524 Pitt Hall Road, Old Chatham NY 12136
(518) 794-8811

Mission Statement

The NYYM Powell House Conference and Retreat Center is a place of peace, conducive to reflection and spiritual growth. Our mission is to foster the spiritual growth of Friends and others, and to strengthen the application of Friends’ testimonies in the world. Pro- grams and facilities are structured to encourage community development and identity.

Powell House was established by New York Yearly Meeting in 1960 as the result of a gift of residential property from Elsie K. Powell Sr. This property, with subsequent additions and improvements, now consists of Pitt Hall, the Anna Curtis Center, a director’s residence, a youth directors’ residence, and fifty-seven acres of land with a campground and two wildlife ponds. Powell House presently has bed space for eighty-seven people.

Powell House is used primarily for religious conferences and similar gatherings of members and attenders of meetings belonging to New York Yearly Meeting. It is also used for meetings of Yearly Meeting committees or conferences sponsored by them. The programs include a wide variety of educational, inspirational, and organizational activities for youth and adults related to the religious, benevolent, and social concerns of the Religious Society of Friends. The facilities are available for use by affiliated Friends’ organizations and other religious or educational groups having interests compatible with those of Friends. Short-term sojourners may sometimes be accommodated.

Powell House supports a staff that includes the directors, office staff, facilities support (grounds and housekeeping), and cooks. Staff offices are presently in Pitt Hall.

Functions & Activities

Members attend Powell House Committee meetings and serve on subcommittees such as Fiscal Management, Personnel, Program, Property, and Fundraising. They serve as channels of communication between Powell House and the Yearly Meeting and their own local and regional meetings.

Organization & Method of Appointment

Powell House is managed by a membership corporation, Elsie K. Powell House, Inc, and that corporation is legally bound by its bylaws. Members of the corporation, called the Powell House Committee (orPoHoCo), are appointed by the Yearly Meeting for terms of five years with approximately one-fifth named each year. Under the bylaws of the corporation, membership is held to no fewer than twenty and no more than forty persons. A few youth are co-opted to represent youth conference participants at meetings of the corporation. The corporation appoints from its membership a Board of Directors, not fewer than nine nor more than fifteen persons, who function as trustees in the management of the property and as an executive committee in directing the affairs of the corporation.
    The corporation also appoints a president, a vice president, a secretary, and a treasurer. It may appoint an assistant treasurer. The president and vice president are required to be members of the Board of Directors, and they serve as chair and vice chair (as legally required) of that board. The committee names a representative to the Nurture Coordinating Committee.

Meeting Times & Places

The Powell House Committee meets three times a year, outside of Yearly Meetings sessions, for a full weekend in Pitt Hall. Committee members are charged a nominal fee for these weekends to cover food and facility maintenance. The Board of Directors meets annually as called.


Sources of income for Powell House include guest fees, contributions solicited from supporters and Yearly Meeting members, the Yearly Meeting Operating Budget, and Yearly Meeting trust funds. In addition, committee members are expected to support Powell House with donations to the level they are personally able. Other income is derived from investments and rent from Old Chatham Monthly Meeting.