Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Seventh through Ninth Grade

Photo by Barbara Von Salis
Children and Teens
Date and Time: 
Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 8:45pm to Saturday, July 4, 2020 - 11:00am

Oaks  (Rising 7th, 8th and 9th Grades, full-time only)

A time to explore leadings, to begin discovering more independence, and to create a Quaker community with other middle schoolers from across the US and Canada. In the Junior Gathering Program, Oaks are young Friends who will be in 7th, 8th, and 9th grade in the fall. Click the links in the menu below to learn about this group.         

There were lots of new people my age and I made many new friends. The nature group also interested me in edible plants, which is fun.”                    -Oak Participant   

Morning and Evening Program Time

Preparation (Before Gathering)

What to Bring  new!

Typical Day

Plan to attend Sunday night orientation

Simple Snacks



“I felt really good about creating space for the Oaks group to create their own inclusive group.” –Oaks workshop leader

“I felt really good about creating space for the Oaks group to create their own inclusive group.”Oaks workshop leader

Archives & Resources for more information:

 Letter to Oak Group Participants, June 2019
Junior Gathering Times - Summer 2019
Letter to Oaks Participants, June 2018
Junior Gathering Times - Summer 2018

Daily Routine

Morning Program Time – All Oaks attend a workshop with 8-12 other Oaks and a pair of workshop leaders.  We usually have three or four workshop choices, with care being given to providing a balance of artistic, active, spiritual and service oriented options. Due to low attendance for 2019's Gathering, we will be offering 2 workshop otions for Oaks.

When you attend the required Oaks Orientation on Sunday evening, you will indicate your workshop preferences.  

"We had amazing activities and I never got bored."        -Oaks Participant

Evening Program time –

  • Share in small support groups with 5-6 other Oaks and 1 staffer for part of the time: worship sharing, games, check-ins, and personal discussions about identity, spirituality, and other topics that arise. 
  • The rest of the evening, join in a variety of recreational options in larger groups. Samples include sports, crafts, music, games, and art projects
  • Different activities are offered each night.  Staff are happy to tailor those activities to the interests of participants.  Have an idea for a fun group activity?  Suggest it to one of your leaders ahead of time.  It may appear on the agenda!

Outside of Program Time: This is a great time for youngsters and parents to begin to practice setting boundaries, as kids begin to build independence and trust with the adults in their lives.  We encourage families to check-in regularly, preferably several times a day. Oaks can (with parent or sponsor permission) sign themselves in and out of program time. It is important to stay in touch throughout the day, so we strongly suggest meeting up:

  • at meals
  • during the afternoon
  • during the evening – right after program time. 

We count on Oaks to:

  • make good decisions
  • follow all guidelines
  • actively work to maintain a healthy community inside and outside of program time. 

Parents and sponsors, we remind you that you are in-charge of setting boundaries and enforcing those boundaries during the mornings before program time, all afternoon each day, and evenings after 9:00 pm.  The dynamic community we look forward to creating every year comes together best when parents, Oak participants, and staff can work together to ensure a safe and happy environment for everyone.

Before Gathering

Help us prepare to give your teen 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 mailing from Junior Gathering in early June. (JG Times & a letter from your child’s group leader). This is also where you will learn what workshops will be offered for Oak Group.

Check out the Junior Gathering FAQs on our website.

Connect with other parents who have attended Gathering before.


Here is a list of things to think about bringing to enjoy your time at Gathering! Shoes, pants, water bottles, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirts are super important because at least two of our workshop choices involve being outdoors, in the bright Ohio sunshine.

Here are some other essentials:

  • Alarm clock
  • Swimsuits and beach towels
  • A hat
  • Sturdy sandals and shoes
  • Water bottles
  • Sunglasses
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Long pants
  • A watch or some other non-cell phone means of telling time


    Think about bringing:

  • Music and musical instruments
  • Sports stuff to share (frisbees, soccer balls etc.)
  • Games to share without a screen (board games, card games, party games).
  • Helmet (You must have one if you bring your bicycle, scooter, or skateboard.)

During group time, you will not need anything that cannot be shared as a group, including video games, iPods, and cell phones.  Please leave those in your room.

A typical day:

7:00-8:30 AM Breakfast
8:45-12:00 PM Oaks Workshops (Parents in Workshops)
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 Oaks Support Groups and Recreation (Parents at Plenaries)
9:15 PM Oak group participants and their parents reconnect about evening activities, which are under parents' supervision.  
Bedtime for younger siblings with cooperative childcare in the dorm so parents can go to Late Night Sings, Films, or Contra Dance.  
10:00 PM Dorm Curfew all Oaks Group Participants must be in their own dorms. 
         Quiet Time – All Gathering wide quiet time in dorms from 10:00 PM until 7:00 AM 
11:00 PM Room Curfew – all Oaks Group Participants must be in their own dorm rooms.

Oaks Required Orientation: A Key to understanding the week

Sunday evening 8:45 after plenary. Required for Oak participants and a parent or sponsor. Please make travel arrangements so you can attend. NOTE:  This is when Oak participants indicate their workshop choices!

Help us prepare to give your child the best possible week by sharing with us 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 act 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 8/22/19


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.