This year has been a joyous one for the Youth Programs Committee (YPC). Alison Duncan served her first full year as Youth Secretary; we expanded our Friendly Adult Presence (FAP) training program; and the youth of our Yearly Meeting once again demonstrated enormous commitment to the program and its governance. Although we still feel ourselves under the weight of concerns from the rest of the Yearly Meeting, we know we must be doing something right!
We see our Young Friends being empowered to make good decisions, and growing into amazing leaders in the Yearly Meeting, at Quaker colleges, and in work with other Quaker organizations. Once again, BYM had more students accepted into Guilford’s Quaker Leadership Scholars Program than any other Yearly Meeting. Within their own community, the Young Friends have labored this year with developing their support/clearness committee process to help those who are dealing with difficult issues or who have broken conference guidelines. Members of executive committee attended a clerking workshop at Pendle Hill, and have brought what they learned back to further enrich the Quaker practice at conferences.
Alison Duncan has been an amazing asset to the Committee and to the programs themselves. She is very conscious of the requirements of her job, and of the needs of the young people she serves. She offers loving support and guidance as needed for both the Young Friends and the Junior Young Friends. Her work facilitating connections with other Quaker youth groups has also been invaluable. As a Committee we could only ask for more of Alison’s time, and we hope that she will be made a full-time employee in the coming year to expand on the work she is doing so well.
Our FAP training program has been growing. In the past year, A FAP training has been held at Herndon Monthly Meeting, attended both by adults interested in working with BYM’s Young Friends and Junior Friends, and by those interested in learning more about the programs themselves. Several new FAPs have started attending conferences as a result of these training sessions, holding the space for our vibrant youth community. We see FAPing as a wonderful opportunity for adults, both parents and non-parents, to develop lasting intergenerational relationships and engage with the fabulous young people of our Yearly Meeting. As the r
As we look forward to the coming year, we hope as always for broader participation in our youth programs. We hope that Young Friends and Junior Young Friends conferences can be accessible to anyone who wishes to attend through scholarships, and that all our Monthly Meetings can encourage their middle- and high-school-age children to attend BYM youth events. Our youth programs are vital to the current and future health of the Yearly Meeting, and as a Committee, we see very clearly the impact they can have in the lives of Friends both young and old.