My Feelings About Summer Sessions
by Peter Beck
Every year that I’m able to attend Summer Sessions, I feel uplifted by the opening worship. The Junior Yearly Meeting groups are introduced, and the grade- and high-schoolers are obviously “pumped-up” over their upcoming week together. I am uplifted again at the Friday night worship, when they exuberantly tell us all about their experiences during the week!
I was very glad to hear about this year’s milestones, which included how well the yearly meeting staff handled the entire registration process—after Silver Bay handed them the responsibility for it for the first time. And we “broke even” for our FIRST “Pay As Led” year!! I was heartened to learn of the significant increase in first-time attenders this year.
During the Meeting for Discernment I became aware of the “Membership Under the Care of NYYM” concept. I remembered MY post-college-age life, and how helpful it would’ve been for me had there been help “navigating” it, instead of simply having to “go it alone!!” Between a belated master’s degree, getting my career in social work moving forward, dealing with the increasing infirmities of my aging parents, etc., and NOT willing to give up on my life as a Quaker or time with other Friends, I tried to attend every Summer Session I could. Having been in JYM for 2-3 years certainly helped. However, I always felt a pang of sadness whenever I’d look at my name badge, reading “Chatham-Summit,” because, through NOBODY’S “fault” or “cause,” I was hardly ever there! It wasn’t until Summer 2001, when I was Led to attend, and soon join, Morningside Meeting, that I REALLY felt I BELONGED!! What I’m trying to say here is I realize that the “monthly/quarterly/yearly” membership progression is the norm, but a yearly meeting-sponsored membership option SHOULD be available to those it would benefit.
On the subject of a “Young Adult and Children Secretary” position, I can’t say how much it should cost, but my main concern is that ALL Young Adult Friends be encouraged to join us Older Friends (I’m 72) so that, as we age, Quakers can continue to be a vital religious presence in the future.
Finally, I appreciated very much being invited to “elder” Thursday afternoon’s business meeting!