The Young Friends program is directed by a dynamic collaboration of youth and adult leadership. Young Friends provides an opportunity for youth to experiment in and learn about leadership in a way that is distinctive to the Quaker community and also translates to a wide variety of contexts. Youth lead in a number of capacities, like facilitating workshops, coming up with a proposal for Business Meeting, teaching a song or game to the group, or facilitating worship sharing. There are also several official positions of leadership for youth, outlined below. Additionally, adults who are committed to learning and engaging in Quaker youth work have the opportunity to take on positions of support and leadership as a Friendly Adult Presence or in one of the roles outlined below.
Nurturing Committee and Permanent Nurturers
The Nurturing Committee is a group of Young Friends (accompanied by the Youth Programs Assistant) who hold a care for the well-being of individuals and the community with particular attention to worship sharing at gatherings. Nurturing Committee meets during lunch at most gatherings – any interested Young Friend may attend these meetings. Additionally, a group of Permanent Nurturers who are able and committed to caring for the community is discerned each year. This group attends Nurturing Committee during gatherings and engages in caring for the community between gatherings in concert with the Young Friends Program Coordinator and Youth Programs Assistant.
The Young Friends Clerks serve as the youth leadership team of the Young Friends community, communicating regularly with the Coordinator between gatherings, and assisting to prepare and lead various aspects of the gatherings, like an opening program,. Young Friends annually discerns clerks for a number of different potential positions:
- Clerk – The Young Friends Clerk or co-Clerks have cared for the Young Friends Business Meeting, which takes place during at least four gatherings throughout the year. The Clerk can also serve as a representative of the Young Friends community, speaking for it at Annual Sessions or in meetings with others in the PYM community.
- Recording Clerk – The Recording Clerk works in concert with the Clerk(s) to prepare the Young Friends Business Meeting and is responsible for taking minutes at Business Meetings and submitting them to the Coordinator
- Nurturing Committee Clerk – The Nurturing Committee Clerk is responsible for representing the Nurturing Committee by explaining its function at each gathering and inviting others to participate, as well as facilitating and setting the tone for Nurturing Committee meetings.
The Adult Clerk of Young Friends serves as a reference person for the Young Friends clerking team on Quaker Business and Clerking practices. The Adult Clerk attends most Young Friends gatherings as a Friendly Adult Presence and participates in the life of the community.