Epistles, JYM, Summer Sessions 2011

First and Second Grades Epistle

Presented as an original song with painted cardboard folding screen of their peaceful world.

key chords—C, F, G, C (x4)

On Monday we made scary lion faces with Leigh
We found our spirit animals with River’s grandma Mimi
She blew some stuff that smelled good around us in the air
We talked about connection with nature that we share

F, C—We visited the nature center and read a book about spiders
F, C—Then we fed the fish and we learned about turtles
F, C—In the morning we played with wickiesticks and really had a blast

G,C—So we were not surprised that the week went by so fast [2x last] *

G, C—On Wednesday we went swimming with a bunch of big kids
We played amoeba tag and snakes in the grass
We bounced around on B.O.B. the big orange bouncy ball

G, C, G, C—Kai showed us his juggling and we did lots and lots and lots of arts & crafts
So we were not surprised that the week went by so fast [2x]


Third and Fourth Grades Epistle

“We Are a Web of Life”

We are Black-faced rattlesnake.
        We give warning.
We are Plum Tree.
        We give purple plums to the animals.
We are Elf.
        We bring Peace, love & healing fire
We are blue dragon fly.
        We bring complex eyes
We are maple tree
        We bring shade on a hot day
We are sliger (snake + tiger)
        We bring healing power
We are eagle monkey
        We bring bananas
We are dragon
        We bring golden eggs
We are Blue Morph Butterfly
        We bring love-hope & peace
We are Phoenix bird
        We bring healing tears
We are Gold-crested Dragon
        We bring golden healing
We are Blue Panda
        We bring bamboo
We are Golden Lion
        We help control the population
We are rock Dragon
        We bring the heartstone
We are honeybee
        We bring honey
We are Blue Morph butterfly
        We bring pollen.


Fifth and Sixth Grades Epistle

We came to JYM ready for a great week. We played the yarn game, where we passed around a ball of yarn; then we had snack. Then we wrote about the thoughts of animals and elements. Later in the morning Mr. Stillman came and taught us about vaudeville.

We came to Munn Hall and played name whips and games before we broke into committees. Later we went to the beach and had a long swim.

We played lots of games. One of them was string storytelling, where you pass a ball of string while telling a story. Our story was about crazy Arnold liking Suzanne, who liked a guy with a bike. We also played “What Are You Doing?” Then Leigh came and we did improv games and made up tribes. After JYM there was the Fun(d) Fair. Our group did manicures and the cup game. The Fun(d) fair was a silly and awesome event.

After games we met with Andy, who taught us about Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS. Then Mark came and reminded us how awesome Powell House is. Then Bill Galvin came to talk to us about conscientious objection, or nonviolence and refusal to fight in wars.

On Friday some of us walked into Munn Hall thirsty, and most of us were tired. Kate Lawson asked us what we thought Quakers were. Then Rima told us stories and played a game with us. We threw around a ball of yarn to different people and formed a web, which showed us how we are all connected. We had a delicious snack, then headed down to the Boathouse and we sang.

We had lots of fun at JYM this week and we can’t wait until next year!


Seventh and Eighth Grades Epistle

To Friends Everywhere,

During the third week in July fifteen seventh and eighth graders and four adult volunteers met for activities and games on the theme of Peace with the Earth. The week began in the dark, thunderstorms having caused the loss of power. The first session gave us our share of mosquitoes, though the next day brought clear skies and brightening spirits.

We began each morning with a story from The Sword in the Stone, in which a human learns to think like various animals. Different forms of worship were experienced. Music and movement were preferred as ways of entering the silence. An eighth grader said, “Music calmed me down just falling into a nowhereness.”

The games committee worked hard narrowing choices and explaining how to play each game. Duck, duck, goose, Here I sit, and Red Rover brought us together as a group. The theater games led by Leigh Strimbeck required us to communicate without talking. One commercial, of an invention to save the planet, provided the memorable line, “The world is ending and I can’t find the remote.” Also fun were beach day and our trip to the archery range.

One of last year’s volunteers, Andy Heimer, is coping with ALS. He visited our group and amazed us with his way of “making the best of it.” Members of our group helped him by pushing his wheelchair and decorating his name tag. At the Fun(d) Fair, we raised money by decorating name tags and calculating carbon footprints for the trip to Silver Bay.

For many the highlight of the week was our worship circle on the water. We paddled kayaks out to a sheltered spot and shared what each of us were doing and could do for our planet. One of us said, “I love being on the water and in worship at the same time.”

We are sad that the week is ending, but we are looking forward to the Council of All Beings bonfire on Friday night.


Ninth and Tenth Grades Epistle

New York Yearly Meeting started off great for the Ninth and Tenth grade JYM group. We all met up with our friends, old and new. On Monday we formed committees to do a variety of things including nominating clerks and organizing games. Afterwards we broke into small groups to discuss certain topics. We then played a few games like sick salmon. Tuesday was beach day, which is always fun. After we got cooled off in the lake, Bill Galvin came to talk to us about conscientious objection. On Wednesday we learned about Bolivian customs from Newton Garver. He also educated us about Quakerism in Bolivia. Thursday, Leigh Strimbeck led our group in some very fun improv games. They included a game that involved clapping and a lot of concentration, plus a game where we carried each other. Then Kate Lawson came to ask us about Quakerism and what it means to us for the September Spark newsletter that will be focusing on youth. Mark Hewitt also came to talk to us about Powell House. Friday started off with a few games followed by singing at the boathouse with the rest of the JYM groups. We finished the week on Saturday by packing up and heading home, full of love and fresh memories.


Eleventh and Twelfth Grades Epistle

Experiential worship, practicing ideals, and wholistic growth: according to the Senior High JYM, these three factors characterize Quakerism. While the community was focused on the daunting topic of earthcare and what we can do to help the environment, the JYM group experienced the Quaker process firsthand. Our teen clerks were integral to coordinating the activities of the week: beginning with the process of dividing ourselves into four communities: one to discuss our participation in the Fun(d) Fair, one to organize the traditional Café Night, another to nominate teen clerks for next year, and a fourth committee to write and present the epistle. After our worship groups in the morning we came together for our daily activities. Wednesday was our Beach day, during which we took the ones and twos to the lake for some swimming and fun. On Thursday we spoke with Andy Heimer about his experience dealing with ALS. Finally, on Friday, the JYM program came together for singing and worship in the Boathouse.

In between many rousing games, we had discussions about Quakerism and the Yearly Meeting topic of Earthcare. We learned about the Council of All Beings, a workshop in which the participants adopt the perspective of something in nature in order to understand humans’ impact and role on Earth. In addition we discussed what Quakerism is to us. Our conclusions can be described in the three main characteristics of learning and worshipping through experience, practicing and living the ideas we discovered, and growing both as an individual and as a community. We hope to apply such findings to Earthcare, using them to improve the world around us.

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