Over the weekend of February 20-21, our Middle School Friends (Grades 6-8) and Young Friends (high school) program communities were busy gathering for fellowship, worship, learning, and laughing. We welcomed new participants and re-connected with friends we’re hoping to see in person again soon.
See below reports from staff and some of the artistic fruits of their labors! Gratitude to the MSF staff, Alix Vallery, Elizabeth Croce, and Kristin Simmons, and the Young Friends staff, Aeryn Luminkith and Olivia Chalkley, for their care and shepherding of these communities over the weekend and during the challenging months of the pandemic!
Young Friends co-hosted a youth summit for teens across the continent along with Illinois Yearly Meeting and Friends General Conference. “The Quake That Rocked the Continent” was the second youth summit to bring together a wider community of youth; the December summit was also attended by PYM youth.
Saturday afternoon started with icebreakers, followed by small group discussions of regional differences in Quaker practice: Young Friends discussed what worship looks like in each of their meetings, the most important parts of youth retreats, and their favorite snacks to have at gatherings. Saturday evening, youth reconvened for racial affinity groups, where they had powerful discussions and built connections. The rest of the evening consisted of community building over games like TeeK.O. (see the fun tee-shirt pictures that were created!).
On Sunday, the group came together again for a wonderful workshop by artist Joey Hartman-Dow, who led Young Friends in an energetic gifts-discernment exercise and a self-portrait project. The time together closed with worship sharing. The summit was a meaningful and joyful time for participants, and Young Friends enjoyed getting to know their peers from coast-to-coast. Young Friends also held their own program time over breakfast on Saturday and Sunday to meet in committees and hold a fruitful Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business.
Middle School Friends
Middle School Friends gathered to learn about and reflect on immigration issues that are relevant in our current time. After an amazing cooking lesson from Chef Alix – homemade empanadas! – two middle school Friends from Providence Monthly Meeting shared their story of working to educate others about the injustices happening at the US/Mexico border.
Their presentation illustrated the work that their First Day program has done over the past few years — from concern to action! Our time together concluded with a refugee simulation exercise that allowed for the opportunity to consider the perspective of those fleeing war and searching for a safer life in another country.
What’s next for Youth Programs? We’ll be together throughout Spring Continuing Sessions weekend. Register soon to receive the materials for an eco-friendly craft project together on Saturday!