Annual Session 2019
During Annual Session, Young Friends (YFs) gather from Tuesday to Sunday in dorm housing. Although the YF schedule is very full, Young Friends are welcome to attend all events of Annual Session, and are especially encouraged to join the all-age events. The schedule makes time to build the YF community through workshops, business meeting, committee meetings, worship sharing, and games. YFs integrate with the larger BYM community at meals, evening lectures, Produce Department, and Coffee House. If you have never attended Annual Session before, some of the information in the Interchange may seem confusing. If you have questions, contact Jossie Dowling (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the Yearly Meeting office or the Young Friends Annual Session Planners. Read through all of the information in this Interchange to learn more.
The Young Friends program begins Tuesday afternoon. Anyone of high school age who arrives prior to this time should plan to participate in the Yearly Meeting Retreat and must stay with a parent or sponsor in their room.
EVERYONE must pre-register. (Complete the forms in this Interchange and mail to the Yearly Meeting office or register online) YFs are welcome to register for just a day, or for a few days. Keep in mind that unlike Conferences during the year, Young Friends must have an adult sponsor present at Annual Session. Many adults from your Meeting might be excited to be your sponsor if you need one. PLEASE NOTE THAT to be on campus at all, you must GET YOUR NAME TAG from the registration desk. Please check the registration hours listed earlier in this Interchange. Please look for Jossie Dowling if you show up on campus and have not checked-in yet at the BYM Registration Desk.
Financial Assistance: First apply to your local Meeting for assistance. The Yearly Meeting Youth Programs will match your Meeting’s contribution. You could also consider a work grant from Junior Yearly Meeting as a way to defray costs. If you are able, please consider making a contribution to the Scholarship Fund. Also, if it is your first time attending Annual Session, you may request a 2-day ‘first time attender’ voucher from your local Meeting or Young Friends.
Those Friends under age 18 who will be living in the Young Friends dorm at Baltimore Yearly Meeting Annual Session must have a parent, guardian, or sponsor on campus who is NOT serving as a Friendly Adult Presence. Young Friends whose parents or guardians will not be attending Annual Session need to find a sponsor. Then a parent or guardian, the sponsor, and the Young Friend need to read and sign this letter and fill out the information requested. A sponsor should be over age 35 and may not be a FAP. In case of a medical or other emergency, the sponsor needs to be able to accompany the Young Friend to off-campus facilities if necessary.
The Young Friends Gathering Expectations will be read several times during Annual Session and are available in the Young Friends Handbook. By completing this form, Young Friends affirm that they have read these expectations and agree to abide by them.
“The Gathering Expectations is the main code of behavior for Young Friends. There are certain actions which are not condoned by us. Drinking alcoholic beverages at Young Friends sponsored activities is strictly prohibited. The use of illegal drugs and the abuse of substances at Young Friends sponsored activities is strictly prohibited. Engaging in sex at Young Friends sponsored activities is strictly prohibited. Wielding weapons or dangerous objects or intending harm to another at Young Friends sponsored activities is also strictly prohibited.
Young Friends welcome all high-school age or older attenders who wish to enjoy the fellowship of our Quaker community. We hold all attenders in the Light, but those who are unable to conform to these guidelines that Young Friends have set for themselves are harmful to our community.
The Executive Committee (Exec), consisting of both teens and adults, is responsible for working with Friends who are unable to conform to the Gathering Expectations or who otherwise harm the Young Friends community. They will handle such occurrences on a case by case basis; Executive Committee, at the most extreme, may notify the Young Friend’s parent(s) and require the parent to come pick up the Young Friend or contact emergency personnel. In such a case, ze will have to meet with members of the Executive Committee to reaffirm good faith before attending a future Young Friend’s conference. If Exec does not fulfill their responsibility for the gathering, the DFAP may take individual action, being mindful and respectful of the efforts and concerns of the youth and other Exec members.
In summary, when Young Friends gather together we strive to foster a community built on caring, trust and love. From experience we have found that attenders who do not follow our Gathering Expectations jeopardize the Young Friends’ community and betray our trust, as well as the trust of parents, sponsors, older friends, and of Baltimore Yearly Meeting.”