The four-day gathering at Wekiwa Springs State Park from 24 – 27 November, 2015 was a notable success: an opportunity for quiet reflection, physical activity, learning, and political action. Programs were offered that had an emphasis on the environment, global warming, personal engagement and fun.
At the beginning of HYM, many Friends said they had especially looked forward to our Thanksgiving gathering this year, after the political upheaval nationally. There was comfort and soul soothing sitting in the rocking chairs on the porch and Friends kept them in motion as we shared our fears and frustrations from anticipated rollbacks to progress made in the environmental and social justice arenas. The comfort of being among Friends with time to talk was palpable.
Beverly Ward, the SEYM Field Secretary for Earthcare gave a presentation on the Florida Sabal Trail pipeline, and Mary Jo Klingel led a worship-sharing on the environment. Kody Hersh reported on his visit to the Standing Rock protest in North Dakota and a follow-up “cell phone action” coordinated calls to public officials involved in putting down the Standing Rock protest.
Three extended canoe/kayak river trips were offered on Wednesday, Thursday (Thanksgiving) and Saturday down the Wekiwa River. Jerry Knutson coordinated. He reports the group saw a manatee as well as a bittern, in-flight. Next year will be the last year for the three days of options for boat owners. However, the rental/shuttle on Saturday will continue into 2018. The Wekiva Springs always has canoe rentals for shorter trips.
The fire risk this year eliminated bonfires, but evening activities continued and presentations and informal games and discussions.
The now mandatory “Untalent Show” on Saturday night reached new levels this year. Presentations ranged from a violin solo to singing to poetry to a Kabuki-ish dance. The weekend ended in worship 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 turkey and potluck delights. Kathy Hersh coordinated the meals. She has created menus for all our meals to help plan food purchases and arrange volunteer coordinators for each meal. Two 16-pound birds weren’t quite enough for our weekend needs for left-overs for the next day’s sandwich and soupmaking. A pizza meal on Friday prepared by the young people is becoming a tradition as well as a special finale dinner on Saturday.
The relaxed nature of the HYM gathering is reflected in our registration with people not registering until late, or just showing up for the day. This was an on-going problem for the Registrar. We counted 39 for dinner on Thanksgiving with about 55 people each day during the weekend. The total number of people that came to HYM 2016 is 72.
The Clerk, Carl Hersh, and Registrar, Beeg Camarota, will continue in these positions through the 2017 HYM gathering. Jerry Knutson will be Assistant Clerk inv2017, after which he will move into the role of Clerk in 2018. April Merleaux will work with Beeg during the 2017 gathering and take over as Registrar for HYM 2018.
Clerk: Carl Hersh, firstname.lastname@example.org
Registrar: Beeg Camarota, email@example.com