Welcome to your first Gathering Experience!

Introductory Sessions:

We are offering you an opportunity to view an online video to serve as an introduction to your Gathering experience. The video is visible below.. We invite you to attend an in-person session at the beginning of Gathering to have your questions addressed. There will be two in-person sessions: Sunday evening immediately after Plenary (near the Plenary space) and Monday at 1pm. These sessions will connect you to the First Time Attenders Support Subcommittee members as well as other first-time attenders so you can share concerns.

Video courtesy of Clinton Pettus and the First Time Attenders Group

Information Accessibility:

The best source of information at the Gathering is the Daily Bulletin app on-line; usually there also are a few hard-copy versions at meals. Check it every day to know of activities specific to that day and other information. There is also a Message Board, usually near the Info Desk. You can also ask someone with a red dot on their name tag, or at the Information Desk. 

As a First-Time Attender, feel free to place a Blue Dot on your name tag; they are available at Registration. You may find that many Friends will reach out to you so you can make new friends!

Interested in a Field Trip? Find out what’s available and sign-up at the Information Desk.


Be sure to get plenty of rest. Some experienced attenders encourage afternoon naps. You can’t do everything! Here is an opportunity to exercise discernment.

We work hard to find a comfortable user-friendly campus, but dorm rooms and beds are never the same as home. You might wish to bring a desk lamp or other small personal things to make your room more comfortable. Will you need extra pillows, or ear plugs if you are a light sleeper? Clothes hangers are not provided by the university – if you need some, bring some!  More about what to bring will be in your Final Details email. 

Make use of Wednesday afternoon “Sabbath time”, when the many afternoon activities of other days are not scheduled, so that you can rest, recharge and reflect, though do come to the Celebration of the Gathering Together Campaign Wednesday afternoon! 

If you are looking for a quiet or restful spot, check out the Healing Center and the Silent Place. Locations will be provided at Check-in. The Healing Center (which provides space for Friends to explore, practice, and experience healing modalities from many traditions) offers a variety of modalities to support Friends at Gathering.

College campuses are designed for young people; walking distances can be a challenge for many of us. Gathering provides Golf Carts to help those of us who have mobility issues. If you are comfortable walking, enjoy it, but if you need assistance, use a golf cart. There are formal Golf Cart Stops with signage, but there will also be a phone number for Golf Cart Central where you can call to request that a ride come to you. You can also flag down a cart that is passing. If you have a recognized need to use a cart, obtain a Golf Cart pass at Golf Cart Central so that you can have priority for a seat. 


There are numerous opportunities for worship during the Gathering. Worship sessions are open to anyone who wishes to attend. They are not limited to members of the sponsoring group, unless they say that attendance is limited to a specific group, such as Friends of Color Worship. The afternoon worship opportunity is sponsored by FLGBTQC (Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns) and is open to all Gathering attenders. Child care will be provided if requested.

Before 8:30 AM, there are Meetings for Worship, as well as Movement Opportunities and a facilitated Bible Study Half Hour.

Mind, Body, and Spirit Activities:

Grounding movement activities such as yoga and tai chi may be offered mornings and afternoons. There are often several opportunities for singing– Broadway songs and Shape-note singing are common, but other impromptu events may pop-up as well, such as folk-singing. Folk-dancing is also a frequent occurrence. Games such as Capture the Flag are often available, welcoming both adults and children. There is no need to sign up in advance – just show up! Where are they? Look for information in the Daily Bulletin. 

There are focused events presented by Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns (FLGBTQC); Nontheist Friends; Quaker Earthcare Witness; and the Twelve Step Center. At certain times, the People of Color Center is open only to People of Color, Please pay attention and respect this limitation!


For many Friends, workshops provide a comfortable home base with friendships that develop out of sharing a common interest. If you are uncomfortable with your workshop, there may be space in another one that suits you better. Go to the Workshop Changes table near the Gathering Information Desk on Monday to see if that is a possibility.

Food Options:

The college food service staff works with us to provide a variety of foods that meet our diverse dietary requirements. If you have specific dietary needs, please let us know before you come. The volunteer food coordinator or someone from staff will get in touch with you. Certain meal options may be limited in availability. Please respect your fellow attenders and don’t select a limited option if you do not have that specific dietary need. 


  • You are invited to consider eating at the First-Time Attenders table, where new and experienced attenders join together. Look for signs on the table.
  • If you’re feeling overstimulated at meal times, try the silent dining area; look for signs to the Silent Dining room.
  • If you want to avoid the busiest crowds and lines (the lunch rush is right after workshops get out), try attending a singing group or taking a walk and eat lunch later. Lunch hours are 11;30 to 1:30. 
  • If you need help getting food to your table, there are tray carriers who can assist you. They usually stand at the entrance to the dining area; help them be of service by asking for their assistance!!
  • If you have young children or have a medical issue that limits your ability to stand or wait in line, or a time deadline, we encourage you to ask Friends ahead of you if you may move to the front of the line. This is a long-established expectation at Gathering, so don’t be reluctant!

You may also want to check out these links for more information:


Learn more about programs & events at the 2024 Gathering.

If you have questions about being a newcomer to the Gathering, you can reach the First-Time Attenders Committee at  WelcometotheGathering@gmail.com or the Gathering Contact Form. The Information Desk is another great source, or you should feel free to ask someone with a red dot on their name tag; they would love to be of help. 

Safe Travels, & looking forward to being at the Gathering with you soon!

Gathering First-Time Attenders Support Subcommittee:

Becky Marty, David Haines, Frank Barch, Clinton Pettus, Sharon Custer-Boggess, and Michelle Bellows

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