The current Young Friends program was designed to respond to a different world – a world where post-mailed letters were the standard for written communication and where the requirements of the average high-school-aged person were more likely to be limited to a few activities outside of school over the course of the year and a maybe a few honors classes. The ubiquity of the internet and related communication systems, along with the full gamut of advanced learning options and ever-expanding extra-curricular opportunities have significantly changed what the lives of high school aged Quakers look like today.
Given this, it’s time to re-imagine a vibrant, accessible and compelling offering for high school aged Quaker and Quaker-friendly people in the Yearly Meeting. We also need to consider best use of our Yearly Meeting resources in relation to serving high-school-aged youth. The Coordinator position (part-time since 2012) does not encompass the full scope of the program’s current structure well, so one of the goals of this discernment is to find a right-sized role for the Coordinator matching the program we design. This re-evaluation of the Young Friends program comes as the Yearly Meeting as a whole is living into its long-range plan, and it will enable us to breathe a Young Friends inspired life into existent plans for youth in the Yearly Meeting while also clarifying mission and key foci of the program.
The process for this re-evaluation is already underway! The first step is a survey about the Young Friends program which is aimed at YOU – high school aged folks and their parents, whether or not Young Friends has been part of your experience. If you’ve already taken the survey, consider sending it to a relevant Friend who has not! We want to get as many perspectives as possible. The next step is compiling a group of people to look at survey results and imagine the future. Young Friends will be considering a proposal to include youth, parents and former YFs in this group at the Spring 2015 gathering. This group will meet several times over the next 6 months to one year in order to compose a plan for the Young Friends community moving forward.
Interested in getting involved? Let Hannah know! Have just a few tidbits of feedback? Young Friends can share these at any time during a gathering or outside of one, and Parents are invited to check in with Hannah about this and other matters after worship at gatherings.