Detailed Information for Parents
Middle-Schoolers come to JHYM Retreats for the community.
Most are the only Quakers in their schools or neighborhoods, and they love having a place where they don’t feel they have to explain themselves. They are young people who sincerely and courageously strive to witness to their faith, while living in the wider world, every day of their lives. (Photo by Buddy Baker-Smith)
They are young teens who deeply ponder whether saying The Pledge of Allegiance is consistent with Friends, how non-violence can possibly work, and if the testimony of simplicity really applies to sneakers and the number of extra-curricular activities they are involved in. They come to be recharged in the Light and through the fellowship of the community.
Inclusiveness is a significant goal in our community, and our staff is sensitive to nurturing this. We strive for a balance between the blessings of reconnecting with old friends and the openings possible by community-wide participation and fellowship. Friends who “just want to be together” are cheerfully encouraged to arrange sleep-over weekends outside of the retreats.
Our community carries on in between retreat weekends, via our website as well as the usual tech modes of 21st Century teens and “snail mail.” Gretchen is always available to lend support and pastoral presence to junior-highers and their parents as needs arise.
Themes and Content
Each retreat has a theme that helps us explore aspects of Friends and spirituality. Intermixed are games, chores, singing, free time, and delicious meals. Service projects are part of our fall retreat. The annual Music Retreat is always a highlight of the year. We strive to be very prepared and to then be flexible enough to go where the Spirit leads during our time together. Every retreat's Staff Notes and Quotes are made available ahead of the retreat. Samples from recent retreats can be downloaded below.
With assistance and nurturing from staff, young people often help write the small group questions and meal conversation topics, provide leadership on the care of the community, and help us all see where we can be more welcoming. We strive to be open to new ideas, believing that if we try a new tweak on the phone use commitment or schedule, etc, that we'll learn from it whether it's "successful" or not.
Do 6th graders go to JYM or JHYM?
Outbursts of the Soul: A Music Retreat
Swimming in Cold Water: Annual Service Retreat