Epistles from two recent youth conferences at Powell House:
Epistle: Falling Up
6th to 8th Grade
Nov. 15-17, 2019
PoHo was great this weekend. We fell into a huge amount of fun. Friday night we were welcomed by old friends, new friends, and the warmth of the community. The trust and falling began during Friday night’s chair relay, followed by trust falls and themes of supporting one another. We wrapped up the evening with listening to poems from Shel Silverstein’s Falling Up. The game Islands, led by Kwame on Saturday morning, helped us gain insight on gravity and balance. We all took turns learning different falls during small groups and discussed the variety of emotions that come with falling. Laughs, music, and creative skits were shared during Cabaret and all were excited to play Body Body. The night finished with a peaceful moonlight walk and huggles before bed. Singing and worship ended a wonderful weekend where we learned to roll with the falls in life. This weekend has now fallen into our collection of PoHo memories.
Epistle: Future Scape
9th to 12th Grade
Sept. 27-29, 2019
On Friday night we arrived, some of us adjusting to new schools and social situations. We were met with joy and laughter and bright smiles from dear friends. We enjoyed a spaghetti dinner and conversation. We then circled up for session where we practiced the playful tradition of dancing the Salty Dog Rag. After a great deal of stumbling and mirth, we sat and listened to a beautiful song “Everything Possible.” The song was soothing and allowed us to release some built up tension about the future. We discussed what parts of the song were most meaningful to us and when we feel most comfortable being ourselves. We then settled into silence to share news in our lives. People carried different burdens and we were able to connect more deeply by sharing with each other. After some free time, we formed a big huggle and went off to bed.
We rose the next morning, ate, and circled up for session once again. This time, we exercised our imaginations in an improv game called “Will You Buy My Anything.” After a lot of laughter we formed small groups where we discussed the Quaker practice of discerning what is important in life. We realized many of the things that seemed important were not deeply important in our lives. We discussed other’s expectations for our futures and the resulting pressure we felt.
We then moved outdoors where we grounded ourselves through listening and connected to the group’s energy.
We walked up to Lynn’s field where we shared meaningful songs with ourselves and the wind. We then paired up and accompanied each other, one blindfolded the other not, allowing us to connect and trust one another. We enjoyed indoor and outdoor work projects, then relaxed with a 3-way massage. After a tranquil self-space we reveled in dinner and some free time. We moved into an Experiment with Light meditation where we processed hardships and important questions internally. We talked things through with trusted friends, then broke into more free time with couch piles, games, and laughter. After a Cabaret filled with creativity, beautiful music, and hilarity, we went off to bed, dreaming fondly of the future.
We ended the conference with an opportunity to suggest future conferences, an affirmation exercise, singing and worship.
Overall, we felt sessions were fun and light hearted, yet carried the spiritual undertone had by all at Powell House gatherings. We felt that Powell House truly is a place where it’s okay to relax and be ourselves, and where personal growth is encouraged. During the light meditation, we were able to make peace with ourselves and our lives just a little bit more. The tone of the conference was one of peace and contentment. We saw our friends again after a very long time apart, and were able to give them lots of hugs. One adult-ish presence said he re-met a lot of heckin’ dope people. We shared stories and experiences and all became wiser for it.
We left carrying newfound wisdom, wonderful memories and contentment in our hearts.
— Rebecca Anacheka-Nassemann & James Russell-Peters