Youth Ministries Committee
The Youth Ministries Committee serves to support the work of nurturing the faith life, spiritual growth, and leadership of children and youth of New England Yearly Meeting. The committee sees children as fully spiritual beings and advocates for this perspective within the Yearly Meeting. The committee works to ensure the vitality, health, safety, and relevance of the youth programs offered by the organization of NEYM, as well as youth ministries offered within and across the web of local meetings in our region. This work happens in the context of both family and community, in same-age and in multi-generational groups.
It is the committee’s intent that the youth work under its care enable young people to grow into adulthood with a full sense of belonging to both a local circle of Friends and the Yearly Meeting as a whole. The committee ensures that the programs we support offer a foundation of Quaker faith and experience, fostering an active spiritual life. The purpose of the Youth Ministries Committee is to support programs and practices that empower the young people of NEYM to live with grounded integrity, and that help them speak to the condition of the world.
Note: Friends Camp, a vital youth ministry of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, is additionally guided by the Friends Camp Committee and by distinct standards for State of Maine licensing and accreditation by the American Camp Association.
- The committee acts as stewards to discern needs for youth programming, all the while listening for fresh inspiration within and beyond NEYM.
- The committee supports local meetings and NEYM youth ministry staff and volunteers in the implementation of such programming.
- The committee consults on the right ordering of administrative aspects of NEYM youth programs: health, safety, and welfare of children; policy and procedures; and ethical and legal issues.
- The committee ensures that NEYM programs are a partnership between youth workers, parents, and our wider spiritual community. The committee advocates for the needs of NEYM youth, families, and youth workers. The committee ensures that programming is vital and relevant to current needs.
- The committee is responsible for conducting an annual review of the NEYM Child Safety Policy and its implementation.
- The committee supports the staff in their youth ministries work. The Yearly Meeting Secretary supervises the youth program staff. Youth staff attend committee meetings to communicate the reality and needs of youth work in NEYM.
- The committee meets regularly, virtually or in person, as the needs of the committee dictate. The committee reports annually to Sessions on the health of the programs, status of the Child Safety Policy, and other issues in our care.
- For local meetings, the committee offers resources, collaboration, and guidance for the health and welfare of children; policy and procedures; ethical and legal issues; program design and curriculum; and outreach and networking.
- Committee membership should reflect the diversity within the Yearly Meeting. Gifts that we seek for the committee include skills in pastoral care for children and families, skills in youth programs and youth work, including program evaluation and planning. Committee membership should include people with familiarity with the NEYM retreat programs.
- Members are named for 3-year terms, two people in each class for a total of six named members. Friends may be appointed for a second, consecutive 3-year term, after which they should take a year away from the work, Members are named by the Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee.
- The youth ministry staff—Children and Family Ministries Coordinator, Young Friends Events Organizer, the Quaker Practice and Leadership Facilitator, and the Friends Camp Director—are ex-officio members of this committee. Because of the high level of staff participation in the work of this committee, YMC needs to remain mindful of the risks of over-burdening staff.
- Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee, in consultation with the committee members, names the clerk of Youth Ministries Committee. This nomination is approved by the Yearly Meeting. The Youth Ministries Committee coordinates with and has linkages to Ministry and Counsel, and Permanent Board.