YAY Gathering: Celebrating Quaker Community

Photo of FGC 2022 YAY Gathering High School Coordinator, Aurelio Anderson
YAY Gathering High School Coordinator, Aurelio Anderson

As FGC’s 2022 YAY (Young Adults and Youth) Gathering unfolded it was clear it was a celebration of friendship and Quaker community.

The YAY Gathering drew 114 excited Friends to Radford University’s campus in Virginia. “It was like a reunion,” Adult Young Friend Aurelio Anderson observed.

As somebody who’s been on [Gathering] high school staff since 2016, and that includes two virtual years in 2020 and 2021, the choice to hold the 2022 YAY Gathering was crucial. Connections would have been broken [if we hadn’t had the in-person event], and we would have lost an entire generation of high schoolers,” shared Aurelio. “However small, the YAY Gathering gave us a window.”

YAY Gathering: New Challenges. New Era.

After a few staff and volunteers tested positive for COVID ahead of the event, Aurelio stepped up to become YAY’s High School Coordinator. “I needed to move quickly into a new level of responsibility. The prospect of stepping into the unfamiliar was a bit terrifying, but the challenge revealed something in myself.”

Aurelio watched new and seasoned Gathering attendees bond. “All of the high school participants were a part of the discernment for the 2023 Gathering. They were flexible and couldn’t fall back on traditional processes for meeting for business. They needed to move differently. It felt like the beginning of a new era. We are doing something we’ve never done before.”

“FGC is a community that I’m deeply invested in. The Gathering is one of the few places where Friends can connect as a large, spiritual community,” Aurelio reflected. “It’s a safe place to search for yourself.”

“I would honestly encourage people to experience the FGC Gathering. It’s beneficial for everyone. It expands your network and your horizons. It’s where I discovered what I wanted to be as a Quaker and as a person.”

Aurelio Anderson

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