Are you a member of a Monthly meeting located far away from Philadelphia? Do you ever feel like it is difficult to fully participate in the yearly meeting because of the long distances involved? Middle School Friends feel your pain, and we’ve been doing our best to make the program accessible to folks in all corners of the yearly meeting. In fact, over the past four years we’ve had one gathering per year located at least 2 hours outside of the city.
Our latest long-distance road trip took place on the weekend of March 14th-16th. We hopped in a big van and drove all the way to Salisbury Maryland where the good folks at Wicomico River Friends Meeting generously hosted us.
Why travel so far from where many of our regular participants live? There are a few reasons. First, we want to be present for all the meetings that make up PYM, not just the most convenient ones. Middle Schoolers get to learn about other meetings that may be different than the ones they belong to, and it’s hard to not feel connected to the corporate body of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting when you have a group of Middle Schoolers from all over the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and even Maryland stating their names and home towns at the rise of meeting.
A second reason is that we get to meet and include Middle Schoolers from far away. After all, the Middle School Friends program is supposed to be for all the Middle School Friends in the yearly meeting. Maybe if we come to your meeting once, you’ll be more interested in joining us at the next one. Now that we have a new shuttle service, our gatherings are accessible even to Friends who don’t have time to drive all the way to the next gathering!
Finally, travelling to far away meetings allows us to do things that aren’t available close to Philadelphia. At our last gathering, we got to go kayaking in the Chesapeake Bay. Among other wildlife native to the region we were able to see a bald eagles nest, and two bald eagles!
Where should we travel to next year? Does your meeting have a unique local landscape, or a few Middle Schoolers who would love to connect with other Quakers their age? Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe we’ll stop by your meeting next year!