What’s so great about being a Friendly Adult Presence?
Being a Friendly Adult Presence or FAP (our name for chaperones) in the Young Friends community can be an incredible experience of connection, joy, challenge and play. It’s an opportunity to connect with the youth of our Yearly Meeting, supporting them in discerning their senses of self and in building community, taking care of each other, and taking action together. It can also be a really fabulous opportunity to connect with your own youthful side – there are lots of opportunities for play, silliness, creativity, and all kinds of experiences of the Spirit within and around us.
I really like having parents of current Young Friends who are part of PYM participate in the YF community as Friendly Adult Presences. It gives you the opportunity to see what the Young Friends community is really like and how adults and teens function within it. It also gives me the benefit of your parental perspective in the moment-to-moment execution of the gathering – while we all notice and highlight different things, you parents have a particular perspective gleaned from parenting experience, which is all the more relevant if you are parents of current Quaker teens! I learn and grow from parents’ perspectives, and we all learn and grow as adults in the Young Friends community.
Young Friends – Why You Should Bring a Parent to Gatherings!
We can’t have gatherings without enough Friendly Adult Presences! Parents are an important part of the Young Friends community even when they aren’t present (we factor in how parents would feel about decisions we make as a community, for instance); when they are present they get more informed about the community as a whole and often even more excited about it than they were! You might even get to see a side of your parent you never knew existed. Don’t worry, your parent won’t cramp your style – you won’t be in the same small group, and I make sure the parents who are FAPs understand the importance of youth having an independent experience in the YF community (though, believe it or not, most of them already get it).
Being a Friendly Adult Presence is great, and having parents of current Young Friends serving as FAPs is good for the program, a neat experience for the parent, and usually no sweat for Young Friends. For more information about what it’s like to be a FAP or to express your interest, get in touch with Hannah Mayer and check out the Friendly Adult Presence Guide. The next opportunity to try out being a Friendly Adult Presence is at the extended Young Friends Camp Onas gathering from August 16-22, followed by several weekends throughout the school year. I look forward to welcoming you into the Young Friends community and the Friendly Adult Presence community!