Youth Program Coordinator Epistle VII
Liaisons, Clerks, and Representatives: Please distribute this epistle widely. Consider reading it aloud at Meeting for Business and/or including it in your newsletter. Thanks!
Dear Pacific Yearly Meeting Friends,
Winter greetings. I’m writing now to share how we of many ages in our Yearly Meeting have been traveling together through these seasons of renewal. Since my epistle last Spring, I’ve continued visiting Meetings and serving as a resource for the planning committees of our Quarterly Meetings, Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM), and local events such as the fall Harvest Festival in Palo Alto and the upcoming Spring Youth Work Camp at Quaker Oaks Farm.
I’ve especially concentrated on extended visits to Southern California Quarterly Meeting:
- In March, I visited San Diego and La Jolla Meetings in conjunction with the PYM Representative Committee Meeting. In April, I attended the SCQM Spring Gathering in Riverside, CA and its service project to clean up the land at Inland Valley Meeting’s future site. I then visited and worshiped with Friends at Inland Valley, La Jolla, Orange County, Orange Grove, Santa Monica, Marloma Long Beach, and Conejo Valley.
- In the summer, I visited Santa Barbara Meeting and proceeded down to La Jolla for the first annual Peace Action Camp, a new Quaker Center camp that trains teens in nonviolent direct action and community organizing; Jim Summers and Mary Klein of our Youth Program Committee also helped Stephen Myers (Quaker Center Camps Director and JYM Adult Clerk) run the camp, which will again be held in La Jolla in July 2013.
- In the fall, I was able to visit Las Vegas and Claremont, and to participate in the SCQM Clerk’s Meeting. Fall Fellowship at Temescal Canyon was beautiful, not only in weather and landscape, but also in the ways that SCQM is nurturing gifts and relationships among its age groups: one plenary session included a teen and adult panelists on the topic of “Creating the Meeting You Want to Belong To,” and teen clerks led an activity for all that they had learned in a clerking workshop at Quaker Center. I offered a interest group there on “Becoming an Adult Ally to Youth,” in which Friends explored what it has meant in their own lives to have (or not have) allies and to act as an ally; we then shared ideas for an action we each could take toward supporting Quaker youth.
Similarly, College Park Quarter continues to experiment with ways to strike a balance between intergenerational and age-divided activity. The CPQM teen program’s adult committee hosted an all-ages plenary in the Fall in which children, teens, and adults were taken on a progressive guided visualization of the passion they had/have/might-have as a teenager and then asked to share with “a person of a different decade.” After multiple rounds, participants had met and shared stories with a number Friends they hadn’t known well before. Afterwards, many talked of (re)connecting with a fire within.
Exciting progress continues to happen with the support of our Youth Program. JYM was enriched by a full set of experienced Friendly Adult Presences (FAPs) at the Annual Gathering, many of whom had attended one of our FAP workshops in the last two years. Both Quarterly Meetings also found plenty of adult volunteers for their Fall gatherings and benefited from continued growth in youth leadership. FAPs are super-important to our ability to host safe events for teens, and serving as a FAP can be a lot of fun: you get to meet some wonderful Friends and participate in program activities as well.
Being an adult ally to youth, though, goes way beyond ‘just’ serving as a chaperon. There are many other ways that Friends are supporting youth besides volunteering to hang out all day or night with them. Committees, workgroups, and logistical support are also critical for making programs possible. For example, eleven Friends (adults and teens) from six Meetings are working together to create a new event, the Spring Youth Work Camp at Quaker Oaks Farm in Visalia this coming March, with the support of our Youth Program and PYM’s Unity With Nature Committee. The camp’s theme is “Land Use and Sustainability” and will include building an outdoor amphitheater, rebuilding a sweat lodge with youth from the local Wukchumni tribe, taking field trips nearby, and learning about local land use issues. Friends also act as allies to youth by making sure they know about upcoming events, showing them how to register, helping them through the process of asking for financial support, coordinating transportation, or acting as sponsors for minors who attend events without their parents/guardians. Friends donate to scholarship funds for youth to attend gatherings or to support the youth programs at Sierra Friends Center / Woolman, Quaker Center, AFSC, FCNL, and FCLCA. And Friends act as allies in their own Meetings simply by greeting the children, teens, and young adults by name, or by having authentic two-way conversations about each other’s ongoing spiritual and worldly journeys.
Be on the lookout for announcements soon about two Adult Ally / FAP Workshops that we will be offering in April 2013, one in Sacramento and one in the Los Angeles area. In the workshop, participants learn from the experiences of other Friends and about best practices and resources to support youth, promote youth leadership, and develop appropriate adult-youth relationships.
Also, there’s still time to sign up for the Western Young Friends New Year’s Gathering (open to all ages) or the Quaker Center Year-End Retreat (also open to all ages). Another celebration of endings and beginnings is the Woolman Semester Baccalaureate and Graduation each Fall and Spring; open to the public, these Woolman events showcase the students’ favorite projects and are a time of storytelling and moving toward the dreamed-of future. The attached calendar lists details for these events and more.
We continue to publish regularly in Western Friend and are encouraging youth to make submissions. The recent November issue includes two such articles: one is a report co-authored by teen Brooke Lyons-Justus (Strawberry Creek) with adult Elizabeth Boardman (Davis), describing their experiences of the August “Seeking Spirit All Together” Workshop at Quaker Center that was co-facilitated by Nate Secrest and me; the other is by JYM Co-Clerks Clare Griese (La Jolla), Emma Castanedo (La Jolla), and Augie Brinker (Santa Cruz), reporting about their service project at Petaluma Bounty Farm and plans for the coming year. In related news, Mary Klein (Palo Alto), who serves on our YPC Supervisory Committee, has been named the new Editor/Executive Director of Western Friend! I look forward to working closely with Mary as we build on the strong foundation laid by Kathy Hyzy and the Western Friend Board to expand the ways we amplify youth voices and reach young ears and eyes throughout the West.
At PYM’s 2012 Annual Session, our Youth Program Coordinator experimental period was extended through September 2013 to give us time to more fully implement the program and evaluate its impacts. Our committee is currently conducting a thorough and deliberate evaluation of the program, which we will first present to Representative Committee in March and then to PYM’s Annual Session in July/August 2013. At the moment, we are grateful to be working with your Meetings and Worship groups across California and Nevada in discerning how to continue supporting youth and intergenerational community into the future. Please make sure your Meeting or Worship Group has received the set of queries we emailed to clerks and representatives in November for you to collectively consider and respond to by February 1st (email responses to Lanny Jay, Redwood Forest, landbird [at] comcast [dot] net). Online at: http://www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/2012/pym-docs/ypc/evaluation-queries-nov2012/.
Meanwhile, we have conducted two focus groups with teens and FAPs (one at each Fall Quarterly Meeting) to evaluate our program, and we are interviewing a number of individual Friends. As always, we welcome your ideas, so feel free to send them to me or your favorite, friendly neighborhood Youth Program Committee member, including Cara Arcuni, Elizabeth Boardman, Clare Griese, Lanny Jay, Mary Klein, Steve Leeds, Jim Summers, Kate Watkins (Clerk), and Nathan Walker.
In this season of reflection, I recommend you to further reading about our program. To learn more about our accomplishments in the past year, go to our July 2012 annual report at: http://www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/2012/pym-docs/ypc/ypc-joint-report-to-2012-pym/. And to learn about our exciting new Spring Youth Work Camp, please see: http://www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/2012/pym-docs/ypc/spring-youth-work-camp-2013/.
Wishing you peace, joy, and harmony,
Alyssa Nelson, Youth Program Coordinator, Pacific Yearly Meeting
Join our Facebook Page: “Pacific Yearly Meeting Youth Programs”
*Intergenerational and youth-focused activities in PYM and beyond*
Email pym.youthcoordinator [at] gmail [dot] com to have youth events included on the PYM calendar.
Please support teens and young adults in your area to attend events by helping them register, figure out payment and/or scholarships, and arrange transportation.
- December 14 & 15: Woolman Fall Semester Baccalaureate & Graduation (Sierra Friends Center, Nevada City CA): Students present their favorite pieces of work from this semester and celebrate graduation with the community. All are welcome. Woolman Semester is now accepting applications for 2013 & 2014. http://semester.woolman.org/
- December 27 – January 1: Year-End Retreat at Quaker Center http://www.quakercenter.org/
- December 28 – January 2: Western Young Friends New Year’s Gathering at Camp Myrtlewood in Southern Oregon. All ages welcome. http://www.newyearsgathering.org/
- January 19 (plus teen overnight on Saturday): College Park Quarterly Meeting (Palo Alto, CA) http://collegepark.quaker.org [SCQM Friends are always invited, but especially this time since the Joshua Tree Campout isn’t happening.]
- January 26: Woolman Semester Spring 2013 begins. http://woolman.org/
- February 15-18: FLGBTQC MidWinter Gathering (Honesdale, PA – Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns) “In addition to full participation in the adult program, high-school-aged … attenders will have time for peer-based support, connection, and fun, supported by a team of experienced youth workers.” https://sites.google.com/site/midwinter2013/home/children-teens-and-families
- March 1-2: PYM Representative Committee Meeting and JYM Planning Meeting (Santa Cruz, CA)
- March 25-31: Spring Workcamp at Quaker Oaks Farm (Visalia, CA), with PYM Unity With Nature and the Youth Program Coordinator & Committee. Contact Melissa Lovett-Adair, mladair [at] charter [dot] net. http://www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/2012/pym-docs/ypc/spring-youth-work-camp-2013
- April (dates pending): FAP / Adult Ally Workshops, one in Sacramento and one in Los Angeles area, with the PYM Youth Program Coordinator and experienced adult allies to youth.
- April 20: Spring Clean Day at Woolman: Volunteer in the garden, forest, and other sites around campus. http://woolman.org/
- April 27 (plus teen overnight): Southern California Quarterly Meeting in Irvine, CA (Orange County Meeting). http://scqm.org/
- May 18-20: College Park Quarterly Meeting (at Quaker Center): http://collegepark.quaker.org/
- May 24 & 25: Woolman Spring Semester Baccalaureate & Graduation: http://semester.woolman.org/
- June 16-23: Woolman Family Work Camp http://woolman.org/
- June 30-July 6: Friends General Conference (Greeley, CO) “At the Growing Edges of our Faith” http://www.fgcquaker.org/connect/gathering
- July 3-18: El Salvador Service Learning Trip for ages 14 and up. Young adults especially encouraged to sign up as the trip expands to be more intergenerational. http://www.pafmelsalvadorprojects.org/servicetrips.htm
- Summer: Camp Woolman (Nevada City, CA): Online registration for Summer 2013 opens soon. http://camp.woolman.org/dates-rates
- Teen Leadership Camp (ages 15-16), three sessions: 6/30-7/13, 7/14-27, 7/28-8/10.
- Sierra Friends Camp (ages 9-14), six sessions between June and August.
- Mini Camp (ages 6-9), June 27-29.
- Summer: Quaker Center Youth Camps (Ben Lomond, CA) http://www.quakercenter.org/
- Quaker Camp (4th-6th grade) and Service Camp (7th-9th grade) run concurrently, June 29-July 7.
- Peace Action Camp: outdoor adventure and nonviolent direct action for rising 10th through 12th graders, held in La Jolla, CA, July 21-27.
- Note: Quaker Center’s annual passes can be applied to camp!
- July 29-August 3: PYM Annual Session, Mount Madonna, Watsonville CA http://www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/
- Year-Round: Quaker Center Workshops are open to Friends of all ages – a great opportunity for intergenerational learning in community– and childcare is available. Annual passes (for individuals and Meetings) are good for a full year from date of purchase. Buy two and send a youth-adult pair to each workshop! See website for information about upcoming topics, such as Participating in God’s Future for Friends, Reading the Bible with Friends, and living our testimony on Unity. http://www.quakercenter.org/