Junior Gathering is:
- Home base for newborns to rising ninth graders (Click here for High School program)
- Where young people learn, play, and thrive at the Gathering
- A time for games, songs, and stories
- A place to make friends and experience Quakerism with Friends from across the continent
- Full of fun and educational Quaker-based activities led by a diverse, caring, and skilled staff
Junior Gathering offers:
- Morning program (8:45-noon), while adults attend weeklong workshops
- Evening program (6:45-9:00 PM), while adults attend plenary sessions
Junior Gathering Groups
Participants are placed in age-appropriate groups for the entire week of the Gathering. Infants and toddlers will have at least one adult for every two children. Groups for older children will have an adult for every 4 to 5 youngsters.
Junior Gathering staff strive to keep our Junior Gathering community engaging, nurturing, inclusive and welcoming of all children and families.
“I am in awe of the dedication and joy that the JG staff brings to their service, as well as how well equipped and well prepared the program is when the kids show up on Sunday. It makes me hopeful for the Future of the Religious Society of Friends to see how our children are so beautifully and lovingly nurtured by Junior Gathering.”
~from a Junior Gathering parent’s online evaluation
Our main objective as we prepare for Gathering each year is to create a safe, loving environment in which our children can make new friends and explore Quakerism in an age-appropriate, child-centered way. We strive to plan activities that allow for exploration in a play-based curriculum and to build programming that holds all of our children at the center. This is a great joy for those of us who are called to this work.
One of the challenges before the Long Range Conference Planning Committee this year was to find ways to support FGC in its efforts to be careful stewards of our financial resources without compromising the excellent quality of programming we have worked so hard to create in Junior Gathering. After much discernment and celebration of what works well, the committee felt clear that serving a simpler snack made sense. A simple snack of something like crackers allows Junior Gathering to act as better stewards of our funds in two ways. It eliminates the need for the two snack coordinator positions, as all snack can be delivered to the classrooms at the beginning of the week instead of each morning, and it allows us to conserve funds for programming and rely more heavily on the dining hall and mealtimes to fill the tummies of the children in our care with healthy, sustaining food. Though we have loved serving fresh, organic produce and juice to the children, these groceries cannot be bought in bulk and are significantly more costly than dry goods. We appreciate the care that went into this decision and trust that as you make plans for coming to Gathering, you will plan to use the robust offering at the dining services to make sure the children are well fueled for their play and learning with us. A hearty breakfast goes a long way toward a successful morning and a solid supper helps children thrive during evening program time. Of course, we will serve a snack to bridge the time between meals, but this year, the snack will be simpler.
Please plan to send a water bottle clearly marked with your child's name so we can avoid using disposable cups and still make sure kids are getting plenty of water to drink, especially on hot days.
If you want to learn more about Junior Gathering or have questions, please contact: Junior Gathering Coordinator Patsy Martin or the co-clerks at [email protected]
You may also enjoy watching The Gathering Video.