Countering the Militarization of Youth Conference 2012

International Conference Germany 2012 (pulled from the website)

Darmstadt, 8-10 June 2012

In Europe, and to some degree on a global level, there are presently two trends which both contribute to an increased militarisation of youth. The first is the end (or, more exactly, the suspension) of conscription in most European countries. The second is an increasing “normalisation of war” stemming from the ‘war on terror and the use of military force as a means of politics. Both trends reinforce each other in strengthening the militarisation of youth from an early age- something we are committed to working against.

The project, which includes an international meeting in Germany, and a post-conference publication, hopes to bringing together activists from all over the world.

The aim is to foster an ongoing regional and multi-regional network of cooperating anti-militarist organisations. The overarching objective of the conference is strengthening the work against the militarisation of youth in Europe (and beyond) by providing opportunities for people to exchange skills and experience of working in this field and to create/strengthen networks and relationships across the region.


The militarisation of youth takes many forms. The project aims to analyse the different ways youth are militarised, and will also look at strategies to resist the militarisation of youth.

Although we have separated out several different issues and types of resistance we aim to bring core themes of analysis to each topic including but not limited to;

  • Class,
  • Race,
  • Ethnicity.

• Nationalism and patriotism:

Looking at the privileging of the military as a normal and essential part of maintaining and sustaining the nation state. How can the legitimacy of challenging violence be maintained when it is de-legitimised as a threat to security and presented as destructive to society as a whole?

• Culture of militarism:

Attendees will be encouraged to participate in ‘mapping’ the global militarist culture whilst sharing strategies for challenging the cultural prevalence of militarism and discussing the provision of peaceful or non-violent alternatives.

• Military recruitment strategies:

Discussion on current military recruitment strategies will occur throughout the conference, however contemporary and emerging trends in recruitment will feature heavily.

• Military in public spaces:

Looking at both long-standing and emerging ways in which the military encroach on public spaces, developing an analysis of the situation as it currently stands and sharing resistance strategies.

• Military masculinities:

Time will be set aside to look at the ways in which militarism undermines diversity with gender binarism and the increased recruitment of women and LGBTIQ people

• Military in education:

The ways that the military access school age children for example with cadet/youth programmes or collaboratively with curricular and extra curricular activities and recent (under) funding of Universities exploited by the military with ‘tied scholarships’.


Within the peace and anti-war movements, there are many different approaches to challenging and resisting the presence and recruitment tactics of the Armed Forces.

During the conference sharing and exploring strategies for increased resistance of the militarisation of youth- both in Europe and beyond- will take prominence.

Attention will be given to;

  • Military Out of Schools
  • Conscientious objection
  • Countering military recruitment
  • Veterans For Peace
  • Resistance by women and Queer people
  • Working with disadvantaged youth to prevent recruitment of vulnerable groups

Application Process

Filling out and returning the attached Registration of Interest from will not automatically guarantee you a place at the ‘Countering the Militarisation of Youth Conference’ it will however mean that we have your contact details so that we can communicate with you about the development of the project and offer you a place when they become available.

More information:

Camp NeeKauNis Strategic Planning

Canadian Yearly Meeting: Camp NeeKauNis Committee.
Camp NeeKauNis at 80!
“Born in a time of political and philosophical stress and turmoil, a legitimate child of spiritual self-searching and public protest, our Society has always had a genius for turning stress and turmoil into creative tension. Strongly held opposing views tied together by trust and love are truly creative. As the process of loving outreach dissolves the areas of brittle antagonism, legitimate differences are recognized as stimulus and broadening influence.”
 Hugh Campbell Brown, 1970. From Faith and Practice, Canadian Yearly Meeting 3.41
The Adhoc Subcommittee for Strategic Planning invites you to a Meeting for a Concern for Planning. We extend this invitation to all committee members and associate members, present and past directors and interested alumni. This Meeting is the first of two meetings. 
When: Saturday November 26 2011, 10 am to 5:00pm as led. Lunch will be provided.
Why: To plan for the future of Camp NeeKauNis.
Those planning to come and those that cannot, please send us (Kris and George) your ideas about improving camp. It could be just one really important idea, or 10 things that would really make a difference. It could focus on waterfront, programs, how committee functions, or anything else. Do  you want to see a Pendle Hill North and/or a youth leadership development program? Should we sell camp and move elsewhere? All ideas will be recorded and brought forward for the first workshop.
An agenda will be forthcoming. 
Documents in Advance are posted on the website and include Minutes from a Meeting for a Concern held at Community Camp 2011, a report from an outside consultant, the second interim report from the subcommittee for holding Canadian Yearly Meeting at NeeKauNis (CYM@NKN) and a strategic vision document prepared by Ethan Chiddicks which includes a discussion of governance and financial direction. The website will also have some interesting archive material. 
We will work on immediate short term goals, midrange goals and long term goals and their implementation. An interim report from the November planning meeting will be prepared in advance of the January Committee Meeting. A second final report will be prepared after a second planning meeting on Feb 25 in Hamilton, for presentation in May. 
We encourage you to read this material as able, and to come with your comments and fresh ideas.
What speaks to your condition? What speaks to Camp’s condition?
RSVP to Kris or George.

Camp NeeKauNis 2011

“Camp NeeKauNis sits on the shore of Sturgeon Bay, near Waubaushene, Ontario, welcoming people of all ages and from all walks of life. As a camp founded and run by Canadian Quakers, we strive to build a community that nurtures values such as compassion, co-operation, respect, and fellowship. Our camp sessions are 7 to 10 days long, and our groups are small and close-knit, with an average of 40 to 50 participants. Campers and staff alike leave camp reluctantly, and count the days to next summer. Once you have been a part of Camp NeeKauNis, it becomes a part of you. (taken from the website)”

Since Camp has a youth focus and is the only Quaker camp in Canada, I visited as many of the camp sessions this summer as I could. The opportunities to witness the fabulous staff, meet the inter-generational communities, be part of the programming and just be present in the natural beauty of the property was a special gift. Camp is doing the best job it can to provide great programming and facilities using a completely volunteer structure, but is seriously looking at how to better do this work. It was inspirational to be present during some consultation and meetings where members of the Camp committee are starting this work.

Each camp session offers something slightly different for the age specific group that is there. But, there are some aspects that remain the same across sessions. New campers are welcomed into the community with a button at their first meal and staff and campers alike share in singing the “announcements” song. Dish teams are a major community building piece, where everyone shares in the set up and dish washing from meals. Each day there is Meeting for Worship, swim period and a work period and usually there are theme meals, maybe a dance and on the last night TALENT NIGHT, with a special guest appearance from the local wildlife as the last act.

Camp may seem far away for Friends not in Ontario (and even then!), but the geographic distance is worth the trek. It can also feel financially daunting to have to fly to camp as well as cover fees, however there are bursaries and scholarships which can offset the expenses and you should contact the Camp Committee or speak with your local Monthly Meeting.

It was wonderful to meet new friends, reacquaint with other friends, share my excitement for the Youth Secretary position and get ideas, suggestions and feedback from a wider group of folks. A wonderful place to spend a few days, and camp session or the entire summer, I strongly recommend Camp NeeKauNis.

Friends General Conference Gathering 2011

Even though it isn’t part of the Youth Secretary position, I thought it important to mention my time at Friends General Conference Gathering 2011 in Grinnell, Iowa.

Friends General Conference Gathering is an annual event that brings together Quakers of all ages from across North America (and other places!). A number of Friends from Canada attend FGC Gathering and quite a few of them are Young Adult Friends who serve in the FGC Gathering by working in their High School, K group (Jr. High) or younger Youth Programs.

I have the opportunity to work with the High School (HS) program. This year we had a smaller group (the whole FGC Gathering was smaller) of 85 participants and 16 staff. It was a packed week, with staff training and orientations for parents and participants, workshops for participants and staff meetings in the mornings, free time (full of activities, sports and relaxing) in the afternoons with smaller “support” groups to facilitate getting to know a smaller group of people better, and then evening activities.

Special high lights were the out-trip to Rock Creek State Park where we spent an afternoon as the High School community, playing games, chilling, swimming and eating our lunches. There was an epic group sit (see photo) and a lot of laughter. There were also two dances (one inter-generational and one HS-YAF only), water play, capture the flag, two business meetings, closing meeting for worship and an (optional) all-night celebration on the last night. oh- and wink. did I mention wink?!

(For those of you that don’t know, Wink is a game that many Quaker groups I know play- check out the Wikipedia site on it:

For families or Younger Friends who are in more isolated situations, whether geographically or because you are the only ones with children or in your age group, consider making the effort to get to FGC Gathering or Camp NeeKauNis because there is something incredible about having a critical mass of Quakers in your own (or your children’s) peer group together with the opportunities to worship, play and work together.

There are many opportunities for volunteering with FGC Gathering, which provides opportunities to off-set costs, follow a leading or ministry and to gain experience in servant leadership. If you’re interested in the Gathering or other programs that FGC provides, check out their website:

FGC Gathering moves around. Next year 2012- it will be in Kingston, Rhode Island and in 2013 it will be in Greenly, Colorado.