - including St. Louis, as well in California.

Photo Gallery

YouTube Playlist

1950 - 1960
Becoming a Youth Group

  • The first conference theme was in 1951, named from a former officer in the Korean War. The theme was "World Peace".

  • Sometime during this generation, the age range became high school focused. Sometime after the Korean war.

  • During this generation, there was a Y.O.U. magazine.

  • Our Spring Rally 2021 hosted a workshop with Rev. Charles DeTurk, International YOU president in 1965. During his workshop (here it is on youtube) he talked about his YOU experience, and amongst other things, how race played a role during his time in Youth Of Unity.

  • Integration was important for those Youth of Unity members and helped elect the first Black YOU president as well as integrate the swimming pool at Unity village during conference.

  • The first African American female Youth Of Unity president was in 1966, Sheila Powell.

  • Family groups were likely formed during this time.

Photo Gallery

YouTube Playlist

Birth of the modern Y.O.U.

  • First color YOU conference photo was in 1972.

  • This was the first generation that had t-shirts as souvenir from international and regional events.

  • This generation started Young Adults of Unity (later called Next Generation of Unity)- which held a conference in the summer, which eventually became Adults of Unity.

  • This generation had the first Youth Of Unity Regional consultant - Jackie Green of (Northwest) Western Region. She served through the 2010s.

  • The 1976 conference theme was "If you are waiting for something to happen, you have already missed the point."

  • This generation had the most similar experience to modern Youth Of Unity members. Regional events called "rallies" existed, regional officers "regis" existed.

Photo Gallery

YouTube Playlist

Giant Events and a Russia Trip

  • Karl Anthony came onto the Youth Of Unity scene and began playing at regional events.

  • A group of over Y.O.U.ers from all over the United States went to Russia.

  • One of the big events at conference was running the newspaper.

  • Smoking cigarettes was still allowed at regional events, but some regions began banning cigarettes.

Photo Gallery

YouTube Playlist

Largest Events and the United Nations

  • Based on recollections and attendance estimates, we believe the 1990s had the most active YOUers of any of the decades.

  • The United Nations recognized Youth Of Unity as an organization that promotes peace.

  • Leroy White began playing regional and international events.

  • The Peace by Piece program, which brought groups of young people to YOU Conference from a variety of different countries, began during this time.

  • The international team had a fourth representative during this time, a YOUer not from the main Youth Of Unity regions.

  • This generation was the first to host Youth Of Unity conference in difference locations, including two years of conference being in Colorado. The new location was decided because it could accommodate more people than Unity Village. These events had over 600 people.

Photo Gallery


End of conference and alternate events

  • YOU Conference was last held during 2006. (In 2010 - this event came back and is now known as IYOU Event.)

  • 2007 was a Peace by Piece event during the summer, instead of YOU Conference.

  • 2008 held an appreciative inquiry during the summer.

  • Peace by Piece ending during this generation.

Photo Gallery

YouTube Playlist

IYOU Event and Rebuilding

  • IYOU Event is what the summer conference event is now called.

  • The International Officers are now called "Indies".

  • Indies are now chosen from their regions, each region getting a choice on Indies (roughly) every other year.

  • IYOU Event, due to missing a generation after conference, is generally a smaller event than previous conferences.

  • Because of technology, YOUers are now able to video chat, which means different communications of staying in touch in between event.

  • Phones are also a concern at regional and international events, handled differently at different events.

Photo Gallery

YouTube Playlist

Covid and 500x90

  • Youth Of Unity generation starting during COVID-19.

  • Youth of Unity rallies and IYOU event have been held virtually, over zoom.

  • 500x90 is a collaboration between the Youth of Unity Alumni Network and International Youth of Unity to help get 500 YOUers to the 90th International Youth of Unity summer event.

Photo Gallery

YouTube Playlist

And even with all of this... we have only just begun.

Obviously these photos don't tell all of the stories. But our intention is to find the best way to gather all of this, in one place, so that we can honor the incredible things that Youth Of Unity has brought forth.We hope you will join us and share your history in Youth Of Unity. We want to honor all of our history.

Do you want to help us gather or share history?

That's great!You can certainly send us your photos via any of the social media links listed on our website.Learn more about joining our History Team and help us bring our vision to life. Sign up today!.Special thank you to:
All who contributed pictures and appear in them.
George Buffett II, Charles DeTurk, Martin Dowman, Alyssa Wolfe, YOU Alumni Network Facebook Group