New England Yearly Meeting

A community of Quakers and Quaker meetings across New England.

Frequently Asked Questions about JHYM

  • Who are you, Gretchen?

I coordinate JHYM and JYM (the elementary programs for 2nd-6th graders) for New England Yearly Meeting.  I started staffing JYM in 1989 and coordinating JHYM in 2003.  I am a member of Westport Monthly Meeting.  My husband Buddy and I have 3 young adult children who came up through NEYM's youth programs.  Buddy is one of my best staffers!  You can read more about me here.

  • What are the timelines for JHYM retreats?

Registration is at 6 pm. on Friday night, and we wrap up on Sunday at 12:30 pm.

  • What do you do?

We eat, sleep, worship, play games, sing, do crafts, help with chores, talk about lots of things in small groups, and hang out during free time.  Art is often part of our program.  Occasionally we go on field trips or do service projects.

  • Do 6th graders go to JYM or JHYM?

Some 6th graders stay in JYM and some move up to JHYM.  At any point, 6th Graders can come to a JHYM Retreat instead of the JYM Retreat nearest that date and then decide which retreat program to remain in for the rest of the year.  Please read our annual letter here for more information.

  • Where do you sleep?

At Woolman Hill Conference Center, many of us get a bed, or at least a mattress.  The rest of the time, we are on floors in sleeping bags.  (We highly recommend a sleeping pad!)  There are staffers in all sleeping areas. 

  • Can I come to part of a retreat?

Generally, no.  The most amazing thing about JHYM is the community that we build together.  This takes time and space – it really doesn’t happen on a drop-in basis.

  • Do I have to be a member of a Meeting?

No.  You do have to be willing to be fully engaged in all parts of our community, including being open and inclusive to everyone, solving problems in the manner of Friends, and sharing worship and small group discussions.

  • The retreat is far from my house.  How do I get there?

You will receive a registration list 3 weeks before the retreat that you and your parent can use to arrange carpools.  Parents have worked out all sorts of arrangements including one family lending their van to another to do the driving, several families pitching in money for a hotel for the driver, and moms turning the drive into an opportunity for a getaway weekend with other JHYM parents.  I am always available to help you figure it out.

  • Will there be food?

Of course!  Our retreat chefs are not only great cooks, they are also wonderful people who do all they can to accommodate everyone’s dietary needs.  When you register, just let us know of any allergies or diets you have (such as being a vegetarian).  We will take good care of you!

  • What does it cost?

Our fee structure is a version of the Pay-As-Led approach that New England Quakers adopted for Sessions several years ago. It’s about trust and abundance. Families can pay less or more depending on their budgets–from giving more to support others to zero dollars—no questions asked. $45 is great if budgets are tight; $90/child covers food and supply expenses for our weekends; $150 covers all related costs.  

  • Can I bring my homework to the retreat?

You can, but in all honesty you probably won't get much of it done.  We really encourage you to leave it at home so that you can be fully present to the retreat experience.  We also advise you to not plan on doing a lot of it when you get home on Sunday afternoon -- you'll be tired and relaxed (in a very good way).

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

901 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602

(508) 754-6760 - [email protected]