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G2023 YouthCanopyWalk AlixVallery Copy

2023 Youth Epistle

Southeastern Yearly Meeting

Youth Epistle 2023

Dear friends,

We want to share our experiences at the SEYM yearly gathering of 2023. This year, the theme for the youth and young adult program was the Natural World That We Live In.

On Thursday, we started out with an inter-generational zombie apocalypse workshop, where attendees could express and share ideas on what they would do in the case of an apocalypse or natural disaster.

Friday morning, we took part in an activity that focused on how the five senses can be emphasized and heightened in nature. We also spoke about the importance of acknowledging all senses, instead of focusing on just 2 or 3.

Canopy Walk. photo: Alix V.

We then went on a canopy walk while using this knowledge to be increasingly aware about what we see, feel, touch, taste, and hear. Once we were back at the youth center, we had a lot of fun constructing seed balls that would be beneficial to all gardens.

Later on, many of us enjoyed a high ropes course that challenged us mentally and physically. We practiced understanding the differences between the danger your body thinks you’re in, and the danger you’re actually in. One of the instructors, Erica, also urged us to look at how we want to be supported by others, and to remember the importance of asking friends the same question to best suit their preferences.

During the high ropes course, everyone also practiced learning their limitations of how far they can go before hitting a healthy place to stop. We learned how much challenges are based off of mental strength as opposed to physical strength.

After reconvening, a member of our youth group hosted a talent show available to anyone who wanted to participate and share their gifts with the community. There were many interactive acts, including laughing yoga and hand-held dancing/singing as a group to feel connected.

photo: Mariah D.

After the talent show, there was a welcoming campfire that many gathered around and enjoyed. Meanwhile, young adults and youth clerks met and discussed if a Quaker stance on abortion should be taken by the FCNL, and why.

In the early Saturday morning, youth group members partook in a healthy worship meeting that prompted thought about many topics surrounding nature. We then began our business discussion, where we formed committee groups that nominated next year’s clerks, wrote the epistle, and discussed potential activities for future meetings.

We ended by having a youth centered discussion with a representative from FCNL in regards to the Quaker community’s stance on Abortion. Soon after, those who wanted to go canoeing had lots of fun in the cove, practicing communication and teamwork.

We then gathered to play a friendly but intense game of capture the flag, after which we ate and played board games. Lastly, there was an LGBTQIA+ affinity group for anyone who wanted to join.

On Easter Sunday, we reflected on our time together, and wrapped up with a fun and engaging Easter egg hunt!