Summer Sessions 2024

Friday, July 26, 2024 - 4:00pm to Wednesday, July 31, 2024 - 2:00pm


Friday, July 26 to Wednesday, July 31, 2024
Hybrid, at Oakwood Friends School and Online

2024 Week at a Glance (WAAG)

2024 Online Programming Week at a Glance (WAAG)

Registration is open and is completely online. If you need assistance with registration, please contact the NYYM office at 212-673-5750 or [email protected].


What is Summer Sessions?

Summer Sessions is the largest annual gathering of New York Yearly Meeting Friends and is the reason why our group is referred to as a “Yearly Meeting.” We gather to worship, play, learn, conduct business, and have fellowship. A Quaker community is created during our time together, and many find this to be a powerful and joyful experience. Summer Sessions is open to anyone who is Quaker or Quaker-curious in NY, CT, NJ, and beyond. 


​​The Theme for NYYM’s 2024 Sessions: Where is the Love?

The Sessions Program Subcommittee has determined the theme for New York Yearly Meeting’s Sessions in 2024: Where is the Love? We are living through a time of increased national and international conflict. Where, at this time, do we find love? Where is it in ourselves and in our communities? How can we center love and encourage it to grow?

The theme was inspired by the song of the same name by the Black Eyed Peas. The chorus:

People killin’, people dyin’

Children hurtin’, hear them cryin’

Can you practice what you preach?

And would you turn the other cheek?

Father, father, father, help us

Send some guidance from above

‘Cause people got me, got me questioning

Where is the love?



In-Person Location is Oakwood Friends School

NYYM will again meet at Oakwood Friends School in Poughkeepsie, NY, for Summer Sessions. As Friends saw last year, the Summer Sessions traditions of daily after-dinner singing, early morning coffee and conversation, the Fun(d) Fair and Tag-less Tag Sale, the Café Night talent show, and the contra dance with live accompaniment have continued at this location. There are new blessings: housing clusters for young adults and for families; a full-time program for high schoolers; an ice cream truck visiting campus; a field trip to nearby attractions; a room dedicated to art-making; and a more compact campus, making travel to activities easier. This year, Summer Sessions will begin with a weekend focused on intergenerational activities and community building. Check out the "Week-at-a-glance" schedule, subject to change.


Attending Online

Like last year, many Summer Sessions events will be hybrid—available on campus and online via Zoom—such as the plenaries, worship sharing, bible study, meetings for worship and for business, and meetings for discernment. Online participants will be able to see and hear and speak at these events. There will be online-only worship sharing groups; see “Worship Sharing Groups” below for more. And online participants can watch and perform at the Café Night talent show.



Closed captioning will be made available for all meetings held on Zoom. If you are joining the meeting on a computer or laptop, click the button on the bottom menu labeled “Show Captions”. If you are on a phone/tablet, on the meeting controls toolbar, swipe and tap the Captions (CC) icon. For those on campus, closed captioning is available in the auditorium on a screen to the right of the clerks’ table. For more about on-campus accessibility, see “For Those Attending in Person,” below.


Summer Sessions is Pay as Led

Pay as Led is designed to enable newcomers and Friends of differing financial situations to attend Sessions together. After registering you will receive a follow-up email or letter with your suggested Pay as Led rate options. The three options are: the standard rate, which covers the costs NYYM owes to Oakwood; the full rate, which helps others attend; and the supported rate, for those who would consider not participating because of cost. The Pay as Led plan relies on generosity from those who can afford to pay more.


Activities and Events


Joyce Ajlouny, General Secretary of the American Friends Service Committee [AFSC], is a Quaker leader who is committed to helping bring peace and justice to communities locally and globally. A Palestinian American, Joyce started her career in international development in Palestine, serving as country director for Palestine and Israel with Oxfam-Great Britain and chairing the Association of International Development Agencies. Prior to joining AFSC, Joyce served as the director of the Ramallah Friends School, a leading K-12 Quaker school in Palestine, for 13 years, where she led a diverse staff to transform the school academically, physically and financially. In her presentation, Joyce will tie our 2024 NYYM theme Where is the Love? to AFSC’s work witnessing Quaker values in the world, including humanitarian aid to Gaza and their work centering just peace in New York, New Jersey and beyond.


Bible Study

Bible Study and Closing Worship presenter will be nova sturrup (lower case preferred). nova sturrup is an artist, dreamer, and a lover of literature of all kinds, ranging from tarot cards to their grandma’s recipes to ancient texts like the bible. They earned a Master of Divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary with a focus on trauma studies, community building, and bible study for collective healing. At Union, nova was awarded the 2022 Kneeland Preaching Prize for their sermon: How Long Oh, Lord?: Reflections on the Breonna Taylor Case. They continue to reflect on the Bible and the Black experience through the continuing revelation that is their “Black Femme Bible Study.” nova currently lives in New York City and is a member of Brooklyn Monthly Meeting. Join nova for Bible Study after dinner nightly Saturday through Tuesday. 


Worship at Summer Sessions

NYYM Summer Sessions provides many opportunities to worship and share with the Peaceable Community. Everyone is invited to attend opening worship on Friday evening, meeting for worship Sunday morning, meeting for discernment on Monday, worship at the beginning of business, and closing worship on Wednesday, all of which will be hybrid events. You are asked to lend your spirit and discernment to meetings for worship with a concern for business. Evening prayer will be offered as a hybrid prayer at the rise of the activities on both Saturday night and Monday nights. Worship sharing groups will meet every morning, Saturday-Wednesday.


Meetings for Worship with a Concern for Business (Business Meetings)

At business meetings, Quaker practice is put into action. Everyone present is part of the decision-making body and goes through discernment and finding the way forward together. Items for discernment can range from a change in business procedure to a statement about our beliefs relating to a social issue. Reports on the recent activities of committees and individuals are also heard. Business meeting is a great way to find out how Spirit is moving around the New York Yearly Meeting. Business meetings will be hybrid, both in person and online via Zoom. 


Virtual Meetings for Worship with Attention to Business

Before and After Summer Sessions:

Wednesday, July 24, 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Friday, August 2, 6:00-7:30 p.m.

New York Yearly Meeting will try an experiment this summer of holding our initial meeting for worship with attention to business VIRTUALLY on Wednesday, July 24, 7 to 9 pm. A final meeting for business is scheduled to be held VIRTUALLY on Friday, August 2, 6 to 7:30 pm, if needed. We hope that these virtual meetings for business will create more space for discernment during Summer Sessions.

You must register for Summer Sessions to attend these virtual meetings for business.


Meeting for Remembrance

A Meeting for Remembrance will be held to recognize and hold in the Light Friends we have recently lost. At Summer Sessions 2024 we will focus on Friends who died in 2023 or before. Their memorial minutes have been collected into this document. At the Meeting for Remembrance, names will be read, along with their meeting affiliation. For those who were active in the yearly meeting brief excerpts will be read from their memorial minute (if it has been transmitted to the NYYM office and clerk; email them to [email protected] and [email protected]).There will be time for Friends to speak in remembrance as they are led.

Worship Sharing Groups

2024 Summer Sessions’ Worship Sharing Groups will return to being five sessions held at the same time each day: 9-10 a.m., Saturday, July 27th through Wednesday, July 31st. At worship sharing, participants are given a query and a chance to explore the query in a sacred, worshipful space with a small group of Friends. Friends attend the same worship group all week. All in-person participants will need to sign up for an in-person group on their Sessions registration form. You can sign up for a general worship sharing group or you can choose to join an in-person group with a more specific focus.

Online participants can find the online worship group options on the registration form. Online worship groups will be a bit different this year, with most meeting in an online virtual space. Read more about online worship sharing here.


Open VR Meet up Space and Worship Sharing

At this year’s Summer Sessions, we will explore an experimental virtual meetup space. Three Worship Sharing groups (Women’s, General and Caregivers) will be using the FrameVR platform and there will be training sessions for the platform in June and July. At the Open VR times you can meet with other friends who are at Sessions or attending from home.

Open VR times:

7/27. Saturday, 3:00 to 5:00 PM. EDT

7/28. Sunday, 8:30 to 10:00 PM. EDT

7/30. Tuesday, 8:30 to 10:00 PM. EDT

The Worship at Sessions Committee will host sessions to introduce the FrameVR platform and train Friends on how to use it. In the training sessions, you can create your 3-D avatar and learn how to move about in the virtual spaces so your are ready to just join your specific worship sharing group and/or enjoy time with Friends during open VR times. Read more about the virtual meetup space here.


Meetings for Discernment

Meetings for Discernment are periods of extended, waiting worship and deep listening to discern leadings and strengthen connections in our yearly meeting. The Summer 2024 Meeting for Discernment will be held in three sessions in-person at Oakwood Friends School and simultaneously online via Zoom on Monday, July 29. There will be a Zoom meeting on the evening of Wednesday, July 24 beginning at 7 pm for anyone new to the Meeting for Discernment or interested in holding space as an elder. Read this document for the schedule and further details.


Special Events

Hybrid: On Monday evening, the senior high school group will emcee Café Night, an all-ages cabaret-style talent show during which hats are passed to collect donations. Café Night will be streamed online, and online performers can participate. Sing a song, do a dance, tell a story or a joke, or perform a skit. Bring your instruments and props and join the fun! 

On Campus: The afternoons of the opening weekend, Saturday and Sunday, will largely be devoted to intergenerational community-building events, including games, a field trip, scavenger hunt, discussions, a communal art project, and more. On Tuesday afternoon, on Oakwood’s campus, the Junior Yearly Meeting presents the Fun(d) Fair, a fundraising fair that includes games, crafts, and refreshments. At the same time, there is the "Tagless" Tag Sale, at which you can “pay what you wish” for items donated by Friends. Please consider bringing used items in good condition to Oakwood so they may be sold at the tag sale. All of these events raise money for the NYYM Sharing Fund and Powell House. In addition, there will be a contra dance for all ages on Sunday evening. Last year we danced on a patio while the sun set and lightning bugs blinked around us; consider joining us at Oakwood this year.


For Those Attending in Person

NYYM will gather at Oakwood Friends School, Friday afternoon, July 26, through Wednesday lunch, July 31. Oakwood School is in Poughkeepsie, NY, at the end of the Metro North Line (also accessible by Amtrak) and just off Rt. 9 on the east side of the Hudson River. 

ARRIVAL: Check in will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Friday. Please check in at Collins Library when you arrive; it’s in the middle of campus on Friends School Lane. View a campus map here. For those staying on-site, arrivals are up to 8:00 p.m. If arriving later, please make other arrangements for that evening or notify the Registrar before 5:00 p.m. on the arrival date about the late arrival by calling the NYYM Event Line at 212-673-2285.

ACCESSIBILITY: The areas on campus that we will use during Summer Sessions are largely accessible. If you have mobility concerns, please contact [email protected] or call the NYYM office at 212-673-5750. One way to help our community is to offer assistance to Friends who may need help getting around campus or getting food in the cafeteria. 



Meals are served in the Oakwood Dining Hall. Please sign up for meals and specify your dietary preferences and restrictions on your Summer Sessions registration form. Meal costs:

Breakfast: $9

Lunch $12

Dinner $15

$15/day for children under 12

Overnight Accommodations

On campus—There are limited rooms available on campus. Each room has two twin beds. The charge will be $65 a night for the room, regardless of how many Friends stay in the room. Linens (sheets, pillow, blanket, towel, washcloth) for two people are included in the room price. A third person would be an additional $10 for the week. Note that on-campus housing is “first come, first served,” and will probably fill up; please register early if you want to stay on campus. 

With FriendsThere is also a limited number of home hospitality offers from Friends in the area. You can indicate your interest in either of these options ­— staying on campus or with local Friends — on the registration form.

Off Campus

If you’re staying at a hotel or campground you must make your own reservation separate from your Sessions registration.

HOTELS: NYYM has reserved a block of rooms at a reduced rate ($155+tax/night) at the nearby Holiday Inn Express, 2750 South Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. To reserve a room at the NYYM rate, use booking code NY1 when calling the hotel directly at 845-473-1151 and choosing option 0 to speak with the front desk or when booking online at Note that rooms will be released to the public on June 26 and are subject to hotel availability after that date, though the reduced rate will be honored if rooms are available. There are many other hotels in the area. 

Vassar Alumnae House — Rooms here are usually reserved for members of the Vassar College community but they are open to others during the summer. This beautiful historic Inn, 3.5 miles from Oakwood, has 13 private rooms (one king or queen bed and a room with two queen beds) which have their own bathroom for $200 per night, and seven single rooms for $100 per night. The single rooms are more dormitory-like and share a bath in the hallway. Please contact them directly to reserve a room: (845) 437-7100[email protected].

CAMPGROUNDS: Friends living in the Oakwood area have recommended several campgrounds near Oakwood. The list is available here.


The address for Oakwood School is 22 Spackenkill Rd, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603. There is a train station in Poughkeepsie. Poughkeepsie is the last stop on Metro-North’s Hudson train line, which leaves from Grand Central in NYC. You can find train schedules at Amtrak also stops at Poughkeepsie. Taxis are available at the train station to take you the 4 miles to Oakwood. Friends can arrange carpools online at Please offer a ride in your car if you can. The Sessions Committee will make an attempt to arrange for one van pick-up on Friday and one van pick up on Saturday—please indicate your interest on the registration form.

Carpooling: We can lighten our impact on the planet by sharing car rides to and from Sessions. Drivers who can offer rides and Friends who wish to find a ride can use the online Carpool Board at Please sign up if you have space available in your car or if you wish to grab a Friendly ride to Oakwood. 


COVID Concerns

Masks will be optional. Friends are encouraged to take a COVID test at home before coming to Oakwood. If you feel unwell, please stay home, regardless of COVID test results. If you feel ill at Oakwood you will be asked to take a test.


Intergenerational Community-Building Activities

The opening weekend, particularly the afternoons of Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28, will be devoted to intergenerational community-building activities. Think big group games and discussions, a scavenger hunt, a movie night, wiffle ball and other sports, and other Friendly fun. A field trip using Oakwood shuttle buses is being planned, perhaps to the Walkway Across the Hudson and a nearby swimming area, weather permitting. 

Spaces being planned for Summer Sessions: a room dedicated to art making; an intergenerational lounge with a library of games and puzzles; and a communal art project (possibly a painted banner) to be displayed at the end of our time together. 

Can you help with one of these activities, or do you have an idea for something else? For more details see the Community-Building Activity description and to volunteer go directly to the Community-Building Activity Volunteer Form.


Display Tables

Tables will be available in Collins Library for displays by NYYM committees or other Quaker causes. Karen Snare is the display coordinator. Indicate your interest in reserving a display space on your registration form. Display tables will need to be broken down by 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evening.


Young Adult Friends

Young adult Friends (YAFs) form a community together at Summer Sessions. They can choose to join a YAF housing cluster if staying on campus—be sure to select that option on your registration form. Sessions will begin with an Ice Cream Social for young adults and a gathering to get to know each other and make plans for the rest of our time together. There will again be a nightly social time and epistle writing, and probably at least one workshop about how the yearly meeting functions and how young adults can participate. YAFs can also connect before, during, and after Sessions through a WhatsApp group. Please email Beth Kelly ([email protected]) with any questions.

Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM)

Junior Yearly Meeting is the program for children ages 5-17 attending Summer Sessions in person. Groups are arranged according to grade, and meet every morning, Saturday through Tuesday, from 8:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. JYM volunteers plan a community-building program of activities for the children, including games, discussions, art projects, and more. JYM is a time for young people to experience a community based on Friends’ testimonies and practices. Age-appropriate, experiential Quaker content is part of the program, and groups will spend some time in quiet worship or worship sharing every day. The JYM Coordinators for 2024 are Polly Duke and Lauren Scott; contact them at [email protected].

For children under 5 years old: Experienced childcare providers are being hired to care for children under-5s in the morning, to be supervised by JYM coordinators.

High School Group: The High School program will include a housing cluster, a lounge, and a full program of special activities throughout the day! Read more here (

Can my child go to Summer Sessions without me? Yes! If your child is under 18, they may attend Summer Sessions with an adult chaperone. They must room with the chaperone if possible and appropriate. The chaperone must be designated by the parent/guardian on their registration forms, and must be at least 10 years older than the young Friend they are chaperoning. The chaperone and the child should know each other reasonably well. The parent/guardian must provide a signed note giving the chaperone the authority to care for their child, to be presented at JYM check-in.


Whisper Buddies — Accompaniment during business meetings

Whisper Buddies is a joyful way to meet and connect with Friends who have a different amount of Quaker decision-making experience than you do. Through this program, Friends who are new to Quaker business meetings (or new to how New York Yearly Meeting does them) can pair up with Friends who are more experienced and are willing to answer questions as they arise—by whispering, passing notes, or talking informally together after a committee meeting or Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business. More here: Whisper Buddies Summer 2024.


In-Person Support — Accessibility and Assistance 

Accessibility: All the areas on campus that we will use during Summer Sessions are accessible, including the first floors of the dormitories. Buildings are fairly close together. Golf carts will be available to assist movement around campus. Please help our community by offering assistance to Friends who may need help moving around or getting food in the cafeteria. Friends who indicate special needs on their registration form will be contacted by the NYYM office to gather further information. Mobility-accessible sleeping rooms on campus will be held for those using wheelchairs (and their roommates). Friends who require assistance with personal needs must arrange this assistance on their own, and the person assisting them must stay in the room with them. Please indicate on your registration form if you need help with hearing or movement. Note takers can be provided and accessible locations allocated for worship sharing and committee meetings.

Closed Captioning Available: Live closed captioning will be turned on during Zoom meetings. Those attending Sessions in person may find closed captioning to be helpful when sound is quiet or garbled. Closed captions will be visible on the screen to the right of the stage. Friends who would like to read the captions may wish to sit closer to that screen.

12-Step Meetings: 12-Step Meetings will be held every day at 8:15 a.m. for 30 minutes for those on campus during Summer Sessions. Meetings will be coordinated by John Scardina. Are you able and willing to facilitate one or more of the meetings? Please contact John at [email protected].

The Healing Center: As in years past, the Healing Center will be a sacred space for Friends during Summer Sessions. The Healing Center operates on a temple model, not on a spa model. That is, seekers cannot expect to come for an appointment as if they were paying for services. Rather, seekers enter a sacred space where everyone present contributes prayerfully to the spiritual energy. Seekers can hold space, receive work, or join a meeting for healing — whatever is offered at the time. Closer to Session time we will announce the location of the Healing Center on the Oakwood campus and the schedule of operation. Abby Burford is the coordinator.

Golf Carts: Want to help make Summer Sessions accessible to everyone, including Friends with mobility challenges? Want to drive a golf cart? Friends with a valid driver's license can sign up to drive a golf cart around campus. Indicate your interest on your registration form.

Gym: Oakwood has a large indoor gymnasium available for our use. Note that last year this space was uncomfortably warm. Oakwood School would like Friends to be aware that users of the gym and gym equipment are responsible for any injuries or damage incurred.

Need help at Summer Sessions? Have questions about the schedule, or want to know who to contact about a problem? Call the NYYM event phone at 212-673-2285 to reach NYYM staff or a registration team member. If no one answers, leave a message and someone will respond as soon as they can.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 first. Then call Oakwood’s AOD (Administrator on Duty) to let them know if an ambulance is on its way. The phone number will be provided once on campus.


Things to Consider Bringing

  • clothes for warm days and cool nights
  • refillable water bottle
  • sunblock, hat, sunglasses
  • bug spray
  • umbrella and rain gear
  • swimsuit & towel
  • musical instruments or other props for the Café Night talent show
  • comfortable walking or athletic shoes
  • if staying on campus, consider bringing a fan for your room, an extra blanket, a small lamp, plastic bag for room trash, a bathrobe for the showers
  • wifi is available throughout the campus; you may want a laptop or smart device to access documents during business meetings.
  • money to spend at the ice cream truck, Cafe Night, the Fun(d) Fair and the Tagless Tag Sale


Ways to Help at Summer Sessions

Work with children. If your gifts lead you to contribute to the work of the yearly meeting through guiding the children, consider this your opportunity. We need resource people and group leaders; art people, games people, experienced old hands and newcomers. What we will have in common is delight in sharing time with children each morning during our time at Summer Sessions. We expect to share much joy together. Contact Polly Duke and Lauren Scott at [email protected]. You will be asked to complete the Volunteer Application to work with Children/Youth at NYYM Events.

You can indicate on your registration form if you'd like to help in one of these ways; a coordinator will then contact you:

  • Drive a golf cart. If you are at least 21 years old with a valid driver’s license, you can sign up as a golf cart driver and make it possible for people with limited mobility to attend Sessions. 
  • Staff the Healing Center. Are you skilled in the healing arts? Modalities offered may include energy work (healing touch, Reiki), massage, craniosacral therapy, and spiritual counseling. The type of services offered depends on the skills of those who volunteer. 
  • Carry a microphone. Friends are needed to serve as a microphone carrier during meetings for worship, including those with a concern for business. Microphones enable Friends in person and online to hear each other. 
  • Serve as an elder. Hold the meeting in the Light.
  • Provide technical help. Friends experienced with Zoom meetings are needed to provide assistance to Friends who might need it, both at home and on site at Oakwood.
  • Build community. Facilitate or help with an intergenerational activity. 


Pay as Led

There are multiple costs associated with sessions. Direct costs are paid through NYYM for on-campus meals and dormitory housing. Indirect costs include the contribution NYYM makes to Oakwood for hosting, staff time preparing sessions, and making the hybrid meeting format possible. Sessions are funded through a spiritual experiment that relies on each of us to do our part to support the wider community: “Pay as Led.”

With Pay as Led, people who can afford to pay more can do so, enabling those who need to pay less to do so. We trust that Friends will be both generous and honest in their discernment on what they are led to pay. 

After you register, you will be sent three suggested Pay as Led amounts:

Standard rate, which covers your meals (and overnight housing costs if you’re staying at Oakwood), plus general hosting and registration costs.

Minimum rate, which is substantially reduced from the standard rate. Note that monthly meetings often have funds set aside to help Friends attend Sessions.

Full rate, which includes funds for NYYM programming costs and support for those paying less than the standard rate. Any amount above the standard rate will be recognized as a donation to NYYM.

For more details, please click here: Pay As Led 2024. If you need help paying for your transportation or off campus housing costs, please contact [email protected] or call the NYYM office at 212-257-5750.


Registration is OPEN! Please use the Online Registration Form to register for Summer Sessions, or call the NYYM office at 212-257-5750.


Supporting Documents and Agenda

The Agenda and support documents for Meetings for Worship with a Concern for Business will appear below once available.