We’re coming to the end of the fall and with it, the close of the “reunion season” for many high schools and colleges – however December is the prime reunion time for the Young Friends (YF) community, as many newly graduated Young Friends are back in town for the holidays. In past years it’s been somewhat unclear how former Young Friends can engage successfully in the Young Friends community after leaving high school and the program. The custom has been that recent graduates may register for the Young Friends Christmas gathering and attend as Young Friends. This has been a tricky experience for some, as former Young Friends want to experience being part of the community again, but have also moved on in their own lives in many ways. Many struggle to interpret their new role, uncertain where to fit in and how to contribute. There are also concerns from a child-safety perspective about former Young Friends who are now adults attending a full gathering as regular participants. For all these reasons, Young Friends Program staff have decided to formalize the way former Young Friends visit during the Christmas gathering.
This year, former Young Friends are invited to join the YF Christmas gathering on Sunday December 28th from 9:30am through 3pm. During that time there will be many ways to engage with the YF community, including worship with Fallsington Friends Meeting, lunch, some free time to connect with friends, and worship sharing in the afternoon (you’ll join an already-existing small group). Former Young Friends are also invited to engage in the YF Christmas gathering (themed “Silence: the Power & the Oppression”) at other times by offering a workshop, worship experiment, or even as a Friendly Adult Presence (Friends must be at least 21 and go through a the FAP clearance process to serve as Friendly Adult Presences – contact Hannah as soon as possible if interested). Please email Hannah by December 22nd if you plan to attend on Sunday and include any food allergies and dietary restrictions. If you or a recent former Young Friend close to you will miss the experience of gathering in community for several days, check out the Young Adult Friends winter retreat, taking place January 2nd through 4th at Swarthmore Friends Meeting! Young Adult Friend (or YAF) retreats share many characteristics with Young Friends gatherings, and are designed to accommodate the interests and abilities of young adults more particularly.
The Young Friends community looks forward to welcoming former Young Friends on the 28th of December!