Springtime gatherings at Swatara mean that the school year is about to end! An exciting time for many to be sure, but also a time for goodbyes and for uncertainty as 8th and 12th graders leave the familiarity of either Middle School Friends or Young Friends. This time of transition lends itself well to introducing rising Young Friends and Young Adult Friends to the communities they will join in the next few months as well as personal reflection about what it means to be a part of a community.
During worship sharing the Young Friends were given the opportunity to do some of that reflection on their involvement in the community–whether it was their first gathering or last gathering, or somewhere in between. The queries for worship sharing also urged us to reflect on how the Young Friends community or the Religious Society of Friends more broadly has impacted our lives.
Several activities during the weekend at Swatara gave opportunity for integration of incoming members of the community. Saturday morning featured a hike up the rock pile, during which the current 8th graders hiked up with Young Friends, while the 6th and 7th graders hiked separately. At the top, the entire Middle Schools and Young Friends community got to spend time together! Later in the day, after a program by Maggie Harrison and Jon Watts on Quakers and getting (spiritually) naked, there was an opportunity for rising Young Friends and Young Adult Friends to meet and talk over dinner – an important moment to introduce what the Young Adult Friends community is about!
I’m excited for all the new beginnings planted at Swatara to come to fruition over the summer as our young people move into their new youth communities!