Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting Epistle 2009

We all gathered together on the first day of CYM with the presence of this year’s teen coordinator, the lovely Janet Ross, and with the intermediate friends coordinator, Teresa Engler. We had an interesting morning talking about cycles, and relationships with nature, and people around us. Monday night was our first ‘unofficial’ business meeting.  However, as time passed, the unofficial meeting became more interesting in the new approach that we were coming up with, due to Peter Stevenson’s thoughts towards the efficiency of the meeting, as it has been an issue in the past that the meetings were getting too long, and were uninteresting. The logic behind the possible changes were, that we could potentially join positions together and make it  easier for nominating committee as well as reducing the time of our business meetings. If this is to take place, it will leave us with more time to discuss what, as YAFs and YFs is more important to us.

Tuesday morning was started with Worship sharing and because this years’ group is larger, we split off into three groups.  After a short snack we gathered back in room 112 and listened to Vince Zelazny.  He explained what he did with his work career in forestry.  After, we headed out into the great outdoors, and found different species of plants and critters. We identified each species with the help Vince Zelazny, and Rebecca Ivanoff. We learned about the Milkweed plant, as well as Plantain and many others. The afternoon went by in a blur we were joined by Tasmin Rajott and her Earth Loom to learn about the commons. The strings were our individual commons. After everyone’s string was attached we were informed that later on in the week, we would play a ‘game’ where we would weave our tapestry and complete the Loom. After that presentation we had the honor of Ellen Gabriel who came to talk to us about her People, and their struggles. She also told us how her People believed that the moon was their Grandmother, the sun was their Elder Brother and the earth was the Mother. She also talked about the outline of the OKA crisis.

Worship sharing was again the start to Wednesday morning, followed by the traditional Sex talk with Bill Curry and Dale Dewar. The YFs and the YAFs were divided into different groups, for the appropriate match of the age, with information.  The afternoon was wonderful, playing in the sun and tie-dying. All youth friends were involved, and the t-shirts as you might have recognized were fabulous! In the evening most of us went to the SPG lecture. Then cake was cut, in celebration of the 30th anniversary, of the Quaker Book Store, and the service of Vernon and Dana Mullen. Later in the evening Maggie Knight took the opportunity to interview youth, in a group for her Quaker Youth Journalism Project. Truths, laughs, support, emotions, and cake were shared among friends.

On Thursday various YFs and YAFs attended different business meetings, participating and gathering more information around several topics, such as Israel/Palestine, and the debate involving FUM. Starting at 7:30 pm the teen group had our first Official business meeting. We set ourselves a goal as to complete most items on the agenda by dark. Everything went smoothly and we only went about 40 minutes over time, which we regarded as a major accomplishment.  Of course as any young friend would say, the night was still young and would not be complete with the annual game of Wink with the added plus of running in the thunder storm. 

Friday started like the rest of the week with Worship Sharing groups, Debora Fisch came to talk to us about FUM. In the afternoon Meredith Egan came to talk about Victims of crime, and how it is important to be with each other when we may be hurting.

All in all this CYM has been an extremely positive and peaceful week. By supporting each other and loving one another, we can achieve anything. We look forward to learning more about the various committees’ and problems in our world, and what we can do as Young Friends to help. This year’s theme was ‘Friends with Mother Earth’. We did just that. This week was about slowing down, taking the time because all around you there are opportunities.  When we take time and slow down it helps us recognize the chances we get in life. We can reach for those opportunities and make it something special. We can turn it into something unique, something that a Young Quaker Friend can do. Young Friends will always be with each other, supporting each other, and loving each other.  Thanks for the wonderful memories, and the peaceful week!