A First Gathering Story

Two women standing together outside near waterfront
Asma (right) with her mother.

Asma arrived at her first Gathering in 2022 after driving 10 hours with Friends from her monthly meeting in Florida to Radford University in Virginia. “I was excited to meet people I didn’t know and who didn’t know me. We were in dorm rooms, as if we were in college. I was independent.”

During the day, the Gathering’s Young Adults and Youth (YAY) High School Program was filled with activities, games, a support group, and a multi-day anti-racism workshop. During the workshop, Asma and her small group drew “what a good neighborhood would look like.”

“We talked about what we wanted to see—equality, energy alternatives. Then we discussed how we could make it happen. The facilitator asked questions to help us explore challenges. We talked about power structures and how they appear in the education and justice systems, and how they contribute to racial injustice.”

For Asma, this was the first time she was in such a large group of Quakers. “For some reason I feel like I’m in this bubble and Quakers are only where I live, but I met Quakers from across the United States.”

She found it “fulfilling to talk with Friends who have had more life experiences than me and are also interested in learning from my generation. The youth coordinators were wonderful and made a very comfortable space for us.”

When reflecting on YAY, Asma feels grateful “for all the people I met and the experiences I had. And I’m grateful to everyone who organized this Gathering during such a stressful year. YAY has helped me be more sensitive to people’s feelings. For example, even when we’re being fun-loving, there are vulnerable moments. We talked about hard things. Some people can feel left out in a large group. I learned that you have to do as much as you can to help people feel included. You have to make the effort.”

Experience the Gathering

Join Friends from across North America at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, OR for the 2023 Gathering! Our welcome video gives you a brief tour of the site’s beautiful grounds and how our theme, “Listen So That We May Live”, holds hope and connection.

Want to help Friends and seekers discover the Gathering? Your gift, whatever meaningful amount, helps create the Gathering’s nurturing experiences that impact people’s lives, their meetings, and communities. Thank you for making a donation today!

Vitality of Now

You can read Asma’s story in the FGC 2022 Impact Report along with more stories of Friends finding spiritual nurturing and vibrant community through your generosity.

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