Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Gathering Profiles: Youth Sponsor

Photo Credit: Sam Taylor

Gathering Profiles is a series about Friends we’ve met at the FGC Gathering. The Gathering team will publish a new profile each month as we get closer to FGC Gathering 2020.

Awesome and Transformative:

Sam Taylor - High School Sponsor

Did you know you can support young people to attend Gathering by serving as their sponsor? This is essential if a young person wants to attend but their parent or guardian cannot. Sam Taylor has attended FGC’s Gathering twice, both times as a sponsor. Sam was motivated to be a presence for Scattergood Friends School students, the Iowa Friends School where he has worked for the past 11 years. Sam feels that both Gatherings have been fruitful for the youth in his care.

Participation in Gathering’s High School program has helped both youth understand Quaker process at Scattergood better. One student really liked being somewhere “where youth felt it was their place to have a voice and to speak in worship.” Another found the Gathering to be “foundationally life-changing,” according to Sam. This youth was “chosen as High School clerk, which was a real confidence booster and gave him the feeling that Gathering is a place where he belongs and where people trust in him.” While at Gathering, this young person embraced a Quaker identity for himself and made important connections with other young people.

Personally, Sam loves singing at Gathering, and finds multiple times throughout the week to do so. Another unexpected pleasure of Gathering is running into Friends from his past, including previous Scattergood students. Sam’s son Evan also participated in Junior Gathering this past year. Sam was grateful for the caring, flexible staff and for the rhythm of the day.

This year, consider sponsoring a young person from your meeting or school to attend Gathering. You can sponsor youth of any age, from elementary to high school. As a sponsor, you are required to attend the High School orientation and to check-in with the young person daily. If any concerns were to come up with the young person in your care, you would be responsible for resolving the issue with the High School staff members.

In Sam’s experience, being a sponsor is “not a big imposition on your Gathering experience. It is awesome and transformative for the young people.” If you travel from Gathering with the young person, often the most valuable time for sponsors and youth is the ride home. This is an opportunity for you both to reflect on your Gathering experience, and for you to mentor a young person along their Quaker path.

For more information about how to become a sponsor, reach out to Marian Dalke, Gathering Youth Coordinator, at 215-561-1700 ext. 3050 or [email protected]