2nd revision 1st month, 2003
3rd revision 8th month, 2003
Approved 11th month, 2003
Revised on the 11nd month, 2004
Approved 2nd month 2005
Revisions ongoing – currently approved 9th month 2008
Approved 2nd month 2009
This Handbook is dedicated to all of the beautiful people who are part of the loving community of Young Friends.
This handbook explains Young Friends’ principles and procedures for those seeking guidance. This book is for all members of the Young Friends community and all those interested in knowing more about Young Friends.
“Ze” is used in this Handbook as a gender-neutral singular pronoun; “hir” is used as the gender-neutral, possessive, singular pronoun.
“Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by, but that all, with the measure of light that is pure and holy may be guided; and so in the light walking and abiding, these things may be fulfilled in the spirit, not from the letter, for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”
The [Quaker] Elders at Balby 1665
Young Friends is a group of members and attenders of the Religious Society of Friends from the Baltimore Yearly Meeting region, primarily of high school age. The Young Friends program seeks to build a community, which nurtures the personal and spiritual growth of all youth and adult participants. Young Friends also provides opportunities to take an active part in the affairs and concerns of the Religious Society of Friends. Young Friends promote individuality as well as the unity of being in community. Decisions are made according to Quaker process, seeking unity among those gathered. With the exception of certain legal and bureaucratic matters, youth are responsible for all aspects of the Young Friends community.
Our Quaker community expands beyond the borders of our Meetings. High school age youth who are not affiliated with a monthly meeting are welcomed to attend all Young Friends’ conferences. All new attendees of conferences will be thoroughly welcomed into the community with copious gusto!
Young Friends ask older participants to be mindful of the potential influence age brings as well as the fact that the community is primarily a high school group. We encourage development of the Young Adult Friends community but recognize that our younger group may better serve some individuals beyond their high school experience.
YOUNG FRIENDS IS FUN!
The Gathering Expectations are the main code of behavior for Young Friends.
Young Friends welcome all high-school age or older attendees who wish to enjoy the fellowship of our Quaker community. We hold all attendees in the Light, but those who are unable to conform to the guidelines that Young Friends have set for themselves harm our community. Due to their potentially detrimental effects to the community, alcoholic beverages, the abuse of substances, illegal drugs, and sex are strictly prohibited at Young Friends conferences. Wielding weapons or dangerous objects or intending harm to another at Young Friends sponsored activities is also strictly prohibited. Young Friends considers any behavior that makes members of the community uncomfortable to be inappropriate.
Persons who fail to meet Gathering Expectations will meet with the Executive Committee to discern the appropriate course of action.
In conclusion, when Young Friends gather together we strive to foster a community built on caring, trust and love. From experience we have found that attendees 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.
Anyone with further questions should contact the Clerk of Young Friends or consult the Young Friends Handbook.
To clarify, a dangerous object is any object that is being brandished as a weapon or is being used to threaten or bring harm to another. Guns are never permitted at Young Friends events. Knives, used as tools, are recognized as being common to the Young Friend outdoor enthusiasts. If the presence of a specific knife makes any member of the community uncomfortable, the knife will be held by the DFAP or Youth Secretary (YS) until the end of the conference.
Young Friends recognize that visually obvious knives can often convey a negative and even frightening image. We expect ourselves and others in our community to use discretion in the choices made of what to bring to conferences.
First and foremost, sex at con is prohibited. Because this community is founded on caring, trust, and love, it is imperative that the fellowship of our community not be threatened by inappropriate sexual activities. As sexual activities are generally not community activities, they can prove to be exclusive and/or divisive. We as Young Friends must hold ourselves and each other accountable for our decisions and their repercussions, with the knowledge that poor decisions can jeopardize the reputation and livelihood of the Young Friends community. Aside from (In addition to?) the obvious health risks, inappropriate sexual activity can also be harmful to the emotional well-being of our community and individuals. Mutual respect, communication of intentions, and consent are crucial in any intimate relation. If a Young Friend chooses to engage in APPROPRIATELY intimate behavior, it is hir own responsibility to ensure that it is done with respect for hirself, those around hirself, and the Young Friends community. Leaving the gathering for the purpose of engaging in sexual behavior is harmful to the spirit of Young Friends, and is not allowed. The Young Friends community trusts and expects its members to make responsible decisions regarding sexual activity.
Please consider the following queries:
- Would anyone in this community feel uncomfortable with what I am doing?
- Would I be comfortable if FAPs did this at con?
- Does this behavior break community?
- How will I feel about this in the morning? In two weeks?
- How would I feel if everyone in the community knew about this behavior?
- Is sexual activity one of my main reasons for attending this Conference?
As the smoking issue has proven controversial, we ask that both smokers and non-smokers act with consideration for each other, the environment and our host. When a site allows smoking, a designated “smoking circle” will be identified at the first business meeting. In the interest of preventing smoking from becoming a popular or social activity, Young Friends agree to not share or “bum” cigarettes. We recognize that nicotine’s addictive nature is serious and provide this area to enable the Young Friends who do smoke to attend our gatherings. In concern for the health of our community in terms of both addiction and the dangers of second-hand smoke, and to prevent the breaking of community, the smoking circle is for smokers only.
We are concerned for the health and safety of all in our community. Drivers in particular should ensure they get adequate sleep before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle! Driving sleepy is just as dangerous as driving drunk. We leave the responsibility of getting adequate sleep to each individual.
To enable all of us to care for ourselves, we strive to follow this sleeping policy:
- By midnight, there is a space designated for sleep, surrounded by spaces for quiet conversations.
- At 2:00 AM the quiet area also becomes a sleeping area ONLY, and all other areas become quiet areas.
The sleeping and quiet area specifics will be determined at the general business meeting on Friday of the conference according to the layout of the Meeting House at which the conference is held.
Meeting for Worship With a Concern for Business (a.k.a. Business Meeting)
Young Friends are committed to self-governance. We use Quaker Process, which is based on the sense of the meeting. The spiritual unity of our voices is what forms our decisions. This means that the voice of every individual has power and that Young Friends must find unity before approving a decision. Friends believe that the proper course of action in any matter emerges when those present are committed to group discernment. We conduct our business with inward reflection in order to discern not what we individually want, but what is the true sense of the entire community. Therefore, we seek a “sense of the meeting” rather than a decision of the majority.
To conduct our affairs, the Young Friends hold regular business meetings which are facilitated by members of the Executive Committee and led by the Clerk of Young Friends. The Executive Committee prepares by setting the agenda and pinpointing important topics for clear presentation to the group. The Clerk should have all pertinent information and minutes of previous meetings available to help facilitate the discussion. Meetings for Business are held in a spirit of worship, hence the full name as noted above. This does not mean that they should be overly solemn or devoid of humor.
When a matter is placed before the Meeting, all who wish to express their views should be heard. Friends should be mindful when speaking and recognize that their voice is best heard when concisely offered. Individual comments should be those of love and compassion in search of the truth—the best solution to the issue at hand, rather than an inflexible personal agenda. Discernment is not always easy; often one needs to set aside one’s preconceptions, fears, and hopes on the issue in order to discern. If the Clerk feels that an individual’s position is not in accordance with the sense of the meeting, the Clerk may request that the individual stand aside, thereby sacrificing hir personal opinion to allow the decision to go forward. If an individual feels so adamantly about hir opinion that ze cannot allow a decision to pass, ze may stand in the way of the decision, To stand in the way is to stop the decision from going forward to allow further discernment.
The Clerk should make sure that all points of view are clearly stated so that attendees can make informed decisions. All the time needed to consider the matter, including silences for prayerful reflection, should be given. When general unity emerges, the Clerk should state what appears to be the sense of the meeting. If the members approve, a minute expressing this sense of the meeting should be written by the Recording Clerk. The minutes will be posted online at www.yfminutes.com. If reaching unity proves to be too difficult at that business meeting, then the matter should be laid over to a later date (see following section).
Business meetings begin and end with silence to center us (“expectant waiting”), often called MOSh (Moment of Shh) or MOSHH (Moment Of Silence Holding Hands).
Laying (laid) over is not an inappropriate sexual activity. It is an intentional delay of a business decision to allow further discernment and seasoning of the issue being considered.
The Executive Committee (Exec) is a group of Young Friends which is composed of the Clerk(s), Assistant Clerk(s), Recording Clerk(s), BYFN Editor(s), BYM Planners, Members at Large, Treasurer, Weasel/Ass-tree(s) (Assistant Treasurer), Youth Programs Representatives, Scholarship Coordinator, Webmaster, and Floater(s) (former members of the Executive Committee). Young Friends are nominated at the April conference and approved at the May/June conference. It is recommended that the Nominating Committee form in September. Additionally, FAPs (Friendly Adult Presences), the Youth Secretary, and FITs (FAPs in Training) are ex officio members. (At each conference the food planners and conference planners are asked to attend Executive Committee meetings unless confidential issues are being discussed.)
Responsibilities of the Executive Committee
- Nurture the welfare and spiritual state of the group.
- Attend conferences and Exec meetings as often as possible.
- Assist the Clerk with conducting the business of the group.
- Assist the Clerk and conference planners (when needed) with the following: reserving sites for future conferences, checking the progress of the conference planning, and arranging for FAPs.
- Nurture the spirit of the community by being a role model and by bringing all attenders into the community.
- Meet with any attendee who exhibits inappropriate behavior at a conference or any Young Friend’s function. The committee will need to decide if the Young Friend must be sent home. If this happens the person must meet with the Executive Committee to search for clarity before returning to conferences.
- Motivate Young Friends to get to activities/workshops on time at conferences and BYM.
- Motivate a community effort for Sunday morning clean-up.
- Orient new Executive Committee Members at the “Steering Wheel” Executive Committee conference prior to annual session.
- Evaluate FAPs at the “Steering Wheel” conference.
The Clerk guides the YF Business meetings, and Executive Committee meetings. Ze functions as a liaison between Young Friends and the greater Yearly Meeting. Ze prepares the agenda for Young Friends Executive Committee meetings, and Young Friends’ Meeting for Business with the help of the Executive Committee.
Before conferences, the Clerk checks in with the conference planners, Youth Secretary, and DFAP to ensure that a workshop is scheduled and that there are enough FAPs. At conferences, the Clerk is responsible for welcoming all newcomers and guests, as are all Executive Committee members. The Clerk should see that the Executive Committee and FAPs are introduced to the BYM Young Friends community and everyone has the opportunity to learn each other’s names. At Annual Session, the Clerk assists and works closely with the BYM Planners on the week’s schedule.. The Clerk should conduct business meetings in a timely manner both throughout the week and on the evenings of conferences so that the YF schedule can be maintained. For more information on Clerking see the Young Friends Clerking Binder.
An Assistant Clerk guides business meetings in the Clerk’s absence, and provides ongoing organizational and emotional support to the Clerk. The Clerk and Assistant Clerk are encouraged to work closely together in all business matters. An Assistant Clerk is responsible for getting thank you notes written to FAPs, host Monthly Meetings (MM), and workshop leaders. These are given to the Youth Secretary, who will mail them after the checks are written for the MM and workshop leader.
At conferences, the Assistant Clerks are responsible for welcoming all newcomers and guests.
The Recording Clerks record the minutes of business meetings and Executive Committee meetings, and keep records of activities of Young Friends. A copy of the minutes of each conference business meeting should be sent to the Clerk, the Youth Secretary, and the YPC Clerks for the records and to the BYFN Editors for publication and the Webmaster to be posted on the YF website.
The minutes of the Executive Committee meetings should not be published. They should be sent to the Clerk, Youth Secretary and YPC Clerks after each conference and passed down to the next Recording Clerk(s) in an orderly fashion. Everyone receiving Executive Committee Meeting minutes should treat these as confidential correspondence.
At conferences, the Recording Clerks are responsible for welcoming all newcomers and guests.
The Treasurer is responsible for maintaining all financial affairs of the Young Friends. Ze collects the registration fee and assists the DFAP in collecting medical forms at the conferences. It is recommended that the Treasurer arrange to be at the conference early to set up a registration table in a convenient location. The table should be open until the Friday evening business meeting begins. The Treasurer should work with the DFAP to ensure that all medical forms are properly completed. If the medical form of a Young Friend who is under 18 is not complete, hir parents need to be called to obtain the necessary information. At the close of the conference, the Treasurer and Assistant Treasurers should count all registration money, remaining food money and all food expenses to provide this report to the DFAP.
At conferences, the Treasurer is responsible for welcoming all newcomers and guests.
The Assistant Treasurer(s) should act as Treasurer in the absence of the Treasurer. The Assistant Treasurer assists the Treasurer at conferences to ensure that money is collected and that YFs are registered.
At conferences, the Assistant Treasurer is responsible for welcoming all newcomers and guests.
One to three YFs are typically appointed to this position. BYM planners are encouraged attend the Yearly Meeting’s Program Committee meetings throughout the year if necessary. (There are about 3 each year.) They are also expected to attend the Annual Session, which is held each year around the first Sunday of August. At Annual Session the planners may attend Program Committee Meetings, help to organize Produce Department and Coffeehouse, serve as a liaison between YFs and the larger community, assist with keeping food organized on the YF’s floor, and work closely with the Clerk and Youth Secretary. A support committee may be formed to assist the planners throughout the week.
At conferences, the BYM Planners are responsible for welcoming all newcomers and guests.
The BYM Young Friends Newsletter (BYFN) is sent to all Young Friends and Friendly Adult Presences who are listed in the BYM database as well as all Monthly Meetings and others interested in the group’s activities. This publication should at least contain the following items when applicable: conference information (including how to obtain forms), minutes and reports of business meetings, committee appointments, submissions from Young Friends, and other items of interest to the community. Young Friends are responsible for writing this material. The BYFN is at its best when many Young Friends submit material for publication so it represents the community as a whole.
The BYFN Editors gather material for the BYFN and see that it is organized and prepared for publication. The Editors should work with the Youth Secretary to develop publication and distribution dates for the BYFN; generally, content needs to be in the YM office at least one month prior to the next YF conference. The BYFN should be sent out well before each conference to inform Young Friends of the upcoming events.
Submissions and messages (called “Friend-to-Friend”) from the Young Friends community are gathered at conferences. Featured items in the BYFN are up to the creativity of the Editors but often include art, poetry, conference photos, games, birthday announcements or anything else that strikes their fancy – within reason. The editors gather all material, create pages for publication and send the prepared pages to the BYM office where they are to be printed and mailed, emailed, and posted online. Editors should be mindful that the audience for the BYFN includes members outside our YF community. Since it will be online it will also be available to anybody, so personal information should not be included.
At conferences, the BYFN Editors are responsible for welcoming all newcomers and guests.
The Webmaster (AKA Spiderperson) is charged with providing the necessary maintenance and sustenance for the Young Friends website. The website should include all information about upcoming events along with YF general information. Registration and Medical Forms should be available to print from the website. The minutes from Business Meeting should be uploaded to the website as well. The Webmaster also manages the YF’s subscription to carpool world. The website should be updated frequently and should be easy to navigate. The Webmaster should have the technical skills required to fulfill the position.
At conferences, the Webmaster is responsible for welcoming all newcomers and guests.
This position is held by two or three YFs. Their duties consist of representing YF at the Youth Program Committee (YPC) meetings. They should report back to Young Friends regarding any decisions made by the YPC and bring to YPC any issues, concerns, and business items from the YFs.
At conferences, the Youth Program Representatives are responsible for welcoming all newcomers and guests.
Members-at-Large are asked to represent the Young Friend’s common voice within Executive Committee. These people should also add life and merriment to the conference community. The Members-at-Large should greet new attendees and bring together the community at conferences. They should also help the Clerk keep business meetings light when needed, and should help the Clerk maintain focus. Members-at-Large are asked to facilitate the newcomer or FAP orientation on Friday night at conferences.
At conferences, the Members-at-Large are responsible for welcoming all newcomers and guests.
After serving in a position on the Executive Committee, a Young Friend continues to be a member of the Executive Committee as a Floater. Floaters are similar to Members-at-Large since they represent the whole of Young Friends. This position adds the experience of past years to the Executive Committee and aids in the making of decisions. A Floater should fill leadership roles when they see a void, uphold tradition within the Young Friends, and add life and humor to the community. They are welcome into Executive Committee Meetings as experienced voices, but may choose to assist the community by floating into meetings or by overseeing the welfare of the group while meetings are going on. They may be called on to fill the role of absent Executive Committee Members, to lead worship sharing, or to offer counsel as needed.
At conferences, the Floaters are responsible for welcoming all newcomers and guests.
At each conference there may be new Conference Planners and Food Planners. Except when confidentiality requires that they excuse themselves, they should attend Executive Committee Meetings. Planners will be asked to report on the schedule, workshop, and menu. FAPs and the Youth Secretary are also part of Executive Committee meetings. The descriptions of these roles can be found on the following pages.
At conferences, the other members of Executive Committee are responsible for welcoming all newcomers and guests.
There is one standing committee in Young Friends: the Executive Committee. All other committees should be appointed on a volunteer basis in the Young Friends’ business meeting and should be laid down at the end of their task. Committees regularly appointed include the Nominating Committee, a number of annual session committees (Steering Wheel, Coffee House Committee, Calendar Committee, Produce Department Committee) and a Handbook Revision Committee. Ad hoc committees may be formed as the community finds necessary.
The Nominating Committee is responsible for nominating Young Friends to the Executive Committee. Nominating is a closed committee; only committee members should attend meetings. Members of Nominating cannot nominate themselves for Executive Committee positions.
Ideally, the Nominating Committee is created at the June conference and meets throughout the year. While their primary function is to nominate a new Executive Committee in April, they also are responsible for finding qualified, interested Young Friends to fulfill any positions that are vacated during the year and to fill new positions that are created during the year.
Nominating Committee should meet before November to discuss the positions to be filled and to consider individual Young Friends’ gifts and talents. Once they have discerned who would be good for a particular position, they should discuss the duties and responsibilities with their nominee. Hopefully, the individual chosen will agree and then would then be able to shine and serve with exemplary valor and grace. Typically, nominations to Exec are printed in the spring BYFN for review, then read on Friday night of the April conference. These are laid over until the next conference. Nominations need to be approved by the YF business meeting; these are normally done on Saturday at the June conference.
Annual Sessions Committees
The Epistle Committee composes a letter to the wider circle of Friends on the spiritual state of Young Friends. Basically it is a summary of what Young Friends have done in the past year. The Epistle Committee should be appointed at the first business meeting of Annual Session so it can meet during the week of Yearly Meeting. It is open to all Young Friends. After approval by the YF business meeting the epistle is read at the last BYM Business Meeting of Annual Session and published in the BYM Yearbook and on the Young Friends’ web site.
The Coffee House Committee is formed at BYM Annual Session in preparation for Coffee House. Members create sign-up sheets, organize performers and technical aspects. Some members act as MCs for the event.
Produce Department Committee is formed at the start of BYM Annual Session to prepare for Produce meetings. It consists of YFs who plan queries and activities for Produce Department (see pg. ___ for a description of Produce Department) along with providing leadership for Produce Department groups.
The Calendar Committee sets dates (and backup dates) and selects Meeting Houses (and backup Meeting Houses) for conferences during the upcoming year. The committee should avoid SAT and ACT testing dates whenever possible. This calendar should be presented to YF during business meetings at annual sessions for approval and then provided to YPC, the Webmaster, and the BYM office. The Calendar Committee should also recruit conference and food planners for each conference.
The Handbook Revision Committee is formed at Annual Session at least every three years to review the YF Handbook. The committee is open to all but should include experienced YFs, any interested YAFs, and a member of YPC who can review the YF Handbook and check for pertinence and accuracy in relationship to the current YF community. This committee makes revisions if necessary and brings those revisions to a YF’s business meeting for approval. Significant changes should lay over to the next conference where they may be approved.
The Conference Planners and Food Planners do advanced planning for conferences. (See Appendices I & II for helpful tips & explanations of how to do conference and food planning!) They work together to recruit and select adults to serve as Friendly Adult Presences (FAPs). At least four (4) FAPs should be scheduled for every conference. Two of the FAPs, one male and one female, should be at least 25 years of age. FAPs In Training (FITs) are 21 to 24 years old. FITs may participate in high school age gatherings at the discretion of the Designated FAP (DFAP). If the number of Young Friends exceeds 40, one additional FAP should be added for each additional 10 Young Friends. All FAPs must have undergone police screening and have taken or, if known to the community, plan to take a Yearly Meeting sponsored training which will address the discernment of danger signs of youth who are potentially harmful to himself or herself or others.
The Young Friends' Clerk or Conference Planner is to consult with the liaison of the local Meeting or caretaker of the camp where the gathering will be held regarding safety measures and concerns specific to the property. At Young Friends Business Meeting, Executive Committee Meeting, and FAP Orientation the safety measures and the regulations concerning the use of the property are communicated to both Young Friends and FAPs. Where those safety measures are not followed, the DFAP may take immediate action in case of emergency and for any other concern, bring it to the Young Friends' Executive Committee.
The whole group, through the Young Friends Business Meeting, is to ensure general health and safety. The Young Friends Executive Committee oversees the welfare and spirituality of the group.
The DFAP should know about any medical emergencies or illnesses and seek treatment, if necessary provide transportation to a medical facility for emergency medical care.
Any Young Friend who leaves the gathering site during a conference should have a transportation permission (or food planner) form. A FAP(s) should accompany any Young Friend who leaves.
At the gathering, the Young Friends' Clerk, the conference planners, the food planners, and FAPs make a report to DFAP. The DFAP reports any concerns, accidents, injuries, business items, and unusual incidents to the Youth Programs Committee and Youth Secretary. If an unusual incident or an accident occurred, the DFAP should include in the report a description of the occurrence and, depending upon its seriousness, have one or two witnesses sign and date it. The DFAP should send the report to the Yearly Meeting Office where it will be kept with the medical/permission forms.
It is important that all Young Friends either pre-register with the YM office before the conference, or register at the conference as soon as they arrive. All Young Friends must turn in conference registration forms, pay the conference fees (or request scholarship from the YF Treasurer) and, if under the age of 18, turn in a medical form. These forms are crucial. Conference Planners, Food Planners, and one child of a FAP may come for half price, but are encouraged to donate the additional fees if they can. Neither the DFAP nor the FAPs pay to attend the conference. The FITs pay half price.
Friends in need of financial assistance to attend conferences should contact the Young Friends Treasurer or Assistant Treasurer prior to the conference. The community trusts the individual to only ask for the amount needed. Scholarships come from the Young Friends budget so please be mindful of others’ financial needs as well. Please remember that your presence is more important than your money.
For Annual Session, Young Friends should first seek scholarships from their Monthly Meeting. The current practice of the Yearly Meeting is to match the amount given by a Monthly Meeting. None of these scholarships come from the Young Friends’ budget. If a Young Friend is not affiliated with a Monthly Meeting and needs financial assistance, ze should contact the Young Friends’ Treasurer or Assistant Treasurer before annual session. Funds may be available from the Young Friends’ budget.
Baltimore Yearly Meeting is comprised of Monthly Meetings from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. The Young Friends business meeting is a part of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, which meets as a whole for about a week during the summer each year. Annual Session is held at a site, usually a college campus, chosen by BYM’s Program Committee. For Young Friends, Annual Session expands on the format of a weekend conference. Young Friends occupy their own dorm and lounge areas. The goals of this annual gathering are to conduct business, share fellowship, attend workshops and renew ourselves spiritually.
Traditionally there are several events that occur during the week. An Epistle Committee is formed to write the Young Friends’ epistle, which is a description of the state of the community during the previous year. In addition, there are two major Young Friends-sponsored activities that also take place at the sessions. Coffee House is a talent show format emceed by a couple YFs that features performances by people of all ages. (See pg. ____ for a description of the Coffee House Committee.) Produce Department (so named because the produce section is the most diverse and eclectic aisle in a grocery store - a reflection of the diversity of the BYM community) is an inter-generational fellowship activity that takes place several evenings between 9:15 and 10:00. It consists of small inter-generational groups that meet to discuss queries, play games, and get to know one another. Produce Department leaders are chosen on Tuesday night and meet each day to discuss possible topics and queries and they lead the activities each evening. (See pg. ___for a description of Produce Committee.)
Executive Committee and YF Business Meeting gather each night to discuss business and organize events and workshops. The BYM YF planners (see pg. __ for a description) are offered support from a committee that meets daily to discuss all the events of the week (see pg. ___ for a description of the Steering Wheel Committee). Typically, there is one workshop leader who facilitates workshops for YF for two or three days although at times there has been more than one leader. The Carey lecturer may be invited to speak with YFs on Saturday afternoon. YFs are encouraged to attend the adult business sessions and workshops, as well.
A Friendly Adult Presence (FAP) is any adult aged 25 or older who a Young Friend feels would be compatible with the group and has been both screened by the Yearly Meeting office and completed the required training. Adults over 21 but under 25 are considered FAPs In Training (FITs). They may participate as a FAP with the approval of the Designated FAP. FAPs should be willing to spend time and energy with high school-aged youth for an entire weekend. FAPs are encouraged to join Young Friends in activities as they wish. FAPs are members of the Executive Committee and hold the same responsibilities (see Executive Committee). Some FAPs should be available to take food planners to a grocery store on Saturday afternoon. FAPs concerned with behavior of Young Friends should feel free to discuss such concerns with any member of the Executive Committee with whom they feel comfortable. If necessary, an Executive Committee meeting will be called. FAPs are not expected to make meals or be responsible for cleanup; however, their participation is encouraged.
FAPs should remember that they are here to have fun. Their presence is important and necessary, particularly in the case of an emergency, however they should keep in mind that Young Friends is a self-governing body in which they are participants not authority figures.
Having your diversity in character and age is important to Young Friends. It is helpful for young people to have relationships with adults other than their parents with whom to share experiences, thoughts, and concerns. Young Friends value your contributions to the community as an individual and as an elder. While at the conference, please come to Executive Committee meetings and join in some activities. Also, please look over information about the Gathering Expectations and the Executive Committee in the Young Friends Handbook available from the BYM office. As a FAP, you are not expected to: clean up, be authority figures, keep tabs on the group, or cook meals.
Consider setting boundaries at the conference to help maintain trust between yourself, Young Friends, and BYM. Many young people have times when they need the support and friendship of adults. Please feel free to interact with Young Friends as way opens, but draw a line where a Young Friend, you, or the community feels uncomfortable.
Young Friends try to adhere to positive standards of behavior, which strengthen and preserve our community. We work to have all Young Friends develop a commitment to this and try to take the lead, with the advice of FAPs, in handling any concerns that arise. There will be a Designated FAP (DFAP) at each conference who assumes more responsibility in terms of legal and medical issues, and is a liaison to BYM.
If you have questions, do not hesitate to call the Young Friends Clerk, or any member of the Executive Committee or the Youth Secretary.
Any Young Friend is encouraged to approach any adult in hir community who is comfortable with Quaker process and who the Young Friend thinks would add to their community. This person, as well as any adults interested in being a FAP, should contact the BYM office or a Youth Programs Committee (YPC) Clerk. A background check will be done and the FAP will need to attend a YPC training session. The Youth Secretary will ensure a Young Friends Handbook is sent to hir.
The Designated Friendly Adult Presence (DFAP) must be a member of the Youth Programs Committee (YPC). The DFAP serves as a liaison between Young Friends and the Yearly Meeting at a conference.
Responsibilities of the Designated FAP:
- Know where the registration forms, food planner permission forms, money, and first aid kit are kept.
- Arrange for an adult to wait at the conference site until the last Young Friend is picked up on Sunday afternoon.
- Submit a written report about the conference that includes information about any injuries, unusual circumstances, joys, and concerns. The DFAP may ask other FAPs to contribute.
- The Young Friends Clerk and the DFAP should work after the gathering with youth and FAPs to resolve any remaining disciplinary concerns.
- The DFAP is asked to attend as many executive and business meetings as possible.
- In the event that the YF Executive Committee fails to act, the DFAP should take action being mindful of the efforts of teens.
For more information, on the relationship between Young Friends and Baltimore Yearly Meeting, see the Group Responsibilities.
The Youth Secretary is an employee of Baltimore Yearly Meeting and works as a liaison between YFs, YPC, and the greater BYM community. In addition to providing support to the Executive Committee, this person also works closely with the JYF (Junior Young Friends) Coordinators, and is an ex-officio member of the YM Program Committee, and the Youth Programs Committee. Oversight for the Youth Secretary is provided by the General Secretary with input from Youth Programs Committee.
Responsibilities of the Youth Secretary:
- Oversee the schedule of the BYFN, but not its content. Concerns regarding content should immediately be brought to the BYFN Editor’s attention.
- Maintain contact with YF Clerks regarding conference planning, business, and other matters of relevance to YFs.
- Provide FAP contact information and other FAP scheduling assistance, as requested by the YF conference planners or Clerk.
- Organize the registrations for conferences. See that this information, including the medical forms, reaches the conference and that a FAP presence well versed in Young Friend’s procedure is present to assist with registration at the conference. Make sure that extra medical forms go to the conference and that those who register have completed medical forms. See that a list of registration guidelines goes with the registration materials to the conference. Insure that the med kit is taken to a conference.
- Keep the Young Friends informed of critical business in the greater Yearly Meeting.
- Act as a source of information for conference planners. Make sure that the planning is occurring, but don’t do the planning.
- Attend YF executive and business meetings.
- Communicate the policies and procedures of the YF community to parents and the wider Yearly Meeting.
- Bring concerns about Young Friends to YF Executive Committee in a timely manner.
- Attend Program Committee Meetings throughout the year; attend all YPC meetings; work closely with the clerk(s) of YPC and YM planners.
- Work with the conference planners to plan the bus trip or work camp conference each year.
- Work with Young Friends Clerk and Treasurer to ensure that damaged property is repaired or replaced as necessary.
The General Secretary oversees the day-to-day operations of the Yearly Meeting. For more information, see the Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Manual of Procedure printed in the BYM Yearbook.
Young Friends’ budget is part of YPC’s budget. The YF Treasurer works with YPC to develop a conference budget that is funded by conference fees. The budget includes revenue (mula coming in) and expenses (mula going out). Revenue comes from YF conference fees, and fundraisers, and money designated by the Yearly Meeting Youth Programs Committee. Expenses include food, workshop leaders, paying the meeting, providing scholarships for conference and training, and the cost of the annual bus trip or workcamp.
Any Young Friend or conference attender may ask for an amendment to the Young Friends Handbook. Each Young Friends’ generation should bring their spirit to these words. Amendments to this handbook shall be presented to a duly-called business meeting for a first reading, any significant amendment should be laid over to a subsequent meeting for discussion.
HOW TO BE A FOOD PLANNER
NOTE: If the Youth Secretary position is not filled, tasks assigned will be handled by the DFAP, a BYM staff member, or a member of YPC. Contact the YF Sub-Committee or YPC Clerk for additional information.
This is what you need to do to successfully plan meals for a conference:
- Plan all meals and snacks from Friday night until Sunday morning.
- Contact the Youth Secretary three weeks before the conference in order to receive a check for groceries and to ask about food saved from other conferences.
- Contact the Youth Secretary a few days before the conference to find out approximate number of people and any dietary needs.
- Purchase at least enough food for Friday night and Saturday’s breakfast and lunch, before arriving at the conference.
- Post menus for cooking crews.
- Set up recycling.
- Supervise the putting away of food after it is unpacked; keeping track of what belongs to the host meeting and putting aside any food that is to be used for specific menu needs.
- Attend beginning of Exec meetings to review the meal planning.
- During the Friday night Business Meeting: announce the location of sign-up sheets, location of recycling, and inquire about dietary needs (i.e. number of vegans and allergies). Also make it known that people can request foods.
- On Saturday, a FAP may take planners to buy food for Saturday dinner and Sunday breakfast.
- SAVE all receipts for ALL purchases made. Give receipts to YF Treasurer.
- Supervise kitchen clean up; determine what food goes where; what is to be given to the host meeting, given to Young Friends to take home, and given to BYM office to store for the next conference.
- Write in the conference reports to be sent to the Youth Secretary about the meals that you have planned.
- Plan packed lunches for Bus Trip (April planners only).
Note: All Young Friends must sign up to help with cooking and cleaning (one of each).
Here are a few other things to consider. Food we always buy: coffee, milk, bread, peanut butter, jelly, hot chocolate, apples, oranges, juice, tea, bagels, cream cheese, salad, snacks and sodas. If you spend all of the original check, more funds are available at the conference from the Treasurer. It is important to keep in mind that some friends may be vegetarians or vegans, and that many friends are concerned with the health value of their food. In addition try to vary menus between conferences.
Part of being a food planner is leaving the gathering. Please bring a Food Planner/Transportation Permission Form signed by your parent or guardian if you are under the age of 18. When you go shopping, keep in mind how your absence could affect the community. It is recommended that you do as much shopping as possible before the conference starts, and that any additional trips are kept to a minimum.
Food planning is a very difficult job and it is recommended that one of the two food planners for a conference be someone that has done food planning before. In addition, if you need help, don’t hesitate to call any member of the Executive Committee or the Youth Secretary. Food Planners are not asked to pay, but you may make a donation to Young Friends if you wish. Food Planners are also asked to attend the Executive Committee meetings.
HOW TO BE A CONFERENCE PLANNER
This is what you need to do to successfully plan a conference:
- Arrange a workshop leader at least one month before the conference. Report to Exec Committee at the conference before about any plans that have been made or concerns.
- Contact the BYFN editors so a description of the workshop can be published in the BYFN. Meet the deadline!
- Contact the FAPs for the conference.
- Have a basic agenda by conference time. Consider time for Exec Committee before each Business Meeting, meal preparation times, and optional activities to build a sense of community during free time.
- Contact the Monthly Meeting Clerk, Property Clerk, or appropriate person to ensure that the building will be opened at the designated time on Friday.
- Arrive at conference early to meet the host Meeting’s representative. Ask if there are any specifics about the Meeting that should be conveyed to Young Friends.
- Get hospital directions to give to the DFAP.
- Arrange for one boom box to be present at each conference.
Certain things have become customary for conferences:
- Suggested schedule
- Name game after Business Meetings.
- Physical activity at some time.
- Saturday night dance and/or Open Mic.
- An awesome game of Wink.
- Head count sometime during Friday night Business Meeting.
- Thank-you circle on Sunday morning.
Conference Planners are not asked to pay, but you may make a donation to Young Friends if you wish. Conference Planners are also welcomed to the Executive Committee Meetings. If you need help, do not hesitate to call any member of the Executive Committee. For numbers, contact the BYM Office.
MINUTE ON TOBACCO USE
“When Young Friends gather together, we strive to foster a community built on caring, trust, and love.” [Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM) Young Friends Gathering Expectations] The concern of smoking is a living issue, which Young Friends have addressed in the past and will continue to address in the future. We appreciate the concern brought forward by Alexandria Monthly Meeting and the greater BYM community. We understand that this concern comes out of love for Young Friends and a concern for the health of Young Friends.
The awareness of this concern has been present throughout the evolution of Young Friends. Over the years Young Friends have engaged on a wide variety of discussions and worship sharing, including a called conference on smoking on the fourth month of 1999. We have developed clear designated outdoor areas for smoking and places for the disposal of cigarette butts at conferences. We strive to act with a concern not only for ourselves, but also a concern and respect for our Meeting House hosts.
The spiritual nature and unconditional love and respect of the group are such that it provides support and strength for Young friends to make their own choices on health decisions. We hope that at future conferences we will be able to help smokers with the process of ceasing to smoke it they so desire.
During our discussions we examined the guidelines of our community, and how the issues we are facing are related. We ultimately decide to be true to ourselves, and stick with a community that is built on caring, trust, and love. We feel that tolerance, acceptance, and unconditional love are integral testimonies that Young Friends have, do and always will abide by. To ban smoking at conferences is unfaithful to our testimonies and us. Quaker history has shown that to disown or banish weakens the society as a whole.
The fact that some Young Friends do not attend conferences because of the smoking as conferences saddens us. We open our community to all, and will continue to work on this in the future. May the richness of our diversity strengthen our community and our love. (Approved at Baltimore Yearly Meeting Sessions 1999)
MINUTE ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
We, as Young Friends of BYM, living in the Quaker tradition, believe that the greater Quaker community should not only permit but should embrace same-sex marriage. Quaker testimonies, according to BYM Faith and Practice, provide ample justification for this stance. The testimonies spring from respect for truth; for peace, harmony, and a settled intention to practice love; for simplicity, community, and equal worth of all people." (Faith and Practice, p. 48)
The testimony on equality provides the most obvious support for our position. In living the testimony, we must allow the ministry of love to be available to all. Sexual orientation does not diminish or alter the Divine Light that Quakers recognize in every person. Quakers have often been at the forefront of similar struggles for equal rights, such as the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, and the civil rights movement. Now presented with a new struggle, should we not continue to put our testimonies into action? Our respect for peace and harmony leads us to uphold the spirit to the community. Since we strive to be welcoming to all people, must we not foster an environment in which all can pursue their spiritual journeys? If in the course of that journey leading for marriage occurs, their Meeting has an obligation for all way to open for the couple. When a religious tradition cannot fulfill the spiritual needs of its members, they are excluded form the community. As marriage is a spiritual need, people who cannot marry under the Religious Society of Friends may be forced to meet their needs elsewhere.
Our community should empower people to be true to themselves and their leading. If two people are led to make a lifelong commitment to each other, then to repress such an essential part of themselves goes against the testimony of truthfulness.
Quakers have no expectations about what is necessary in a marriage, besides the existence of a powerful love. Every marriage is unique. In celebrating same-sex marriage we will enhance the already present diversity and strength of our community. (Approved at Baltimore Yearly Meeting Sessions, 1999)
GREATER YOUNG FRIENDS ASSOCIATIONS
Friend’s General Conference (FGC) is an association of Yearly Meetings in the United States, and the six Monthly Meetings in Canada, which has an annual gathering. All Friends participate in workshops and worship to learn more about themselves and spirituality in Quakerism. For more information, please check the FGC website www.fgc.org.
Young Friends of North America (YFNA) is an organization of Young Friends between ages 18 and 30 from all over North America who have regular conferences and other gatherings similar to Young Friends activities. For more information please check www.quaker.org/yfna
The Youth Pilgrimage is a group trip for Young Friends in alternate years to Pendle Hill in England and the surrounding historic area. During alternate Years, Young Friends from Europe come to America to see historic American Quaker sites. For more information please check their website at www.quaker.org/fwcc
Young Adult Friends (YAF) is a group of people in the Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM) area 18-35 years old, or Young at heart. They are similar to Young Friends in their purpose: forming a spiritual community. They discuss issues facing their age group in workshops at their gatherings. Their conferences are structured more toward the attitude and age of the group.
Friends United Meeting (FUM) is an association of Yearly Meetings throughout the world, which gathers every three years. For more information, please see their website at www.fum.org.
Crisis Management Checklist
The following queries and suggestions are provided to help give Exec an external resource to consult when they need to deal with an emergency or a serious breach of Gathering Expectations. Experience has shown that consideration of process removed from a specific situation is helpful. To help ensure a balanced, secured approach is taken and that no important items are accidentally forgotten, the following queries and advices are provided for guidance. This checklist may be helpful in less serious situations as well.
- Is there danger? If so, remove the threat.
- Does anyone need medical attention? If so, attend to the person.
- If substances are involved, separate the substance from the person.
- Check in with the Youth Secretary and DFAP.
- Exec convenes and gets informed.
- Attend to the person(s) involved:
- Discuss parental notification. It is recommended that if it is decided that parents are to be notified, the person(s) involved notifies their own parents.
- Discuss who else (outside of YFs) to notify.
- Discuss if and /when notifying others (exp: Yearly Meeting Clerk, General Secretary, etc.) what level of names will be revealed.
- Discuss the option of those involved going home.
- Ensure that if those involved are going home, regardless of age, that they can get there safely.
To ensure that all conference participants understand our community and the expectations placed on each of us during our time together, the following topics should be considered:
THIS HAS NOT BEEN CREATED YET BUT IS RECOMMENDED BY THE HANDBOOK COMMITTEE FOR INCLUSION HERE