The months leading to Annual Session 2022 will have a different feel for our Yearly Meeting’s Youth Programs. Staff are eager to seek ways to rebuild the program communities that have been impacted by the pandemic. Decreasing attendance in youth programming is a trend that’s existed in US yearly meetings, however the pandemic has put into sharp relief the concerns. While PYM staff and volunteers have been consistently (and valiantly) creative and resourceful with online programming, outreach to youth and families, and gathering in person when possible, we need to rebuild community and connection. Let’s do this together, Friends!
Stay tuned — we’re just getting started!
In winter/spring 2022, Youth Programs won’t build the same kind of calendar of events as we have in the past.
A few events are going forward as planned (winter and spring Family Overnights for the Children & Families program in February and May) and some new ones are emerging organically and in partnership with other Quaker organizations (an April youth clerking workshop hosted by FGC). On the whole, staff will focus on outreach and visitation with local and Quarterly meetings. They’ll be traveling to you to attend worship, share fellowship, and spread the word about the Yearly Meeting’s programs for children, youth, and families, and the spaces they create to connect with other young Friends.
We are also exploring how we can encourage and embody intergenerational spiritual community in PYM.
Youth Programs staff have planned and facilitated the children/youth programs at past local meeting and Quarterly meeting retreats, and hope to do more as a way to support Friends in community and re-gather our youth community! A gift of the pandemic is the opportunity to rethink, “that’s the way we’ve always done it,” and our local meeting communities might consider how a more intentional intergenerational focus in worship and meeting life serves to invite more active family and youth participation. If you’re a meeting who is doing this — invite staff to come learn from you! If you’re interested in this idea and not sure where to begin, be in touch!
One of the gifts of the Youth Program staff is skillful modeling that everyone belongs, and all voices can be heard and included. Out of this energy one new idea that we’re exploring is the creation of affinity groups to amplify the positive experience of affinity groups like the LGBTQ+ community within the Youth Programs community. Other ideas we are exploring include a week-long “camp” model of program for youth in early summer, and future parenting workshops. Stay tuned — we’re just getting started!
Youth Programs also staff joyfully announce that we’ve welcomed Clare Chalkley to our team
Youth Programs also staff joyfully announce that we’ve welcomed Clare Chalkley to our team as Co-Facilitator of the Young Friends program. Clare (she/her) will work closely with Co-Facilitator Aeryn Luminkith to support the Young Friends (high school youth) community. There was a strong candidate pool of Quaker youth workers for this position.
Clare’s background includes studies at Guilford College (B.A. with honors in History and minors in Visual Arts-Drawing and Quaker Studies), and years on staff with the Baltimore Yearly Meeting camp programs. She is experienced in program development and has run workshops and facilitated open conversations with youth about gender, race, and class, especially in relation to Quaker beliefs. She is committed to social justice education and is fluent in English and Spanish. Former colleagues describe her as dedicated, funny, committed, and thoughtful.
Clare shared with us, “I’m excited to help create a space that will nurture high schoolers mentally and spiritually as well. My number one priority is the well-being of children and teenagers, to ensure their physical safety, to make them feel supported and heard, and develop their spiritual growth.”
Contact us using the form below if your local meeting or Quarter is interested in support from creative, talented youth workers at a future retreat or event!