Photo: Young Friends (high school group) together in program on Thursday, July 3
This year, we start our Sessions days with all-ages worship and All Together Time on Zoom. In the last part of the hour of worship, Youth Programs staff transition us from waiting worship to All Together Time. This is when we do something all together in a worship space that uses our spirits and bodies and connects us with one another. When we gather for Annual Sessions, we are an all-ages spiritual community, even in virtual spaces.
Using Zoom allows us to widen the circle who gathers, even though we are more limited in our opportunities to be all together across ages. In other years, we are in multigenerational spaces for worship, at meals, riding golf carts, and in the Family Neighborhood. The experience of being part of a “family” of Friends of different generations is grounding for young people and good for all of our spirits.
While we are not gathering across generations as often this summer, Youth Programs are finding times to connect and be in community with each other. On Wednesday afternoon, everyone gathered for an opening program filled with introductions, games, and breakout spaces for each program group to respond to the prompt, “We Are . . . ” Their collected responses are below, starting with Children K-5th Grade, then Middle School Friends, and Young Friends.
We are PYM — all of us.
We Are... We are young people, Pokémon trainers, some of us are 5. We are fun, joyful, big kids. We are the color sky blue, a kiwi fruit, a sweet potato, animal lovers, happy people. We are in quarantine. We are us! We are Middle School Friends We are between the ages of 10 and 14 We are a community We are not the youngest ones We hang out most of the time We are young teenagers We are stronger together I guess we are the future, because we will grow up into adults, and the youth is always and will always be this. Embarking on a new journey. A welcoming group of (F)riends. In and of the Divine. A gathering of old Friends and new Friends, younger generations and older. Standing together united. A found family and friends of Frank. A growing and caring community. Not just tolerating, accepting. Living and learning. Socially distant but still connected. Fabulous and well hydrated. Celebrating differences -- bring it on. We are better together.