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From Nia Thomas Young Friends Coordinator
Greetings Young Friends!
It is with great joy that I welcome you to attend the Young Friend’s Program at Yearly Meeting Sessions! Below you will find a list of things to pack for Yearly, answers to common questions, and more information about this year's theme! If you have any additional questions, need assistance with anything to help you attend Yearly Meeting, or just want to say hello, please don't hesitate to call or email me at email@example.com. I cannot wait to see you all in August! —Love, Nia (617) 945-0373
What is Yearly Meeting like for Young Friends?
Yearly Meeting Sessions is the annual business meeting and gathering for Quakers of all ages in New England, with about 750 people attending. The Young Friends (YF) program is for those who were in 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grade this past school year. There will probably be about 60 YF’s with 15 adult Resource People (the adult staff who work with YFs). We will participate in thematic program together, have meals with the larger Yearly Meeting, conduct our own Business Meeting, hang out, and live together if the Young Friend’s dorms. Most participants really enjoy Yearly Meeting Sessions. YFs activities focus on building community, learning about our own spirituality, and having tons of goofy fun.
Can I come without my family?
Yes, however, each Young Friend needs to have an adult sponsor, even if you’re 18. A sponsor is one of your parents or another adult who is attending Yearly Meeting and who agrees to come to the Saturday orientation meeting (3pm on Saturday, August 6th) and to check in with you periodically during the week. This person also accepts the responsibility of caring for you in the case of injury or illness, or working out consequences in the case of commitment violations. If you don’t know any adults who are attending Yearly Meeting but are interested in coming, let me know and I will help you find a sponsor. You must send in the Youth Health/Permission Form with your registration, no matter what. (the form can be downloaded from this website, filled in, and sent via email using the latest version of Adobe Reader software).
What do we do during the week?
During the week, we will explore different aspects of the theme “350 Years of New England Friends: Called to Heal a Broken Earth,” and get to know each other better. In the morning, we will have Spiritual Journey presentations given by Young Friends, and Meeting for Worship, followed by Young Friend’s Program. Program can be many different things: games, skits, workshops, panel discussions, singing, or art projects. They are led by Resource People. After this, there is a block of free time for lunch, napping, playing games, going to the pool, committee meetings, etc. In the mid-afternoon Young Friends have a choice of activities or more free time. We then meet for about an hour of program before dinner. After dinner, we have more Young Friend’s program, and then affinity groups. Affinity groups are small groups that meet every day to check-in. All Young Friends are on their floor of the dorm by 10:30pm for floor meetings—a time to chat about the day, play games, hang out, etc. On Wednesday we hold our annual Coffee House (a variety show) and dance.
What do we do in Business Meeting?
Young Friends Business Meeting is clerked by the YF Clerk, Shani Hines, and YF Recording Clerk, Anna Schonwald, both graduating seniors. In business meeting, we worship together and use the process of discernment to make decisions as a community. This year, YFs will be finding a new Ministry and Counsel and determining the themes for upcoming YF retreats.
What do I bring?
Bryant provides beds in the doors and three meals a day at the dining hall. Plan to bring everything else: comfy summer clothes (including a sweatshirt for the air conditioned buildings), SHEETS (twin size), BLANKETS, TOWELS, bathing suit & beach towel (for the pool & our beach trip), umbrella and/or rain coat, alarm clock, musical instruments, pajamas you don't mind being seen in, sunblock, shampoo, and anything else you will need to feel comfortable for a week.
Expectations: Please Read Carefully
We have developed expectations over the years for those who want to be part of the Young Friends community at Yearly Meeting. We ask you to think about them, understand them, and make a personal commitment to live by them while at Sessions. Respect of other people and the place we are staying is fundamental to our community.
Agreement with these expectations is essential for our life together:
- I agree to participate in the program: to attend meetings, talks, outings, etc., that are scheduled and to get enough sleep to do so cheerfully and alertly
- I agree not to bring or use alcohol or drugs during Yearly Meeting, nor to be sexually intimate and/or exclusive.
- I agree to be socially inclusive and to help build a loving, safe, and joyous Young Friends community while at Yearly Meeting.
If there is any behavior at our conference, that upsets or disturbs you, it is important that you report this to Nia or a Resource Person. We want everyone to be safe and comfortable. Young Friends who are unable to uphold the expectations listed above, may be asked to leave the dorm and/or program. If you have any concerns about the expectations or want some support in meeting them, email Nia.
Don't forget to register and see you in August!
Photo: Tom Antonik
Photo: Skip Schiel
Photo: Friends Camp
Photo: Skip Schiel