The Camp Swatara gathering bridges the community of Young Friends and Middle School Friends — Quaker and Quaker-friendly folks!
Registration & Cost
All Young Friends and Middle School Friends register online. You must register by the April 19th deadline. If you have missed the deadline, contact the Youth Engagement Coordinator to get on a wait list in case of cancellations. This event is hosted by Caln Quarter, and the registration for Early Bird and regular registration is set by the Quarter each year. No walk-ins are permitted!
Register for the early bird rate of $120 by March 31!
On April 1st the cost becomes $135. The FIRM registration deadline is April 19th.
Full and partial financial aid is available for Middle School Friends and Young Friends via the online registration.
We’ll open with games and worship sharing on Friday night. The annual hike to the Rock Pile and Appalachian Trail will happen again on Saturday, with an alternative activity for non-hikers. Saturday will continue with Marcelle Martin’s plenary where we will learn about the lives of early Friends through storytelling. We will end Saturday with singing at the traditional bonfire (weather permitting). Sunday morning brings together MSF and YF programs for a bridging ceremony. Young Friends will welcome in current 8th graders and Young Adult Friends will welcome 12th graders into their program. Worship with Caln Quarter will close the weekend. There will be more opportunities to connect with Caln Quarter Friends – at meal times, during plenary, sharing our own stories, and Saturday night’s talent show.
What to Bring
Bring along standard toiletries and bedding for a two-night overnight (but not a sleeping mat! We sleep on bunk beds with mattresses at Swatara. Bring sheets and warm blankets or a sleeping bag + pillow). Camp Swatara also has showers, so bring along shower toiletries and a towel if you like. It is usually cold at night and in the morning so make sure to bring layers! Please be sure to send any Medical/Permission or Young Friends forms you have not yet completed for this year to the Youth Engagement Coordinator in the 1515 Cherry Street office, or bring them along to give to a program Facilitator on site.
Arrival & Departure
Camp Swatara is located at 2905 Camp Swatara Rd. in Bethel, which is Northwest of Reading, PA. Make sure you are driving to the right place, as there is a Bethel township in Southeastern PA as well. Arrive between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm on Friday evening. Please come having eaten dinner. Although there will be snacks, no dinner will be served. Pick up is after lunch on Sunday at 12:45 pm. Please be sure to check out with your program Facilitator or Assistant on site.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the sleeping situation at Swatara? Camp Swatara provides bunk beds with foam mattresses in uninsulated (read: cold at night) cabins. Cabins are separated by gender (male, female, gender neutral).
How do I get financial aid to attend a gathering? Full and partial financial aid is available. To receive financial aid, simply enter the amount you are able to pay in the online registration.
For Young Friends, this financial flexibility is made possible by two funds: the Sergei Thomas/Haley Yarmark fund, which memorializes two Young Friends who passed before their time (1948 and 2007 respectively), and the Tyson scholarship fund.
Is transportation help available? An email containing a carpool list will go out to all youth registrants about 10 days before the gathering. Those who need rides are encouraged to contact others who live near them to find a ride and vice versa for those with space in their cars. If you cannot find a ride, please contact the Youth Engagement Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) at least one week before the event so staff can check other possibilities if necessary.