This past weekend the Children and Families Program hosted another classic Winter Family Overnight at Camp Onas under the care of program staff Kimani Keaton and Crystal Hershey. Except it didn’t feel like winter at all, it felt like the first days of spring! [Read more…] about Winter Family Overnight Was Wonderful!
New staff! The Youth Programs team is delighted to announce that Crystal Hershey has agreed to serve as the Children and Families Program Assistant. While Crystal is a new addition to our team, she is a familiar face in youth programs and the PYM community.
Today I was on campus at the Quaker Senior Community called the Hickman (West Chester, PA). This note is to share how uplifting & motivating it was to see the children from W.C. Friends School (our neighbor), leading our staff and residents into intergenerational Witness for Climate on the street today. I’d love to see photos of other Friends participating in this Global Movement today and in the coming week!
The September issue of “Vital Friends,” the e-newsletter from Friends General Conference (FGC), highlights “Religious Education Programming for Children.” Melinda Wenner Bradley, serving PYM as Youth Religious Life Coordinator, was asked to contribute to the issue.
FGC staff write, “Melinda’s work as a consultant and trainer for religious education programming has produced several worthwhile resources for Quaker parents and teachers. Here, we’ve included highlights of her work, beginning with a beautiful essay about her ministry.”
The essays and articles shared can be found — along with other great resources for children’s religious education programs — at this link. They include pieces on fostering community, exploring vocal ministry, a lesson on being present and worship, and nurturing children’s spiritual lives.
See the PYM website page, “Writings on Religious Education: Practical and Prophetic” for more resources for welcoming and nurturing children, their families, and the people who support programs for youth in meeting communities.
To Friends Everywhere,
We need to raise our voices when things are not right.
You have to know when things are not right..
This week Ollie tried to chase a chicken at Snipes Farm.
We watched Mulan for movie night.
We went to game night with Middle School Friends.
We played on a slip and slide, and always have friendship.
We also took pictures of our week, and here they are.
PS – It was also really fun break dancing with pushed learning!
(Thank Edy and Megan!)
By Melinda Wenner Bradley, Youth Religious Life Coordinator
What does the intersection of intention and action look like among Friends? The programs planned for children, youth, and families at Annual Sessions, and our practices in the Quaker community of PYM Youth Programs, are among the possibilities!
However you attend Sessions — commuting or in residence, with a group of friends and family or on your own — the Youth Programs staff hope that you will leave this week with a sense of the participatory joy we feel in our work, and with an awareness that PYM youth return home with new tools, evolving questions, and renewed support for exploring faith and practice in their lives.
At our staff retreat last May, the Youth Programs team discerned and named five themes that feel vital both to guiding our planning for events, and to sharing spiritual practice tools we hope young Friends (and friends of Friends) will take into the world after participating in our programs.
As we finalized our planning for Annual Sessions, I was delighted (but not surprised) to find that what we had identified in our visioning is happening now in “real time” together in community. What’s shared here isn’t an all-inclusive list of what’s happening this week, but snapshots of where you might see our intention in action:
- Quaker Community: Youth meeting for business is clerked by youth; at Sessions this includes discernment about writing epistles and planning for events in the year ahead.
- Creative Spirituality: Spirit moves among us throughout Sessions, including in worship sharing groups and during our Sunday morning “worship experiment,” that gathers all youth for a final community worship.
- Building Relationships: This is a central part of our Game Night, Talent Show, and the Family Neighborhood. Field trips to Snipes Farm and Mercer Meadows will extend community building during off campus programs, too.
- Play and Joy: Everyone participates in this one throughout the week! We especially look forward to the Giant UNbirthday party, and our Slip and Slide play with PYM’s inflatable unicorn, Frank.
- Stretch and Surrender: We’ll experience this in planned workshops with special guest Pushed Learning & Media, and our Artist in Residence Eric Berdis, and during all-ages worship with the body.
We hope Friends will also explore these five areas of focus at home in your local meeting communities in the coming year! They are applicable both in plans for youth programming and in how we move the intention to be a multigenerational faith community into action and practice. Interested in support for how to do this? Be in touch and let’s collaborate!
Our community of children, youth, and families this week is grounded by the amazing creativity, planning, and facilitation of the Annual Sessions Youth Team: Elizabeth Croce, Virginia DeWees, Colleen Hayes, Kimani Keaton, and Aeryn Luminkith. Stop them sometime and share a joyful, “thank you!”