YPCC Report to Annual Session 2018

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SUMMARY: None (no action items)

REPORT NARRATIVE: This year continued to deepen our understanding of the importance of youth work. We have seen and experienced Spirit expanding how we help young people and adult allies step up both in the Quaker world and the wider world of social/environmental justice. Having a Youth Programs Coordinator and Committee enthusiastically working together allows us to reach far, sometimes further than we can realistically accomplish, and we have had some realizations about the need to keep improving in how we support these ministries, both paid and unpaid.

We must be honest about the challenges that come with volunteer work. We are also sensitive to the ways in which the Spirit has moved on a personal level throughout the lives of the YPC Committee members. All of us have gone through some big shifts and changes this year: moving, new jobs, injury, illness, deaths of family and friends. Despite the busyness of our lives, we each have been able to deepen our own spirituality through participation in various Quaker circles, trainings, and discussions.

We yearn to engage a more diverse population–enough to the point that we consider it a leading–both within the PYM youth community and beyond. While we have a primary focus on the youth of PYM, we also question how we might extend our reach, and how we might extend younger Friends’ reach more broadly. We keep asking: How do we help Quaker youth connect across boundaries? How do we make our community open to those who might seem or feel “different,” and in doing so, how may we more fully answer that of God in everyone? What can we learn from others? This does not supplant our primary objective of fostering connections within PYM, rather it expands our perspective to include and involve Quaker youth on a more worldly scale.

Interest from the Bob Vogel Endowment continues to fill our “Youth Programs Fund” with approximately $8,000 twice a year, giving us financial resources to support a variety of ministries and leadings. This year we have provided funds for travel and/or registration to a variety of workshops, conferences, meetings, and camps (such as the White Privilege Conference, BLQC workshops, and the examples below), along with some funds for project implementation. The next application deadline is September 20th: https://www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/youth/resources-funding/ .

We continued our co-sponsorship with Quaker Oaks Farm and the Wukchumni Tribe of the Spring Youth Service-Learning Camp in Visalia, CA. The theme of this 5th year of camp was “Earth,” and the service project included planting and mulching native plants. A field trip to a sacred site was an honor, and campers and staff learned respectful protocol for visiting such sites. The camp used experiential exercises to practice culture, communication, conflict-resolution, and humor as tools for reconciliation. We’re excited that we are also able to provide a piece of the total funding for a spin-off of Spring Camp to happen in late July 2018: camp staff member Genna Kules has organized a week-long camp on Documentary Filmmaking and Peace Garden Design at Quaker Oaks Farm for Native, Non-Native, and Quaker youth. Genna earned multiple other grants that cover costs of video equipment and materials; the YP Fund will provide stipends for elders and FRAPs.

We continue to seek ways to grow our ability to collaborate with, support, learn from, and develop relationships with Native communities, including Native / First Nations Friends. In 2015, the YP Fund had helped bring Paula Palmer (Boulder MM’s Indigenous Peoples Concerns Committee) to PYM to share her ministry on “Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change: Toward Right Relationship with America’s Native Peoples.” Paula returned to California for a few weeks this spring; her first stop was a visit to our Spring Camp followed by a workshop at Visalia Meetinghouse, and two from YPCC attended Paula’s workshop at Ben Lomond Quaker Center. In April, three PYM Friends (Mica Estrada, Carl Magruder, Alyssa Nelson) attended the California Indian Conference at Humboldt State University. In May, we sent seven people attended the Pendle Hill Conference, “Truth and Healing: Quakers Seeking Right Relationship with Indigenous Peoples,” where Native American / First Nations People and non-native people shared stories and ideas, learned, and made connections. Our contingent there presented about the Quaker Oaks Farm Spring Camp; three were teens who had been campers (2 Wukchumni and 1 non-native Quaker: Andrew Hernandez, Joseph Oliveira, Alby Penney), and the adults included one Wukchumni and three Quaker members of the camp planning committee and staff (Yaynicut Franco, Melissa Lovett-Adair, Alyssa Nelson, Jim Summers). As an offshoot of this, Alyssa helped Paula Palmer create a “Friends for Right Relationships” listserv to carry the work forward; those interested may apply to join it by following the instructions at https://groups.google.com/group/FriendsRR

We funded three PYM Young Adult Friends (Bertha Peña, Rebekah Percy, Austin Stanion) to accompany PYM’s representative (Barbara Babin) to the May 2018 Reunion General de los Amigos en México, which includes programmed and unprogrammed Friends in Mexico (Mexico City MM and two evangelical churches). Thanks to the YP Fund, several evangelical young Friends from Ciudad Victoria were also able to attend, contributing to a larger-than-usual turnout. The theme was “Are our youth called to serve god?” with a focus on addressing diminishing youth attendance. By the close of the gathering, a committee for Young Friends in Mexico, probably the first of its kind, was formed and approved with lots of support. Out of that, we decide to invite Yulieed Ávila, a young adult and FWCC Traveling Minister from Iglesia de los Amigos de Ciudad Victoria, to attend PYM’s Annual Session this year; the YP Fund is paying for her registratration and FWCC is paying her travel.

The YPC Committee discussed at length and came to unity on how to go about giving the Youth Programs Coordinator a raise, as she has never gotten a salary raise (other than the automatic Cost of Living Adjustments) in 7 years of employment with PYM. In addition to discerning that a raise was warranted for merit and longevity, we would like to publicly acknowledge how much the Coordinator has continued to expand the reach of our work toward a vision of a truly integrated, vibrant, multi-generational PYM community. Many of the YPC’s routine tasks are relatively invisible or highly localized (e.g., background checks on youth workers; website updates; and consulting and resource support for JYM, Children’s Program, and other officers, committees, and Quarterly and local Meetings), while some are more high-profile such as the examples in this report. We realize that for the sustainability of this ministry we must work over the next year to improve our HR and employment practices and structures.

The Committee consists of: Barbara Babin, Supervisor (Redwood Forest), Gail Eastwood, M&O Liaison (S. Humboldt WG), Melissa Lovett-Adair (Central Coast), Jennifer Carr (Reno/ Sacramento), Stephen Myers (Sacramento), Julian Garrett (Redwood Forest), Kiernan Colby (Santa Cruz), Rachel Kempf (Santa Monica), Rebekah Percy (La Jolla/ Sacramento), Bertha Pena, Clerk (Mexico)

Volunteer Children’s Program Member: Elizabeth “Bitsy” Carr (Sacramento)

Youth Programs Coordinator: Alyssa Nelson, Davis (2011-present)

Submitted by Bertha Peña, Clerk, and Alyssa Nelson, Youth Programs Coordinator, July 2, 2018

 

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