The Youth Programs Sprint group has nearly completed its work to propose a vision, mission and governance structure for our yearly meeting’s youth programs. The Sprint group, through several iterations, looked at the history of our youth programs and considered their future. The Sprint group intentionally sought out voices that we don’t always hear from, including those of LGBTQ families, Friends of Color, and Friends involved in religious education at monthly and quarterly meetings. Voices of young people themselves were also included in the discernment process, and several members of the Young Friends community serve on the Sprint group.
Friends from across the yearly meeting are invited to read the proposal and to submit feedback to the Clerk of the Youth Programs Sprint, Kri Burkander, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Based on feedback, the proposal will be revised, and a final version will be brought to the April meeting of the Quaker Life Council. The proposal will also be included in advance documents for Continuing Sessions on Saturday March 24, where Friends will have an opportunity to give feedback during the Quaker Life Council report.
Kri Burkander, Clerk
Youth Programs Sprint
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting children, youth and their families will feel connected to and engaged with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) via programs and practices that provide for connection, engagement, and the invitation into deeper relationship with God.
PYM demonstrates our commitment to community, accessibility, and the foundation of our Quaker faith by working together to provide youth of all ages with opportunities for meaningful participation in our Quaker community and support for their spiritual journeys.
This mission is anchored in four pillars: Community, Accessibility, Quaker Faith and Values, and Meaningful Participation.
The first pillar is Community. We aim to provide youth, children, families, and seekers in our yearly meeting with opportunities to gather and be known to one another through shared experiences. We note that these opportunities may take place at either monthly, quarterly, or yearly meeting levels, and we are committed to supporting integration between and across these offerings. Additionally, our youth programs have the intention to nurture a sense of belonging and building supportive relationships within and among our youth, children, families, volunteers, and staff. To support this intention and these relationships, youth programs are structured to support the provision of pastoral care as appropriate by staff. Lastly, we recognize and celebrate the different youth communities within PYM and wish to nurture connections among them.
The second pillar is Accessibility. We aim to provide programs that are welcoming (with respect to race, physical ability, class, gender, familiarity with Quaker process, geographic location, or any other condition brought forward) with adequate support and accommodations that encourage participation by all. Our commitment to accessibility means that we recognize that the diversity within our community, as well as the broader community, strengthens us.
The third pillar is Quaker Faith and Values. Our programs are intended to invite all children, youth, and their families into deeper relationship with Spirit and nurture an understanding of our Quaker faith, traditions, and practice. Our programs provide youth with opportunities to grow spiritually, cultivate their leadership ability, learn and own Quaker process, and care for each other in loving community. We aim to nurture the capacity of youth to build Quaker faith communities and equip our youth to bear Quaker witness in the world.
The fourth pillar is Meaningful Participation. We are driven to provide children, youth, and their families with experiences that speak to their needs for exploration, knowledge, spiritual growth, and leadership development. We believe that these experiences provide children and youth with important skills as well as engendering a commitment to remain engaged with the Religious Society of Friends and this Yearly Meeting through the years.
Youth Programs Advisory Committee (“Y-PAC”)
A committee of Quaker Life Council.
Membership: 9 members
-Youth Engagement Coordinator (Melinda)
-Associate Secretary for Program and Religious Life (Zachary) – ex officio
-MSF youth representative
-YF youth representation
-at least one member of Youth Sprint III
3-at-large members suggested by Nominating Committee (approved by QLC)
In considering membership for this committee, attention should be paid to all aspects of diversity named above, including race, class, geographic location, and experience with Quakerism.
Youth members – at least one MSF and one YF who don’t necessarily serve as clerks (inviting new role as liaison to YPAC). Youth members may be active at any level of youth programming – monthly, quarterly, and/or yearly.
At large members are intended to provide outside voices that are not necessarily familiar to those on the YPAC or QLC, to ensure that youth programs are meeting the needs of all stakeholders. Guidance to Nominating should be to seek members from diverse parts of the YM, and those who bring the perspective of monthly and quarterly meetings, specifically those without Quarterly Meeting coordinators.
- This group should meet no less than 4 times per year, and be available for consultation as needed with the Youth Engagement Coordinator
- Support the staff and volunteers in carrying out the mission and vision of the PYM youth programs
- Serve as a sounding board for Youth Engagement Coordinator
- Ongoing evaluation of the MSF and YF guidelines to ensure that they still meet the needs of the group and serve to support the vision and mission of youth programs
- Support the organization and coordination of Youth Resource Friends
- Consult with Administrative Council on any matters related to Youth Program staff
- Provide policy guidance for staff and volunteers throughout the yearly meeting, including those related to child safety
- Assisting with communication between youth programming and various communities within the YM
- Regularly evaluate that the YM youth programs are supporting the Strategic Directions of the YM and that programs are serving the needs of youth (recommend surveying youth who are involved and those not involved to identify areas of improvement)