In coming to a Young Friends gathering, be prepared to fully participate in the community! This means sharing yourself and learning about others, working hard and having fun in a number of different ways. Never been to a Young Friends’ gathering before? Check out the weekend gathering, and Camp Onas gathering sample schedules, and read on to learn about some of the specific elements at every gathering that bring us all together.
Most Young Friends gatherings happen in meetinghouses of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting region. We sleep on the floor, prepare meals in the kitchen, and join the host meeting for worship on Sunday morning, getting to know a new space and community of PYM.
Lots of different activities happen at Young Friends gatherings, like workshops, worship, chores, and both structured and unstructured play-time. We gather for these activities both as one large group and in small groups, meeting as a whole group on the first night to get to know one-another and go over guidelines and schedule, and later for worship in the morning, announcements before meals and a full-group workshop. Everyone gets assigned to a small group for the whole gathering, with whom they meet each night for worship sharing as well as throughout the day for chores, like preparing or cleaning up after a meal, cleaning bathrooms, or tidying up after late-night snacks. We also often do some workshops in groups that split by interest.
In addition to the workshop and chores mentioned above, we typically have a large block of free time in which Young Friends can take a walk, play wink, relax with friends, or do homework.
When it’s bedtime each Young Friend has to find the person responsible for the bedtime headcount (usually the Assistant) and let them know that they are present before going to sleep! This check-in process usually starts around 11pm with the goal of being settled for bed by 11:30pm, but anyone can check-in and go to bed before that time if they so desire.
On the last morning of a gathering our goal is to pack up (even before going to breakfast!), clean the meetinghouse, close our time together as Young Friends, join the host meeting’s worship, and get lots of hugs as we depart to hold us until the next gathering!