Each year the planning process for Annual Sessions begins in earnest when a team of PYM staff and volunteers arrive at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) near Trenton for a site visit. Over the four-hour visit, we map the sessions fun that Program and Religious Life (PRL) and Sessions Coordinating Committee (SCC) have planned for July 24-28 onto the many spaces we’ve negotiated access to.
Our visit this year was filled with stops at new-to-PYM spaces; we are so excited about that we’ve named them: Haus Home, the ‘open air worship space,’ the ‘Healing Center,’ the Film Screening Space, the Community Pool, and the atrium.
We’ve been supported in our work by TCNJ’s ambitious campus master plan improvements, and their conference support team is making sure that we benefit from the infrastructure overhauls TCNJ completed—for example much better internet connectivity in Brower Student Center. We’ve also negotiated dining and housing modifications that will better center our community in spaces they love.
Here are the highlights:
- DINING PRIVACY – All community lunches and dinners will be privately held in our own PYM space-the spacious and airy Brower Student Center.
- POOL – We have booked TCNJ’s full-sized pool for our community each Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 2-4 PM. That means adult Friends will be able to exercise or swim for relaxation at no extra cost.
- LIBRARY NEAR PLENARY – We moved the library set-up so that it’s more public – into the atrium next to our plenary space.
- HEALING SPACE – By moving the Library we could devote the old library space to a Center for the Healing Arts. Friends will have yoga, massage, meditation, and many other health-centered opportunities at a spot that will draw talented Friends with an interest in wellness.
- FAMILY SPACES at the Hausdoerfer Hall (which we’re shortening to “Haus Home” as the family home-base) will better facilitate outdoor and indoor gathering opportunities for resident families with children in the K-5 Children’s Sessions group. An afternoon in the family neighborhood looks like families enjoying the sunny yard together with water play and Legos, conversation and stories — just steps away from easy dorm-room downtime. Between 2:45-4:15, there will be the option for parents to sign children in with staff for more structured play time in the family neighborhood space, so that adults in the family can attend workshops or other opportunities.
- SOCIAL SCIENCES ATRIUM – a recently renovated sunshine-filled indoor space with chairs for lounging and reading anchors this new-to-PYM workshop accommodation space.
- OUTDOOR WORSHIP – Need we say more? There are new gardens and grounds we plan to make use of.
If all these aren’t reason enough to join Sessions – here is one more: Annual Sessions benefits the whole Quaker community by articulating Quaker practices and sharing tools and ideas. It’s also a time when we convene to support you! Come for the worship, workshops, networking, and business, & stay for the Quaker fellowship.
And…yes…the golf carts, tents, and programming we all love will be there, too.