Youth Program News
As you all hopefully know, Baltimore Yearly Meeting provides opportunities for your children to gather during the school year. I am the Youth Secretary, and I facilitate weekend ‘conferences’ for 6th-8th graders, whom we call Junior Young Friends (JYFs), and 9th -12th graders, whom we call Young Friends (YFs). They are a fun way to see friends from camp or Annual Session, make new friends, and retreat from the pressures of teenage life, while still developing skills around living in community and having a lot of fun.
If your child is in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade, there are 4 JYF conferences this year and cost $40 each. They will be October 9th-10th at Alexandria Friends Meeting, December 4th-5th, March 12th-13th, and May 13th-15th at Catoctin Quaker Camp. (The December and March gatherings will hopefully be at Charlottesville Meeting and Stony Run Meeting.) The first three conferences begin at 10 am Saturday and end at 12 noon Sunday. The fourth and final conference begins on Friday night at 7pm and ends at 12 noon Sunday. The JYFs have chosen the theme of Sexuality this year and the conferences will follow “Our Whole Lives,” a values-based comprehensive sexuality curriculum published by the UU and UCC churches. While adults plan the program and meals at these conferences, JYFs are required to participate in cooking, cleaning, and making decisions that affect the group using Quaker process. Through the series of retreats, they learn how to worship and live their values.
If your child is in 9th-12th grade, there are 5 Young Friends conferences this year and cost $50 each. They will be September 24th-26th at Goose Creek Friends Meeting, November 26th-28th at Friends Meeting of Washington, February 11th-13th, sometime in April, and May 27th-29th (intended to be at Langley Hill Meeting). These conferences all begin at 7pm on Friday night and end at 12 noon on Sunday. The date, place, program, and food are all planned by Young Friends, and it serves as a leadership development program. These actions are carried out in conjunction with adults, whom we call Friendly Adult Presences, or FAPs. Weekend programming varies from tiedye to communicating in relationships to the state of the environment, and does a lot to prepare Young Friends for college. Please ask someone who has attended a few conferences to find out what this program has done for their spirituality and their life.