We are the 2018 Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions Middle School Friends (MSF) community. This week, MSF had fun, built a community, and attended various workshops.
We engaged in many enjoyable games and activities.
On Friday we took a trip to the pool. Some of us relaxed in the shade, while others dove off diving boards and slid down slides. The following day, we continued our water fun using a Slip ‘N Slide and a giant blow-up unicorn sprinkler. Later that day, many Friends participated in the talent show, the dance party, and then finished the day by leading vespers for the PYM community.
This year MSF at Annual Sessions had a new sleeping arrangement. We now sleep as a community in the College of New Jersey’s dorm rooms. This helped to strengthen our community and caused us to form new friendships as well as further already existing ones. As a result of our strong friendships, it became easier to open up to each other. This made our Worship sharing groups more meaningful. Not only did we have a growing bond within the MSF community, but we also grew closer with the wider youth programs.
During the course of this week, MSF attended various thought provoking workshops and plenary sessions. We, along with the PYM community, were introduced to Ujima. Ujima is a peace center dedicated to supporting people of African descent to find a black Quakerism that speaks to attendee’s condition. Following the Ujima presentation, we had a workshop led by Anna DeCaria about quilting, collaging, and fabrics. Later that evening, the MSF community came together to share our ideas in a Meeting for Business where we discussed and planned MSF led Vespers.
Throughout this week, the PYM Middle School Friends have gained many friendships and learned many interesting and funny facts about each other. We have all been through the mixing up of schedules, our facilitator standing up for the MSFers, and rushing out from lunch. We had so much fun this week going on the slip ‘ N slide, playing with a giant unicorn sprinkler, swimming at the pool, diving, and sliding into fun.
Even our long business meeting was a little fun. We played a lot of outside games and had many dance, snack, and group game breaks. All in all in this Annual Sessions, the MSFers learned how to work well as a group and ultimately as a community.