Support Families with Young Children at Annual Sessions

Annual Sessions, Children, PYM

Do you carry a concern for the needs of parents with young children?

Do you yearn for more support for families to be in Quaker spaces?

Are you led to support families with young children attending Sessions?

Register to stay in the Family Neighborhood!

Volunteer to help set-up and support this space for Families!

The Family Neighborhood is a residential and social area at Annual Sessions designed to help meet the particular needs of families with children. Children at Annual Sessions participate in morning and evening program in the Fry group (child care for infants to age 4) and the K-5 Fox and Fisher groups. This year, the Family Neighborhood will be housed in a new space, Hausdoerffer Hall, which we’re affectionately calling, “Haus Home.” The first-floor lounge will be “home base” for Families at Sessions. The dormitory includes suites of rooms on the first floor that sleep up to six, with a bathroom and small kitchen in the suite. The first floor also has free laundry.

Through a mixture of structured opportunities and informal connection, the Family Neighborhood creates a warm space for caregivers and their families to form peer circles and establish mutually supportive relationships. There will be a Family Picnic and Meetup on the patio and backyard of “Haus Home” on Friday evening, July 26, for Families and Youth Program participants. Throughout Sessions, the Family Neighborhood lounge will be a place to meet, relax, play, and connect with friends. Afternoons at Sessions this year are designed to be more open — with options in community (workshops, worship sharing) and also relaxation and self-care (naps!). During the afternoon time, children and families will find art supplies, books, a bin of Legos in the lounge — and water play outside — for creative play and a space to “chill out” together with adult supervision.

When my children were small (they are now in MSF and Young Friends), we started the Family Neighborhood to support one another and be in community at Sessions. (It’s also a great example of sharing among Friends — the idea is adapted from what New England YM does at their Sessions.) Families could leave notes for each other and plan to meet for meals. Parents could share kid watching and be able to attend a workshop (or take a nap!). We would put our kids to bed at night and spend time talking, laughing, gathering in a wider Quaker family community than many of us experience in our local meetings. Those friendships are still a core of my experience in PYM.

We are seeking Friends who are led to help make the Family Neighborhood a safe, welcoming & nurturing space. If you are interested in contributing to our community at Annual Sessions in this way, please contact me! mwennerbradley@pym.org and 215-241-7171

Melinda Wenner Bradley, Youth Religious Life Coordinator