Young Quakes Conference an Unqualified Success

Friends General Conference Young Quakes Conference at Catoctin Quaker Camp from October 9-11, 1999 was an overwhelming success. Comments on our evaluation forms concerning “What didn’t you like?” Had primarily to do with too much rain and mud. Comments about “What could have been improved?” reported “it could have been longer.”

Out of 88 Friends at the conference, 75 turned in their evaluation forms! Attending were 67 students ranging in age from 14-18 years and 21 adults. They came from 17 states, districts or provinces. The program was so successful that the group immediately started planning the next conference.

Young Friends attending had self-selected a youth program with an educational component. They were attentive and interested in the topics (Quaker history, Quaker diversity and the unprogrammed approach to the Bible). They knew the expectations for behavior, in advance, and there was not a single infringement. Moreover, young Friends did chores. They washed all the dishes, pots and pans, swept the dining room after every meal, and cleaned the bathrooms and shower houses every day. One youth worker commented, “They even sang while they worked!”

The Friendly Adult Presences were uniformly experienced, knowledgeable and high powered. The speakers were good, pertinent and challenging. Marsha Holliday who initiated and coordinated the conference called it “the high point of my career in youth work.”

Here are some of the comments.

  • I got to learn more about my spirituality.
  • I like all the cool Quaker people. And I actually know something about programmed meetings now. Good speakers.
  • That everyone was so loving (young and older friends). I felt that my opinion mattered. I felt valued. I learned a lot.
  • I like the speakers. They did an excellent job!! I also enjoyed our family groups. We had excellent discussions. I liked meeting new Friends.

Editor’s note: This article was compiled from Marsha Holliday’s report. She initiated the conference and was serving as Religious Education Coordinator when it occurred.

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