Canadian Yearly Meeting- Annual Session 2011

It was with great joy and gratitude that I started this post while in Windsor, Nova Scotia, where Canadian Yearly Meeting annual sessions were held. The weather has been cool and wet, but that has not damped the spirit or interfered with the coming together of Friends from across the country.

We have guests from further afield, representing a call to various ministries, organizations and leadings to be present with us. We are a small but energetic bunch, participating in Quaker Study every morning before starting our Meeting For Worship with a Concern for Business. Our afternoons are busy, with options for worship, nap time,  and special interest groups. There are many Special Interest Groups, all interesting and engaging, dividing our attentions and making it difficult to pick which one we should attend.

The Youth Program is smaller than usual but is not lacking in delightful participants with fabulous program leaders. There were out trips for swimming, great programming including hearing about the history of Young Friends with Keith J., and fishbowl (method of discussing topics where active listening is key), AVP workshops, preparing for talent night and many other fabulous activities.

The Young Friends Yearly Meeting met 3 times to complete the business at hand, including the appointing of Youth Representatives (as full memebers) of various committees. [Should YOU be interested in serving as a member of a committee, you should contact your local Monthly Meeting and complete the nominations process with them.]

The Youth Secretary and the Quaker Education Program Coordinator had the opportunities to meet, collaborate and work together. It was a rich opportunity to connect with Friends from all over Canada and to share the important work through Special Interest Groups, Business Meeting sessions, evening activities and many conversations over tea.

The food has been fabulous and the food co-op has been resilient to the attempts of the rain to water down our food. It has been an exciting, full of opportunity week for connecting, learning and sharing with parts of our community and I hope that next year there will be even more people gathering together in Camrose, AB!

You can check out a more detailed account of Yearly Meeting 2011 complete with fabulous photos from Vince Zelazny’s blog:






2012 Quaker Youth Pilgrimage- UK and the Netherlands

Seeking young Friends and adult leaders for 2012 Quaker Youth Pilgrimage
Applications are now being accepted from young Friends ages 16-18 who wish to take part in the 2012 Quaker Youth Pilgrimage.
Applications are also now being taken for adult leader positions.
The pilgrimage will run July 12-August 13, 2012 and will take place in The United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
Leader applications are due September 15, 2011; pilgrim applications must be in by October 1.
The Quaker Youth Pilgrimage has brought young Friends together for over 50 years to
  • Develop one’s relationship with God
  • Gain understanding of Quaker process
  • Explore Quaker history
  • Experience different Friends’ traditions and forms of worship
  • Form a community and lasting friendships
  • Participate in a service project

Successful applicants can apply to HMAC for funding support.

CYM Sessions need Youth Workers

Message about CYM Youth Programme

Programming for the Youth Program at CYM sessions this summer is under way. We have many folks who have already committed to sharing their gifts with the Young Friends of our Meeting. There are still two openings for week-long leaders of the two age groups 4-7 and 8-12. For those who take responsibility for these groups throughout the week, your room and board expenses will be covered.

We also need more volunteers to help out with planned activities. Stories, sports, arts & crafts, etc.  If you can share your gifts with our youth, please let Ellen Helmuth, YP Coordinator know (by sending me a note and I will forward it to her).

Yonge Street Half Yearly Meeting

The first weekend of June was Yonge Street Half Yearly Meeting, bringing together Yonge Street, Toronto, Hamilton and Simcoe Muskoka Meetings. Held at Camp NeeKauNis, this year was the biggest turn out they’ve had in a while with over 60 people of all ages present. There were lots of opportunities to hang out in informal groups, to listen as people shared people’s experiences of living their Quakerism, visiting over meals, and joyful moments of discovery with toddlers!

It was lovely to hear the State of Society reports during the Business sessions and I felt warmly welcomed by all. Meeting for worship Sunday morning was held on First Hill over looking Sturgeon Bay, with the sounds of nature, delighted small children and occasionally the highway.

YAFs were involved in lots of Camp upkeep and maintenance; putting in the dock at the beach, mowing the grass, building fires to keep the buildings warm as well as participating in inter-generational games, talent night and programming. I spent a couple hours talking with a few younger and older Friends-of-NeeKauNis who are passionate about seeing camp become more accessible to Friends from across Canada. It was an inspiring conversation and distracted me enough that they trounced my team at Euchre.

The waterfront at Camp NeeKauNis provided ample opportunities for getting ones feet wet, discovering wildlife (the crowd is looking at a huge turtle), sitting in contemplative silence and just getting out and going for a walk when the weather would allow it.

Unfortunately I missed hearing John and Diana Lampen speak and lead a workshop on Making Friends with Conflict. They are Quaker Peace educators and writers. For twenty years, they worked with emotionally disturbed adolescent boys at Shotton Hall School. Later they moved to Derry in Northern Ireland, where they worked in the communities with young people seeking reconciliation. Currently, Diana and John Lampen run the Hope Project, a small training and consultancy agency based in Stourbridge, England, which works for peace in partnership with local organizations in Britain, Belarus, Bosnia, Croatia, Uganda, and Ukraine.

I left the weekend feeling grounded, motivated by the group energy and conversations I had and excited at the connections I had made. A project I am feeling strongly about supporting is taking the opportunity to work with OAFs (Older Adult Friends) to capture their experiences of being Young Friends, their hopes for the future of Quakerism and tidbits of their spiritual journeys to share with Younger (Adult) Friends.

Youth Secretary Job Description

I figure the best way to be transparent and intentional is to share and remind both myself and the community what my role and responsibilities are as the Youth Secretary. I also want to remind friends that I am starting from scratch; that the position is brand new, and that there is a huge learning curve, both for me, my employment committee, the CYM office and committees involved, as well as for our whole community. Please have patience with yourselves, others and me as we journey together to create, support and nurture a more inter-generational, spiritually grounded and dynamic community in Canadian Yearly Meeting.

Canadian Yearly Meeting Youth Secretary Job Description.

Key Responsibilities:

1.  Spiritual Vitality

  • Give guidance, support and resources to YF/YAFs, as they develop their identities as Quakers.
  • Provide connections to those who can offer spiritual, emotional and practical support.
  • Promote spiritual enrichment to Friends across Canada.
  • Foster partnerships for learning and fellowship, especially with the Quaker Education Program Coordinator (QEPC).
  • Work with the QEPC to build connections with our Elders across the country, especially while visiting within a region.
  • Create, and model the importance of, practical and spiritual mentoring by developing relationships between the YS, seasoned Friends, and the QEPC.

2.  Communication Resource

  • Be a connector!  Build connections and help Friends maintain them within CYM, CYFYM, in the Americas and worldwide.
  • Facilitate inter-generational connections to help us to know one another better, including our elders and children.
  • Plan and initiate visitation for YF/YAFs across Canada.
  • Coordinate YF/YAF gatherings, worship and events.
  • Find and reach out to isolated YF/YAFs.
  • Help develop a system to bridge relationships between Eastern, Central, and Western YF/YAFs, using tools including web-based social media.
  • Introduce and share information about Camp NeeKauNis and the Canadian and Half-Yearly Meeting sessions across Canada with YF/YAF and NeeKauNis attendees.
  • Attend CYM  and as way opens, attend Half-Yearly meetings and other Quaker gatherings.  Be aware of environmental consideration as discernment and plans evolve.

3.  Information Resource

  • Share information and resources and create learning opportunities about Quaker ways.
  • Make important documents from CYM and around the world available for YF/YAFs to access.
  • Ensure that information from CYM business meeting, including agendas and summaries, is available daily to Young Friends throughout CYM in session.
  • Notify the Young Friends community of resources, grants, money, events and opportunities available to them.
  • Help familiarize YFs/YAFs appointed to Yearly Meeting committees  with their responsibilities and goals for their service period, and the terms of reference and work of their committees.