Youth Programs at Annual Sessions: Coming Home

Annual Sessions, Children, Friends Who Care For Youth, Middle School Friends, Volunteering, Young Friends

“Can we go home this summer?” 

“What do you mean?”

“Can we go to PYM Sessions?”

This was the conversation I had with my then-10 year old, a few summers ago after our family moved to New York. Going to PYM Annual Sessions felt, for him, like going home — being in a community where he was welcomed, cared for, and had a wonderful time together with friends. During the years we lived in NY, our three children returned each summer to participate in Children’s Sessions, then Middle School Friends, and eventually Young Friends programs. It was clear that these were important spiritual communities for them, where they were grounded in their developing identities as Friends.

We’ve moved home to PA, and I’m delighted to be serving the PYM community by supporting the programs for children and youth that have been a core experience for my family. This summer is the first one in fourteen years that I do not have a child of my own participating in Children’s Sessions, and I can hardly believe that my youngest is a Middle School Friend.

What a great summer to be part of that program! This year we’re shifting Middle School Friends to a residential program under the care of the MSF staff. This will better serve the sense of community within the MSF program, who will have their own “MSF Neighborhood” in the Travers-Wolf Dormitory. Travers-Wolf is also going to be the home of the Young Friends program, and the two groups will each have their own space in the dorm’s Lounge. This also presents a shift in cost for MSF participants, and families should keep in mind that scholarship funds are available for MSF and Young Friends attending Annual Sessions, through the Sergei Thomas/Haley Yarmark fund, which memorializes two Young Friends who died before their time (1948 and 2007 respectively), and the Tyson scholarship fund.

Preparations for all three programs this summer are in full swing, and include time with the PYM body in worship and fellowship, in their own age-groups for both play with friends and discerning our business as Friends, popsicles and water play, creating with our resident artist Anna DeCaria, and woven through the whole experience, exploring the Sessions theme, “How Our Lives Speak.” 

Read more about our gifted Children’s Sessions, Middle School Friends, and Young Friends program staff here and visit the Youth Sessions pages to learn more. We’re gathering a team of adult Friendly Presences to support all three Youth programs — If you’re interested, please be in touch! 

See you at Sessions, July 25-29! Register here!

Melinda Wenner Bradley

Youth Engagement Coordinator