North Pacific Yearly Meeting annual session is a time when we meet as a wider community of Quakers. Once here, we worship together, make plans together, listen to each other, play and make art and sing. For five days we live in a trusting community where we can open up to each other and to God.
The Youngest Friends are a "kid-centered community" within the larger NPYM community for Friends in the age range of birth through "Elementary School" (0-10). *(For more information about children from birth to age 3, please see the note below) The Youngest Friends have our own program (usually in the mornings) where we explore the culture, history, and community of Quakers. We also have snacks.
The Central Friends are a community within the larger NPYM community for Friends in the age range of "Middle School" (11-13). The Central Friends have our own program (usually in the mornings) where we work together to build a community, and discern what "Being a Quaker" means to each of us. There's also snacks.
Play As Led is a kid-centered time for Friends of all ages to chose from various activities as they feel led. There might be games, crafts, stories, songs, quiet spaces, books to read, Intergenerational Interest Groups, visiting Friends, and indoor or outdoor spaces to choose from. And of course, snacks.
* We welcome infants or toddlers as part of our program, and recognize that their developmental stages require a different level of care and supervision than older children. In recent years we have not had many children in this age group attend our program without their primary caregivers accompanying them. Because of this, we haven't been able to reliably recruit Kid's Program staff who feel led to work with this age group (Friends have shown up wanting to hold babies, and have left feeling understandably disappointed.) We offer two flexible options for Friendly Families with this age group, so we can work together to help Annual Session be a good experience for everyone.
Friends are welcome to join their kids in participation with the Kid's Program. (This invitation is extended to all Friendly Families.) At past Annual Sessions it has been common to see family members nursing babies, rocking them to sleep, changing diapers, all while the Kid's Program has continued around them.
If Friends would like to sign their infants or toddlers into the Kid's Program, they are very welcome to do so. Please know that the earlier infants or toddlers are registered prior to Annual Sessions, the easier it will be for us to find a Friend who feels led to work on staff specifically with that age. This Friend would then work primarily (or only) with this age group, and give them the care that is developmentally appropriate. If we can not find a Friend who feels led to work on staff in this role, we will notify you prior to Annual Sessions, and we can work together to try and find a way forward.