Happy summertime, Friends! In the coming weeks, children and teens will be done with school and families will shift into summer routines. I’ll be back in touch in August with ideas for looking forward to the Fall, and if you’re ready to start thinking in that direction this planning guide is still a good place to begin this summer. The resources and events offered below for June and July include Juneteenth, FGC’s “YAY!” gathering, and what’s for families and youth at our Annual Sessions. I hope you will pass them along to families and youth in your meetings and communities!
New Opportunities in Youth Programs
Youth Programs Staff are focusing on outreach and visitation with local and Quarterly meetings, to support Friends in community and re-gather our wider PYM youth community. They will travel to your meeting 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. Youth Programs staff have planned and facilitated the children/youth programs at local meeting and Quarterly meeting retreats and hope to do more! Request a visit here.
We’re hiring a Youth Engagement Coordinator! This staff person plays a leadership role in framing, articulating and championing a vision for youth, children, and families in our yearly meeting community that inspires, connects and strengthens. Read the position description and pass it along to someone you think would be great!
While my position has shifted to being Director of Programs and holding care for our community across ages and ministries, I will continue to focus my own program portfolio in religious education. This includes collecting and sharing the resources in the Tote Bag e-newsletter with Friends, and looking forward to hosting a Religious Education and Youth Work Thread Gathering this Fall!
June and July Events for Youth & Families
- PrideFest Kids, teens and families are invited on Tuesday, June 14 from 6:00—7:30PM at the Abington Free Library. Celebrate Pride Month with crafts, music, food, giveaways, community organizations and partners, a story corner, and meet local authors.
- Juneteenth Celebration at Johnson House Historic Site, a National Historic Landmark, Underground Railroad Station, and Center for Social Advocacy on Saturday, June 18, 2022, 12pm – 6pm.
- Historic Fair Hill offers programming in early literacy, community building, advocacy based history and urban greening in the Fairhill neighborhood of North Philadelphia.
- Historic Fair Hill’s Summer Youth Internship looks amazing — a summer of learning about leadership, urban gardening, & community activism. Open to students entering 6th – 12th grade.
- Movie Night at Arch Street Meeting House on Friday, July 1 at 8:00pm. Explore Old City and catch a showing of the moving Independence Day (1996) — a special 4th of July weekend movie night!
- Friends General Conference (FGC) is hosting the YAY Gathering — an in-person event for Quaker Young Adults, Youth & Families hosted by FGC’s Junior Gathering, High School and Adult Young Friend Committees. Children, parents, youth & young adults are invited to join, Wednesday, July 6 – Sunday, July 10 at Radford University in Virginia. More information and registration. Link to the YAY Gathering Flyer to share!
Books and Resources
Book collections from organizations like “Colours of Us” are invaluable resources. In June, for Pride Month they are offering an updated list of multicultural children’s books featuring LGBTQIA characters (although these books are of course relevant all year round!)
The events of the last few weeks and gun violence in the news are not new, but may have created renewed anxiety for children and youth. PYM published, “Supporting Children and Teens After Violent News” hoping to provide support to families and adults who care for children and youth.
What ways do we share with young people practices with meditation and centering? At my own meeting on a recent Sunday, we shared a “Pebble Meditation” based on the work of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh and his book, A Handful of Quiet, part of the Plum Village community’s practice with children. This lovely video shows an example of the method, and this free lesson plan extends the meditation.
Anti-racism Learning and Action
The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States by Alliah L. Agostini
Hot off the presses, this new children’s book about Juneteenth covers American history from 1776, “The story of Juneteenth started hundreds of years before it was ever celebrated,” to the events of summer 2020 and, “On June 17, 2021, over 150 years since the first Jubilee Day, it was made an official American Holiday.” The story in between centers the experience of Black Americans seeking freedom before and after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. A timeline and author’s note help to make this an accessible introduction to the Juneteenth history and holiday. (For adults, see: “What Is Juneteenth?”)
What’s for Families and Youth at Annual Sessions?
So glad you asked! This summer there are events for fun, fellowship, and learning that are happening during and before the week of July 26-31. There’s something for everyone to connect with in our wider Quaker community, including…
Fun and Fellowship! Quaker Fun Day on July 22 (Noon-5pm) at Arch Street Meetinghouse in Philadelphia is an invitation for all ages to come and play! There will be games, concessions, and time for fellowship with friends at our “Quaker carnival.” In the afternoon, there will be a guided walking tour of Old City with stops at various Quaker-specific sites guided by Arch Street Meetinghouse staff. Bring a picnic lunch or come later in the afternoon for picnic dinner on the lawn before keynote speaker Eppchez Yes shares an interactive workshop/performance for all ages (5-7pm).
Affinity and Relationships! On Saturday, July 23, Affinity Groups will meet during times across the day. These online gatherings will include spaces for conversation and the groups will be spread out across the day to enable joining more than one you may identify with.
Intergenerational Bible Study! For three mornings, Thursday-Saturday 9-9:30am, a Godly Play story will be shared and we’ll wonder together – theological reflection for ALL ages! Godly Play stories are a way to explore the Bible in the context of continuing revelation. Come and wonder together.
Connections with other parents on Friday evening of July 29, from 9-9:30 pm, people who are parenting children ages 0-18 are invited to join for worship sharing and conversation. Watch for more information after you register for Sessions.
Worship: All Together! Our PYM community of all ages will gather for worship across our meetinghouses and homes, in person or online, in a Giant Meeting for Worship on Sunday, July 31 (9:45-10:30am) Coming together across ages, miles, and internet connections, we hope to be a community gathered in the spirit.
Watch for the postcard coming to homes with more details!
Featured image from Pixabay.com