*Please note that the start time of this retreat has been changed to Saturday morning.*
Young Friends are invited to gather for our second and longest retreat of this school year! Young Friends Retreats are special opportunities for high schoolers (or people who are high school age) in New England to take a deeper dive into building community and exploring the Quaker way together. The theme of this retreat is:
Maybe I'm a Quaker... Now What?!
"I might be Quaker, but I'm not sure" is probably one of the most common statements I hear from teens who participate in Quaker community, in Quaker youth programs like Young Friends, or at Friends Camp, or at local meetings. Part of what makes the Young Friends community so dynamic and interesting is that we're all at different stages of our spiritual journeys and have different relationships to Quakerism. Some of us are super committed and comfortable saying "yeah, I'm Quaker!" and some of us are skeptical, and lots of us are in between. The thing that brings us together is that we show up wanting to try doing Quakerism, even if we're not sure if we are Quaker.
But what does "doing Quakerism" even mean? If I think I might be Quaker, what does that mean in my life? How might my life be changed by exploring this spiritual path?
These are the questions we'll be diving into during this retreat. At the Fall Young Friends retreat, we talked about seeking spiritually. At this retreat, we'll talk about what it's like to find! We'll hear stories from some Friends about how they came to commit to Quakerism in their lives and how that changed them. We'll share about what draws us to the Quaker communities we've spent time in and how these experiences influence our everyday lives. Maybe most excitingly, we'll learn about what Quakers of the past and Quakers today have brought to changing our world into a better one, and how we each might fit into that.
This retreat will be an in person overnight weekend retreat held at Woolman Hill Retreat Center in Deerfield, MA. Young Friends can arrive between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 14th (note the change in start time!) and leave between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Monday, January 16th.
Please register by Monday, January 2nd. Due to the limited number of sleeping spaces at Woolman Hill, this retreat may fill up before the registration deadline, so register early to ensure you can attend.
About staying at Woolman Hill
Delicious meals will be provided by a yet-to-be-named cook, with something for everyone according to the dietary needs you describe when you register. Because this retreat is being held at a retreat center and not a meetinghouse, we will sleep in beds in assigned rooms, with 1-3 roommates. You may specify your preferences for roommates upon registering and we'll do our best to accommodate you. Young Friends should bring their own sheets and pillowcases or a sleeping bag, and blankets and pillows are provided. Bathrooms and showers are single stall and gender neutral. Woolman Hill is newly renovated to be ADA accessible, so please let us know if you need special accommodations.
This retreat is "pay-as-led," meaning families can pay what they are able on a scale from $0 to $225+. Families may pay online when you register, or enter $0 and bring a check or cash to the retreat. This particular retreat costs more to host than others as it is longer and we stay at a retreat center rather than a meetinghouse. Here are three suggested tiers for this retreat:
$100 covers some of the cost of one YF attending
$170 covers the basic cost of one YF attending
$225 covers the full cost of one YF attending as well as related costs for putting on this event
Covid Safety Plan
All participants* must be fully vaccinated in order to attend. Full vaccination includes all boosters for which you are eligible. Proof of vaccination will be uploaded via CampBrain if you have not already done so this year (see below).
We will administer an antigen test to every Young Friend and staffer when they arrive regardless of if you took one before leaving home (to make things simpler on our end). You're encouraged to test before leaving home if you are driving a long way or if you are carpooling. Anyone who tests positive will be sent home.
We will decide on whether to make masking indoors required or optional closer to the retreat date, by early January at the latest, in order to take into account current CDC guidelines, transmission rates, and the level of "boosted-ness" in the group that is registered. For this reason, we strongly encourage everyone who is eligible for the bivalent booster to receive it before the retreat, as the more of us who are fully boosted, the more likely it will be that we can have masking be optional.
*Those with medical exemptions will need a letter from their primary care doctor saying it would be dangerous for them to receive the vaccine. They will need to receive a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the retreat. Please talk to Maggie ahead of the retreat if this is the case for you.
Health Forms and Proof of Vaccination
All Young Friends will need to complete a health and permission form and upload proof of vaccination here in our secure database, CampBrain. Those who have attended Friends Camp before will be familiar with CampBrain and can log in using their existing account. If you have trouble logging in or uploading your documents, check out this how-to video or contact Maggie or our office manager Sara Hubner. If you attended 2022 Annual Sessions or the Fall YF Retreat this October, your health and permission form and proof of vaccination should already be up to date for this school year, so you're all set.
If you have questions or concerns about attending this retreat, don't hesitate to reach out to Maggie by email or phone at 978-382-1850.
Please register by Monday, January 2nd.
We hope to see you soon!
Contact Maggie at [email protected] with questions.