New England Yearly Meeting

A community of Quakers and Quaker meetings across New England.

About YAF Retreats

YAFs hold three retreats each year: one around New Year's, one in late spring and one in the fall. We also attend New England Yearly Meeting Sessions, where we conduct our own events and business.

At each retreat we explore a theme that connects in some way to our spiritual lives. The themes are selected by planning working groups which are assembled for each retreat.

What to Expect

Retreats are held at monthly meetings throughout New England or, in the case of Midwinter, at a retreat center. Carpooling is common and encouraged.

What happens at a YAF retreat?

At retreats we try to offer a balance of structured program that allows people to explore the retreat theme and worship together, as well as free time for hanging out and relaxing. YAFs are expected to take responsibility for their behavior during retreats. Retreats are led by a group of volunteers with staff support.

Each retreat is a little different, but here is the basic pattern that we usually follow: on the first night we do some get-to-know-you type activities like name games and ice-breakers. After that we may have brief worship, singing, or some type of group program based on the retreat theme. After this, we usually have affinity groups (small groups that meet throughout retreats). After affinity groups is usually a time for hanging out, eating snacks, and going to sleep if you like. We sleep on the floor (or wherever there is space).

Usually on the following day or days we have meals (usually prepared by a retreat cook, or by groups of YAFs who take turns cooking together at smaller retreats). In the morning we have some sort of worship (silent, programmed, singing, or some other type) followed by some sort of program based on the theme (a workshop, a guest speaker, a group activity, a panel discussion, etc).  In the afternoon, there is usually some unscheduled time for hanging out or resting followed by interest groups or a group trip. After dinner, we usually have more program (like morning program) followed by affinity groups.

On the last day of retreats we usually clean the meetinghouse, fill out evaluations, and worship with the hosting meeting (if it’s a Sunday).

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

901 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602

(508) 754-6760 - [email protected]