Welcome Letter to Children’s Program Families 2019

Dear Children’s Program Families of Pacific Yearly Meeting:

Thank you for registering your child(ren) for Pacific Yearly Meeting’s 2019 Annual Session! The Children’s Program Committee looks forward to our joyous work of nurturing children and families at Annual Session.

Please read this letter thoroughly in preparation for our week together.

Last year we had a lot of fun and came together as a community to learn more about the Quaker Way. This year, we’ll continue taking advantage of outdoor education opportunities at the site and blending them with other forms of Quaker teaching and learning. And once again, we have an enthusiastic and skilled group of teachers and support staff.

Get excited for the return of our Saturday Night Family Campfire! We appreciated all of your positive feedback, and this year will consist of stories from your favorite storytellers, “Kid Talent!” and many songs and skits from almost all of the Children’s Program teachers!

IMPORTANT INFO ONLINE: Please see our Children’s Program webpage at www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/youth/children/ for important information such as:

  • Link to the PYM Child Abuse Prevention Policy
  • Forms to send in: “Tell us about your child,” Parental Consent, Medical History
  • General program info, needed before your child can sign in
  • Contact info
  • This letter!



  • Please fill out a “Tell us about your child” form–attached to this email (as .docx to type into and email back or as a pdf for ease of viewing/printing). It’s also linked from the PYM webpage — please complete one for each child and email it to Nate asap (preferred) or bring it to the parent meeting. While optional, this will help us organize our program and better meet your child’s needs.
  • If you haven’t sent in the permission or medical forms to the Registrar, please bring them with you to registration. Minors may not participate unless we have these forms. Instructions about required forms will be included with your registration and is in the forms packet on our webpage.
  • The orientation meeting for parents/guardians/sponsors & children is very important for building relationships and sharing information with each other. If you are not able to make it to the Muir Room at 3:15 pm Friday, please contact Nate to set up an alternative time to discuss logistics and any questions or concerns you might have. 
  • You will be able to see the whole Annual Session schedule, including the all-ages activities, is linked from the Annual Session Info page:  https://www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2019-Draft-Annual-Session-Schedule-v2-6-21-19.pdf

PROGRAM AGE GROUPS: We will have three age groups: ages 0-4 years old (Babies and Preschool), ages 5-8/9 years old (Elementary Program), and ages 9/10-13 years old (Middle School Program). These groups are flexible depending on the needs of the children. We will be combining the two oldest groups for our afternoon outdoor adventures to allow us to offer more options. We have also been considering the possibility of having some non-age-segregated times. Please discuss any requests for exceptions to this basic structure with Nate.

TEACHERS: We have a stellar group of teachers again this year, many who have worked with the Children’s Program in previous years and some new ones we’re excited to introduce to you. You’ll have an opportunity to meet them at the Orientation Meeting and we encourage you to stay in regular communication with them throughout the week. Staff will wear bright orange t-shirts when we’re working, so we should be easy to spot.

FACILITIES: We are privileged to have amazing classrooms indoors and out. Walker Creek Ranch has a fantastic trail system full of amazing beauty. We will go over the trails at the Orientation Meeting.

LOGISTICS: It is extremely important that you or your designee sign your child in and out of the program, for safety as well as for facilitating our program flow and staff changeovers. You can designate other adults who have permission to sign your children in and out on the “Tell us about your child” form.

It is important to know where you will be during the program hours so we can find you in the unlikely case of an emergency. We will have a radio to contact other Friends in supporting roles who are responsible for logistics, such as the Arrangements Coordinators.

CURRICULUM: This year PYM Children’s Program has been working to create a curriculum centered around sustainability and peace with the natural world around us.

Some important reminders to help the program run smoothly and all participants to make the most of their time at Annual Session:

  • Children’s Program runs from after breakfast to the beginning of lunch, and from after lunch to right before dinner. In the evenings there are some all-ages events on the schedule that we encourage you to attend together! And of course the Saturday night campfire 🙂
  • Be on time when dropping off and picking up:  
    • Morning sign-in: 7:40am- 7:55am in front of Dining Hall before worship (or after worship, in the Classroom for All Ages Singing)
    • Morning pickup: 12:40pm-12:50pm in/outside the Dining Hall
    • Afternoon sign-in: 1:30pm-1:45pm Outside the Dining Hall
    • Afternoon pickup: 5:25pm-5:35pm Outside the Dining Hall
  • Lunchtime: Staff are not on duty during most of lunch — we bring the children to lunch early and get them started, and then we need you to care for your children while we have our staff meeting and break. This is also a great time to check in with your children about their experiences.
  • Bring sunscreen and hats!
  • Bring a bathing suit and towel for afternoon swimming. Walker Creek has a supply of life jackets and also provides lifeguards. Feel free to join us for a fun time at the pond!
  • We strongly recommend you bring a smock or large t-shirt for messy art projects.

MEETING FOR WORSHIP AND ALL-AGES ACTIVITIES: Daily Meeting for Worship this year is scheduled from 8-9am in the plenary tent. The Children’s Program will be participating in the beginning of Meeting for Worship. We will be signing participants in before worship, so everyone can be on time for the beginning of worship. Sign-ins can also happen after worship if you bring your child to the classroom. All are welcome at Meeting for Worship! Children’s Program will also take part as a group in the Meeting for Memorials on Sunday afternoon, in the Keynote plenary, and in certain other plenary sessions, and in all-age activities during program time, when our staff will provide care.

THEME: This year’s Annual Session theme is Dwelling in Truth and Trusting Divine Spirit. If you have creative ideas, feel free to share them with your child’s teachers. See the Clerk’s Call for more details about the theme:   https://www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/2019/2019-events/clerks-call-to-annual-session-2019/.

HELPERS: In addition to regular teachers we rely on having some part-time helpers. We encourage all interested members of the community to consider signing up for one or more helper time slots (morning or afternoon shifts available each day). Our committee will have a sign-up board available at registration and in the back of the plenary tent.

The Children’s Program Committee looks forward to welcoming you and your child(ren) and seeing you very soon! If you have questions, please feel free to contact Nate, Heather or Sue.

In peace and friendship,

Nate Makepeace Secrest, PYM Children’s Program Coordinator  707-703-4903 / secrestnm@guilford.edu

Heather Levien, Assistant to the Children’s Program Coordinator  510-528-9366 / heather@berkeley.edu  (*Note: I will be at Friends General Conference next week, so send me e-mail if you want to get in touch!)

Sue Torrey, Co-Assistant to the Children’s Program Coordinator  805-205-4931 / suetorrey71@gmail.com