Providence Meeting Middle School Friends’ concern for immigrants began when we saw pictures of immigrants on the news and how they were being treated at the US Mexico border. That led to our first fundraiser and learning more about the immigrant situation. We heard that families were being separated, and knew we needed to learn more about migrant life at the border and how we could help. [Read more…] about Youth Call for Action in Support of Immigrants
Middle School Friends
Young Friends and Middle School Friends gathered last weekend for an online version of our traditional Camp Swatara gathering. In addition to staples of our usual programs — worship sharing, business meeting, and committee time — we got creative and reinvented some of the most treasured parts of the Swatara gathering for this digital platform.
In lieu of the usual Saturday morning hike up the Appalachian Trail to the rock pile, we gathered in the morning for a group “hiking” game that we could all do from the comfort of our backyards and living rooms. Saturday night, the two youth programs came together again for a talent show and campfire song circle where musician Simon Purchase James led us in song. [Read more…] about Youth Programs Host Virtual Camp Swatara Gathering
Last Sunday, a handful of families in my meeting decided to try online Children’s Meeting (our First Day program for children) and worship together online. It was a last-minute decision to fire up my Zoom account and see how it worked. We posted the information on Facebook and sent out a quick email on the meeting listserv. Two hours later, when we gathered across households, we were joined by a former attender now living in Seattle, and three other PYM families who had seen the Facebook post. We came together across miles and even time zones to share songs, a reading, queries, and waiting worship. [Read more…] about Gathering Together: Support for Families & First Day Programs
Huzzah! We’re excited to welcome new staff members to the Youth Programs team. Kristin Simmons joins Elizabeth Croce as MSF Co-Facilitator, and Alix Vallery joins as the MSF Program Assistant. Both bring new gifts and skills to the MSF team and will contribute to the wider Youth Programs mission and vision.
Elizabeth Croce says it best, and speaks for the whole Youth Programs team: “I’m thrilled to welcome Kristin and Alix to the MSF staff team! Together, the three of us bring diverse experiences, passions, and ideas that will enrich the MSF program. I am so excited to continue growing the MSF program with this multi-talented team.” [Read more…] about Meet the Middle School Friends Team
View a downloadable/PDF version of the report here.
The bulk of this report is made of minutes of exercise taken by PYM Recording Clerk, Jim Herr. The minutes review the proceedings of the day. Following the minutes of exercise, the report contains a transcription of collections of “advice to the yearly meeting” in response to several queries that participants wrote down in small groups. Find in Appendix A the advance documents that were provided ahead of the threshing session.
Middle School Friends had a wonderful time at Lancaster Friends Meeting during their Winter Gathering, January 31 to February 2. We were super excited to see new and returning participants come together as a community.
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.
October 18th – 20th, Middle School Friends joined together in community and autumnal fun at West Chester Friends Meeting. We are grateful to the meeting community for hosting us, and their warm welcome after worship on Sunday morning.
We had a busy weekend playing next-level hide and go seek with the lights off, having a birthday party for a newly minted 13 year-old, as well as cooking and sharing meals together. We visited a local orchard to pick apples, enjoy cider and cider donuts, and explore the orchards in the last moments of warmth in the season. We were also visited by a friend of the MSF program, Tara Rubinstein, who heeded our call that MSF was interested to learn more about the complexities of gender. Within this workshop, we learned about pronouns, the gender unicorn, and even explored within our gender affinity groups about what we value and what challenges us within these affinity groups. On Sunday morning, some participants attended worship with the meeting, and others joined with their Young People’s Group for an exploration of ”The Questions We Ask,” a lesson created for teens to explore the creation story in Genesis laid alongside the Big Bang Theory. The approach is addressed to “Quaker skeptics,” the young Friends who are questioning stories and information in our religious faith and wider culture.
The weekend was filled with community, learning, and fun! We hope to see everyone on November 2nd for Continuing Sessions!
ERICA: Dear Friends Everywhere, We are the Middle School Friends of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
We gathered at The College of New Jersey in Ewing, New Jersey from July 24th to July 28th, 2019 for Annual Sessions. We grew as a community and expanded our knowledge by learning about the LGBTQIA+ and people of color communities. We learned about microaggressions and how to work as a community by talking about our disagreements and vulnerabilities with Pushed Learning Media.
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!”