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Youth Mission Statement
The Youth Religious Education Committee provides leadership in prayer, thought, and action with regard to the programs and activities for children. It administers the children’s Religious Education program whose purpose is to:
- guide the children of the Meeting in discovery of and their experience of their inner (Guiding) light in both corporate and private worship
- encourage a personal experience of God.
- be sure each child in Meeting feels important and loved.
- help each child in Meeting develop a system of values.
Belief that the power of God will work in each person is essential to service on the Committee. The Committee shall have at least five (5) appointed members. A majority of the appointed members shall be Members of the Meeting. All Meeting members and attenders are welcome to attend committee meetings.
The Committee is responsible to Meeting for Business.
The Committee shall annually appoint a Committee Presiding Clerk and Recording Clerk from among its members. The Committee normally meets monthly.
Administer First Day School.
The Committee coordinates and administers the children’s First Day programs that, through activities, will fulfill the goals of the Youth Religious Education program (see General Responsibility above). This includes the following responsibilities:
- recruits teachers and drawing out gifts of ministry to children among members/attenders
- supports teachers in finding appropriate materials
- reviews and purchases curricula
- each spring, considers the needs of the children and begins planning the grouping of children for upcoming September (with input from parents and First Day School teachers). This should be done at the same time as Nominating Committee is finding members for Meeting leadership.
The committee does not prescribe curricula to teachers, but is aware of the topics teachers are covering and ensures that the following topics are covered:
- Old Testament stories
- Story of Jesus / the Gospels / Jesus’ message
- Comparative religion (in junior and senior high school)
- History of Friends
- Friends principles, testimonies and practices; issues current among Friends
- Prayer, worship, and other devotional activities; topics on spiritual growth
- Service to the Meeting, within the Meeting Community, within our wider community, and around the world is highly encouraged
The First Day School schedule is dependent upon the adult Meeting for Worship schedule. When proposed changes impact the adult worship schedule, adult Business Meeting approves changes.
The current schedule is:
- Children and adults sing together for 15 minutes
- Teachers are responsible for next 45 minutes.
- Children reenter Meeting for the last 15 minutes of worship
- Children stay for introductions and child-oriented announcements.
Other times that the Committee is not responsible for children’s programming:
- During adult announcements and until they leave with parents, children play outside or inside under care of volunteers. Although the Committee is not responsible for this time, we are aware of the needs of the child during this time and bring them to the attention of the Meeting.
- During summer vacation (mid June to early September), volunteers supervise the children outside after the 15 minute singing time and until the children return for the last 15 minutes of worship.
- During Potluck and until 2nd or 4th Sunday program begins.
- During 2nd and 4th Sunday programming.
Organize and/or promote Intergenerational activities.
Believing that it “takes a village to raise a child” and realizing the importance of teaching by example, the committee promotes intergenerational activities which have included:
- Planning activities at the Meeting Spring Party
- Annual Christmas Skit by the children
- Meeting Parties created around a theme and planned by the children or by the Committee.
Act as a Ministry and Counsel for children
by holding them in prayer when aware of difficult circumstances and helping to create a safe, creative space where all children experience love and acceptance.
Bring the awareness of children’s needs to the Meeting.
The committee feels responsible to monitor the needs of children while at Meeting. The committee is aware of opportunities for peacemaking and creating peacemakers that occur in play time after Meeting introductions and until the children leave for home. The committee is not responsible for finding people to provide coverage of all Meeting times, but is responsible for bringing concerns about these times to the Meeting.
Create opportunities for building friendship among youth.
The committee encourages teachers and other adults with youth leadership gifts to plan outside-of-Meeting activities to promote friendship among the children, such as overnights, parties, outings, and service opportunities. Activities with other Quarterly Meeting first day schools and intervisitation are also encouraged.
Call Junior Meeting for Business sessions
to give children skills and practice in Quaker leadership positions and a direct, experiential understanding of Quaker process.