Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends


Photo by Rachel Brimmer
Children and Teens
Date and Time: 
Sunday, June 30, 2019 - 6:00pm to Saturday, July 6, 2019 - 11:00am

Pinecones (full-time only)

For 2019 Gathering, we have combined the Pinecones and Acorns groups. All children under age 5 will be in Acorns. To learn more about Acorns group, click here.

Pinecones are what we call our preschoolers in the Junior Gathering Program. Click the links in the menu below to learn about this group.  This is the group for those who have not yet completed a year of kindergarten. Typically they are ages three and four.

The staff was amazingly engaged and attentive.  He had a great time with a variety of activities and toys. ”                  ~ Pinecone parent

Daily Routine


What to Bring

Toddler or Preschooler?

Typical Day

Open House

Archives & Resources for more information:

Junior Gathering Times, Summer 2019 - Our newsletter for families with children

2018 Letter from Pinecone Leaders

Junior Gathering Times, Summer 2018 

2017 Letter from Pinecone Leaders

Junior Gathering Times Summer 2017

Winter Junior Gathering TimesFebruary 2017 

Junior Gathering Times, June 2016            

Junior Gathering Times, June 2015 

Daily Routine  

Preschoolers spend their mornings in a variety of spirited outdoor activities, such as water play, ball play, and tricycle (car, fire engine!) riding. They will sing songs and hear stories and make beautiful crafts. Children who are mostly able to take care of their bathroom needs but have not yet entered Kindergarten are in this group.

Preschoolers partake in a simple snack. Parents are encouraged to share any dietary needs of their children on the Parental Release Form, so that plans can be made to meet those needs.  Any preschoolers who still take a morning nap will be accommodated.

While we provide programming in the evenings, some families choose to have an earlier bedtime or to keep their little ones with them during their evening activities.

These young friends are grouped primarily by age, and lovingly cared for and under the supervision and direction of a handful of adults -- one primary coordinator with 3 to 4 well qualified staff, which may include a High School Friend who is taking the Ministry With Children workshop.

You can rest easy knowing that your preschooler's needs for fresh air, nutritious food and rest are being met.

"What did I like about Junior Gathering this year?     Positive identity development as a Quaker.  The lived experience of belonging and community within a religious context."

     Pinecone parent

Before Gathering

Help us prepare to give your child the best possible week by sharing with us:

  • dietary needs
  • joys
  • struggles
  • achievements
  • challenges and/or
  • recent significant changes in your child's life.

Indicate these on your Parental Release form or by email to [email protected]  You can rest assured that your child is being cared for lovingly as you attend your morning workshop or evening plenary.

Carefully read your confirmation email and the electronic mailing from Junior Gathering in early June. (JG Times & a letter from your child’s group leader).

After April 1, 2019, check out the Junior Gathering FAQs on our website.

You may wish to connect with other parents who have attended Gathering before.

What to Bring 

Please clearly label anything you wish to take home at the end of the week.

Pack for your child to bring to group each day:

  • Stroller (if you use one)
  • Photo of your family (you can email us one, if you prefer)
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent (if you use it)
  • Bathing suit
  • Towel
  • Hat
  • Rain jacket
  • Sweater or sweatshirt
  • Change of clothes in case we get dirty
  • Flip-flops or sandals that can get wet
  • Sneakers or shoes that tie on
  • Labeled water bottle

Other important items for Gathering:

  • Sleeping Bag or bedding if your child is sleeping on the floor in your room
  • Helmet: you must have a helmet if you bring a bike.  

What's the difference between Toddlers and Preschoolers? Or how do you tell an Acorn from a Pinecone?

We will rely heavily on your opinion for determining whether your child is a Toddler or a Preschooler. Typically the preschool group will be doing activities that require more small and large motor skills, a longer attention span, and more interaction with other children. Pinecones are usually 3 to 5 year olds, while Toddlers are 2 and 3 year olds.  If you have a question, please contact the Junior Gathering Coordinator.

A typical family day:

7:00-8:30 AM Breakfast
8:45-12:00 noon Junior Gathering Morning Program (Parents in Workshops) AM Community Worship
12:00-1:30 PM  Lunch
1:30-5:00 PM Afternoon Family Time options include:
  • Our Family Place: 1:30 - 4:30
  • MultiGen activities
  • Field Trips
  • Make your own plans

5:00-6:30 PM Dinner

6:45-9:00 PM Junior Gathering Evening Program (Parents at Plenaries)
9:15 PM Bedtime for little ones with cooperative childcare in the dorm so parents can go to Late Night Sings, Films, or Contra Dance.


Open House:

Sunday evening after dinner for all children up to those who have finished 5th grade (Acorns, Pinecones, Sprouts, Seedlings, Saplings & Pinetrees). This is a time for you and your child to come and get acquainted with the caregivers / staff and the other children. Coordinators will discuss their plans and expectations for the week. Parents and/or Responsible Parties will be asked to list those adults who have permission to sign out their child. If permission has not been granted, your child will not be released. Open House is a good time to share dietary or other needs with the Group Coordinator, particularly if you forgot to share these with us ahead of time.

Help us prepare to give your child the best possible week by sharing with us dietary needs, joys, struggles, achievements, challenges and/or recent significant changes in your child's life. You can indicate these on your Parental Release form or by email to [email protected].

A word about Simple Snacks for 2019

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.

A simple snack allows Junior Gathering to a

ct as better stewards of our funds. 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 our children are getting plenty of water to drink, especially on hot days.

Updated June 7, 2019


Related Content

What is Junior Gathering?

Parental Release Forms for Junior Gathering and High School Program

Group Coordinators : Junior Gathering Group Coordinator? Click here.

2019 Junior Gathering Times: Helpful information and tips!

Junior Gathering Frequently Asked Questions

Youth Program Testimonials

High School Field Trip Permission Form

Children and Teens Staff Applications

Junior Gathering staff information & application - *We are no longer accepting JG Staff applications for 2019.

High School Program staff information & application

Children and Teens Registration Deadlines

May 31, 2020: Junior Gathering (infant through current eighth grade) 

June 10, 2020: High School (current ninth through twelfth grade)


Return to  Children and Teens program menu.