Report to Representative Committee
March 2-4, 2012
Youth Program Coordinator & Supervisory Committee
Pacific Yearly Meeting
After a bit of a slow start and a hard year of developing solid working relationships among us and of creating a functioning infrastructure, we knew we had faithfully followed the expected learning curve up to new high ground. In August 2011, the Youth Program Coordinator Supervisory Committee hired a new Coordinator (YPC) and moved into the second operative year. Alyssa Nelson replaced Sarah Beutel on August 1, 2011 and has worked closely with the Supervisory Committee to launch an invigorated phase for the youth program of Pacific Yearly Meeting.
Committee members have particular roles according to their strength and light, and work hard to support the Coordinator and the Program. This year we are meeting by conference call every first and third Wednesday and in person twice a year. Kate Watkins (Santa Monica, SCQM) is our committee clerk and meeting convener. Lanny Jay (RedwoodForest, PYM M&O) handles our legal and government relations. Mary Klein (Palo Alto, parent) is our program supervisor, in touch with Alyssa weekly. Elizabeth Boardman (Davis, CPQM) is our operations supervisor and liaison to PYM; she also talks with Alyssa often.
Cara Arcuni (Palo Alto) is our Young Adult Friend. Jim Summers (La Jolla) and Steve Leeds (San Francisco), both past FAPs and teen committee members, are more recent additions to the committee. The PYM Presiding Clerk (Marilee Euseibo, Davis MM) is ex-officio and keeps up to date on our work. Teen members who were added mid-term last year participated but then had to drop out because of work or school. We are working on filling these slots again and continuing to experiment with ways to effectively involve younger Friends on committees.
Junior Yearly Meeting members and teens at Quarterly gatherings have mostly been responsive and enthusiastic about this tangible support from PYM via the Youth Program Coordinator and our committee. Teens continue to connect more with adult Friends and each other, to reach out to incoming fellow teens, to identify their own program goals, and to work through some of the challenges in their own programs. Still perplexing us all is the problem of transportation to events that do not include car-driving parents; the difficulty in finding weekends and school breaks that work for enough teens so that an event can become viable; and the challenge of communicating, organizing, and planning with teens and adults who are geographically spread out and who often have many other commitments.
The YPC Committee has updated and refined our program goals and objectives (attached below), personnel policies, budget and accounting systems, benefits package, and support and supervision protocols, so that now, after a year and three quarters with an employee, we have worked out most of the logistical problems.
Completing these administrative tasks has freed us to support the Coordinator more in the program work. For example, she has conducted a number of visits to Meetings (10 of our 33 Meetings in CA and NV in the course of 7 months, plus a planned visit to San Diego Meeting the weekend of Representative Committee Meeting), and she has attended both SCQM and CPQM gatherings. In the near future she intends to spend an extended period inSouthern California. We have heard some calls for more directive participation from the Coordinator alongside some insistence that the Coordinator not do for others what they can do for themselves.
Alyssa has aided College Park Quarter to implement more intergenerational programming and to continue to grow its teen program; Southern California Quarter has begun to avail itself of the YPC as a resource. Alyssa has served as a resource, catalyst, interpreter, and networker for multiple committees of the Yearly Meeting and Quarterly Meetings, including JYM, PYM’s Peace & Social Order, PYM’s Racial Justice Subcommittee of M&O, PYM’s Electronic Communications Subcommittee of M&O, CPQM’s M&O, CPQM’s Teen Committee, and SCQM’s Quaker Adventures (teen program), as well as Quaker Center and Sierra Friends Center. In January, Alyssa participated in a visioning meeting about the structure of PYM and the Annual Gathering with the Presiding Clerk and committee clerks of M&O, Experimentation and Implementation Subcommittee, Representatives Support Subcommittee, and the Quarterly M&O/M&C’s of SCQM and CPQM.
Our committee and Alyssa regularly document the program’s outputs and evolution through staff reports, meeting notes, memos, epistles, and publications. Alyssa regularly submits to Western Friend’s “Youth Program Corner” and sends out a quarterly epistle. Led by Mary Klein, our committee interviewed teens, young adults, and older adults and wrote an article that is slated to come out in Friends Journal’s “Membership and the Generation Gap” themed issue in April.
With much help from Don Bean (ConejoValley, PYM Electronic Communications), Alyssa has been working to develop a youth program section on the PYM website. So far it is mostly a compilation of documents, and just recently she and Don added the beginnings of an events calendar. Already on that calendar are the upcoming teen retreat in Palo Alto (March 23-25); a workshop for adults called “Being an Ally to Youth as a Friendly Adult Presence (FAP) and Beyond” in Palo Alto (March 24, to be repeated in Southern California); and a workshop for youth and adults on “Seeking Spirit All Together: Intergenerational Faith, Fun & Fellowship” at Quaker Center (August 10-12). We are hoping that with Alyssa’s support the SCQM Quaker Adventures program will organize an overnight for the otherwise 1-day Spring Quarter at Inland Valley Meeting on April 28th. We are seeking suggestions for a date and location for the Southern California FAP/Adult Ally Workshop.
As the program begins to grow and evolve, we are also obligated to reflect on its successes and limitations, and to plan for a comprehensive evaluation and discernment process about the program’s future. Thus, we are bringing a proposal to Representative Committee about the timeline of the YPC “Experiment.” Clarity about the end-date is necessary for financial, programmatic, and administrative reasons, as well as good order. Although the YPC position was approved at Annual Gathering in 2009 and although the budget year started on October 1, 2009, we had no employee or program expenses and no programming until April 1, 2010. So this “three year experiment” might be said to end on March 31, 2013.
However, that would be an awkward end-date, as the YPC would at that time be deeply involved in setting up the program for the 2013 Annual Gathering. If the Coordinator position or Youth Program is to be revamped or even laid down, it would make sense to do so after the Annual Gathering in 2013. Transition or wind-up activities would take a few weeks.
Therefore, the Youth Program Coordinator Supervisory Committee recommends that the end of Fiscal Year 2012-2013 (September 30, 2013) be the end date for this “experiment.” We have discussed this with Ministry and Oversight, which has minuted its support. We have also asked Finance Committee to consider this recommendation.
The YPC Supervisory Committee does a performance and program evaluation in the spring, including a survey of stakeholders: teens, parents, Quarterly teen committee adults, PYM officers, and others. We will also be sending a letter and queries to Monthly Meetings to consider as part of the evaluation process. Meeting Representatives: please be on the lookout for the forthcoming letter and encourage your Meetings to consider it and respond in a timely manner. We have begun to talk with PYM’s M&O and Finance Committees about how they will share the task of assessing whether and how the Youth Program and/or Coordinator position should be continued.
Meanwhile, we are eager to remind Friends that the Coordinator’s task is not to provide everything our young people might need, but to coordinate and expand the resources we all have to offer. So please let her know what you and your Meeting need and also what you have to share.
Most Meetings and Worship Groups in CA and NV now have a specific contact person for the Youth Program, referred to as the Custodian of the Book (that book being Build It! A Toolkit for Nurturing Intergenerational Spiritual Community, a resource manual from FGC that we have been distributing). Be sure you know who your “Custodian” is or help find a Friend to fill an empty slot (see attached list, below). Encourage that person to connect actively with the Coordinator, the Supervisory Committee, and other Custodians of the Book / Liaisons.
Invite Alyssa to come and see you. Tell her what you need. Expressing your concerns, your suggestions, and your enthusiasm will support and nurture this program, Alyssa, and all of us on the supervisory committee as we move into fully fledging this program in 2012 and 2013.
Prepared by the Youth Program Coordinator and Supervisory Committee, and presented to Representative Committee by Jim Summers (La Jolla), Steve Leeds (San Francisco), and Alyssa Nelson (YPC). YPC Supervisory Committee’s PYM Liaison is Elizabeth Boardman.
Attachment 1: Goals and Objectives