Off to NEYM

NEYM=New England Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) in Smithfield, RI.

This will be my 6th NEYM and the 5th time as a resource person (RP) for the Young Friends (high school) group.

As an RP, I serve as a FAP (friendly adult presence) helping oversee activities, being present for worship and meeting for worship with attention to business. I also co-lead an Affinity Group (this time with the amazing Anna B!) that meets nightly for check-ins, discussions, games and snacks..

Early on I learned two key lessons when working with Quaker teens.
1. I am judged by the quality of the snacks I provide.
2. Respect that of God within them and let them lead as the RPs facilitate.

I also learned early on that these teens don’t want or even need advice from me. They get that all the time. They want to be heard, and they want to hear each other without a lot of talk by well-meaning adults. Therefore, my role is to help maintain a safe space where that sort of sharing takes place.

This year will be different from past years because we lost a recent graduate in a car accident this winter, and we will have a memorial for Chris during our sessions.

I feel honored to be with these young Friends, to see them grapple with spiritual, social justice and personal questions.

I set my intentional to be present with them and to limit my time on-line and on the phone. Lots of other folks will be busy this week sharing their ex-gay experiences around the country (can’t tell you anything yet, but you will hear more next week).

My part this week is to be present, to stay open to the Spirit and these young Friends, to listen deeply, be slow to speak as I trust God to be in our midsts.

This post has 4 Comments

  1. Joe Brummer on August 3, 2007 at 1:46 pm Reply

    Welcome to Rhode Island. I live on the line of Smithfield and the next town over. Perhaps I will bump into you!

  2. Danni on August 3, 2007 at 7:32 pm Reply

    Okay, so you spoke to how you addressed #2, but what I want to know is, what kinds of snacks do you impress Quaker teens with?!

  3. Peterson Toscano on August 4, 2007 at 3:04 am Reply

    thanks joe, hope we can meet up.

    danni, well I have found that Little Debbie is always a big hit. Sponge Bob gummy snacks also go over well. Anything with chocolate (I try to get the fair trade stuff although last year I bought a HUGE bar from Trader Joes that actually lasted two nights.)

    I have other snacks I give, but I don’t want to give away all my secrets. 🙂

  4. Liz Opp on August 9, 2007 at 1:17 pm Reply

    You rock!

    Blessings,
    Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

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