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Canoeing On The Wekiva River
Canoeing on the Wekiva River

Half Yearly Meeting 2015

Canoeing on the Wekiva River; photo by Peter Ackerman

Canoeing on the Wekiva River; photo by Peter Ackerman

The informal four-day gathering at Wekiwa Springs State Park from 26 – 29 November, 2015, was a notable success. Two extended canoe trips were offered on Thursday (Thanksgiving) and Friday on the Wekiwa River. Jerry Knutson took the lead, setting up the trips and coordinating with the paddlers. Jerry has indicated that he is willing to undertake this role at the next HYM gathering.

This is Jerry’s report:

”Thanksgiving was a beautiful paddle on the Lower Wekiva River. Three of us brought our own boats for this trip and then went to Wekiwa Springs State Park for a GREAT potluck dinner. The next day a dozen F/friends paddled from Rock Springs to Wekiva Island. This run is my second favorite paddle in the world–because we don’t have to shuttle, rentals are available, it is all downstream, it is a small, quiet, beautiful river, AND food and beverages are available at the takeout while we wait for the shuttle. Next year we may add a Wednesday so we can paddle the entire Wekiva River over the three days.”

Youth & YAQs at the Spring; photo by Ann Shea

Youth & YAQs at the Spring; photo by Ann Shea

In addition to the canoe trips outside the park, the facilities for swimming, hiking and canoe rental within the park were fully utilized. Quakers were present at the park ranger presentation on “rare Florida animals,” with YAQs organizing the evening campfires with SomeMores and impromptu music. Two Worship Sharing gatherings were created during the weekend as spiritual concerns and interests were explored.

Last and least I need to mention the “Untalent Show” which reached new levels. With the memory of this year’s performances fresh in memory, we hope that shame will drive us onward and upward. The weekend ended in worship with a fullness, satisfaction and centered thankfulness for our Quaker community.

Our bodies were well nurtured as well as out spirits. Our Thanksgiving feast was just that, with tables filled with potluck delights that sustained us through almost the entire weekend. Part of my learning process as Clerk was meal planning. Next year we will create menus for all our meals well in advance to help us plan food purchases and arrange volunteer coordinators for each meal. Two 18 pound birds would have sufficed for our turkey needs with left-overs for the next day’s sandwich and soup-making. A pizza meal the young people can prepare will be on tap for the Friday with a special final dinner on Saturday. Vegan and vegetarian diets continue to challenge our meal planning.

The registration gives us a good idea of overall participation, which seems to be consistently between 50 and 60 participants, with 6 are children. There were some cancellations, but donations and the food buy-back created a surplus of almost 500 dollars.

—Carl Hersh, Half Yearly Meeting Clerk