Junior Young Friends
In the wake of a global pandemic, the Youth Programs of Baltimore Yearly Meeting is having to switch gears and find creative alternatives to our tradition in-person gatherings. Our conferences have been an invaluable part of the personal and spiritual growth of so many of our young people and we want to make sure that we are still able to provide them with some sort of love and support in these trying times.
2020-2021 Conference Dates
What is Junior Young Friends?
As one of the youth programs of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, we hold a series of weekend retreats for 6th-8th graders, whom we call Junior Young Friends (JYFs). JYF conferences or “cons” are held at different Quaker Meetinghouses throughout the school year. Cons are a fun way to see friends from other Meetings or camp, make new friends, and retreat from the pressures of teenage life, while still developing skills around living in community and having a lot of fun. Sunshine Klein, the BYM Youth Programs Manager, and Ana Phillips, the JYF Assistant, facilitate these weekends in conjunction with the Youth Programs Committee.
When attending a conference, please bring a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothes, toiletries. Many JYFs also enjoy bringing things to help them foster relationships like music, sports equipment, or games.
You'll need to register your JYF online here or by clicking the "JYF Registration" link to the left. Each in-person conference costs $40. For the first conference your JYF attends each school year, you'll need to complete and submit the Medical Information form.
JYFs are not the only people at a JYF con. Adults also participate in the community. We call them Friendly Adult Presences (FAPs). To become a FAP, fill out the application page here. You will be informed of the next available training, which you must participate in before you can serve as a FAP. While adults plan the program and meals at these conferences, JYFs are required to participate in cooking, cleaning, and making decisions that affect the group.
To join our mailing list sign up here. Make sure to check the Junior Young Friends box!
A Sample Schedule for an In-Person JYF Con
10am Arrival and Registration; JYFs play freely.
11 Orientation and name games
11:30 First “color group” meeting to collectively decide a group name, and play a game. These small groups mix age, gender, and number of conferences attended, and has a Friendly Adult Presence or FAP.
12 One “color group” makes lunch.
1pm One color group cleans up lunch.
1:30 Big, run around game (Soccer, Frisbee, Jugs).
2:15 Workshop (different activities, discussion, and worship sharing, all based around the weekend’s theme)
4 Free time/snack. JYFs often organize themselves into games, and have the option of a few arts&crafts.
5 Color groups do a “check-in” where they get together and each answer, “Are you having fun?,” “Do you feel included?,” and “What is the name of one new friend that you made today?” Sometimes they answer different questions, or reflect further on the workshop/theme.
5:30 One color group makes dinner.
7 One color group cleans up dinner.
7:30 Gather for Meeting for business, which begins with 20 min of silence to gather and settle
8 Meeting for business, which includes choosing who will clerk, record, what sleeping arrangements will be, what the morning schedule will be, and at least one other item of business.
9 Dessert/ bedtime snack.
10pm Bedtime – JYFs set up their sleeping bags and whisper for awhile, while we repeatedly tell them to be quiet, and eventually go to sleep. Many times there is a room set aside for ‘early sleepers’ that will not tolerate whispering.
7:15 Wake up
7:30 One color group makes breakfast while everyone else packs up their personal stuff
8:30 One color group cleans up breakfast while the color group that made breakfast packs up their personal stuff
9 We clean the Meetinghouse, pack up and put away the group materials
9:30 ‘Thank-you circle’, where JYFs respond to the queries “What made the weekend special for you?”, and/or “What are you grateful for?” out of Worship. One FAP double checks the cleanliness of the Meetinghouse
10 Attend Meeting for Worship with the host meeting, for the amount of time that is traditional for children at that Meeting
10:20 1st day school with the host meeting, or another workshop session on the topic of the weekend
11:15 Return to Meeting, introduce ourselves, and thank the Meeting for the use of their space
11:30 JYFs play freely while they wait for their parents to arrive
12 All JYFs have returned to the custody of their parents, and the conference is over.