The End of “It’s too far awaaaay!”

Young Friends

Have you ever read seen the location of a youth programs event and thought to yourself, “Oh look. It’s another gathering for cool young people my age / my friends that’s taking place hours and hours away from where I live … I guess I’m not going to go this time.” Or maybe it’s more like, “What?! The next gathering is in southern New Jersey?! I’ll never be able to get there!” Perhaps your parents have gotten tired of you begging them to take 8 hours out of their weekend to drive you to a gathering on Friday and then come pick you up on Sunday? Despairingly exclaim no more! PYM Youth Programs are embarking on a pilot program to offer shuttles to help Young Friends and Middle School Friends get to gatherings!

The idea is that for any given gathering, up to three shuttles will leave from different locations dispersed across the North, South, East and Western parts of the PYM region; Families who are having trouble finding a way to get their children to a gathering can take them to the closest pick up location or coordinate a second pick up if they live on the way. The goal is that shuttling families not have to drive more than an hour to a shuttle pick up. These shuttles will be driven by individuals who know the youth programs and their expectations and are cleared such that they could serve as Friendly Adult Presences with PYM youth programs. Shuttle drivers use their own vehicles and are reimbursed for their time and expenses. Signing up for a shuttle will be integrated into the online registration process (we’ve already added a question about travel plans!).
Various versions of this service have already been in place in both Middle School Friends and Young Friends. For instance, this month the Middle School Friends program is going to the Eastern Shore of Maryland and taking a big van full of MSFs there from Philadelphia. Young Friends have been carpooling to gatherings for ages using the carpool list (sent out before each gathering), and ran the first shuttle at the Winter gathering for Friends too far away from others to carpool. Every bit of these experiences tell us that these shuttles will be a ton of fun! Fortunately, this is one place where fun meets utility, allowing the Yearly Meeting to better serve its full membership – regardless of physical location. Check out more information on the Pilot Youth Shuttle Program, and start planning for actually being able to get to every single gathering you’ve ever hoped for!