Who is Young Adult Friends for?
PYM Young Adult Friends (YAF) is a community of Quakers, age 18-35ish, throughout the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting area. We are at different places on our journeys, and we come together for fellowship, rejuvenation, and to deepen our connection to one another & the Spirit. YAFs may be in college, in grad school, starting their first job, established in a career, seeking what they are called to do, unemployed, single, married. (Parents are welcome too, although family overnights are a separate program especially for parents with young children.)
Being a Young Adult Friend is a way you can self-identify – you don’t have to come to a certain number of events (or any events at all) to call yourself a YAF! It’s a way to identify a with a peer group in a faith tradition where many members are older.
YAFs include people who grew up Quaker, came to Quakerism as an adult, new Quakers, and everything in between! Our individual theologies are wide-ranging – we are theist, Christo-centric, non-theist, universalist, pagan, Jewish/Quaker, and others. That said, you should have some familiarity with Quakerism before you attend a YAF event. (If you’re curious about Quakers, try visiting a meeting or check out Friends General Conference’s Spiritual Deepening Program!)
For people coming from the Young Friends Program, you are welcome to start coming to YAF events the fall after you graduate from high school (or homeschool equivalent), provided you are at least 18. (If you want to come to PYM Annual Sessions as a Young Adult Friend, you need contact the YAF & YF Coordinators. There is not a round-the-clock YAF program at Annual Sessions.) Once you decide to come to a YAF event, you cannot go back to Young Friends. The YAF Winter Retreat is timed in early January so that many YAFs who are away at college (some of whom are recently graduated Young Friends) are home and can attend.
Many people also come to the YAF community in their 20s or even early 30s – when moving back after college, moving into the area for work or community, or when feeling the need for a spiritual community of peers. Young Adult Friends is a place you can drop into for spiritual renewal and fellowship at any time during your journey.
We say the YAF community goes until 35-ish, because Friends transition out of YAFs into the wider adult Quaker community at various times. Sometimes that’s when an individual’s connection to their monthly meeting grows strong, and meets the needs that were once met by the YAF community. Sometimes it’s when an individual’s focus is more on parenting. Sometimes it’s when an individual feels more drawn to spend their time in cross-generational Quaker community.
We are a community that is ever-changing, as many of our members transition into new roles and life stages. We’d love for you to be a part of it.
Young Adult Friends Mission Statement
The Young Adult Friends (YAF) program supports the spiritual vitality and community of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM) by creating programming specifically for young adult Friends (age 18-35-ish), as well as strengthening commitment and involvement of young adult Friends in PYM’s multigenerational community. We advocate for young adults within PYM and Quakerism, provide vision for programming that fosters spiritual fellowship, provide resources to young adults, and support to meetings engaging with young adults. We serve as an anchor for those transitioning into and out of our age range, as well as those living outside PYM’s geographic area who wish to remain connected.