Olympia Monthly Meeting (OMM) has an active program for middle and high school age youth. While the program is centered on Sunday morning activities, there are many avenues for youth to get involved, including serving on OMM committees, and regional and even national ones, Quaker youth organizations and service activities.
Middle (Central Friends) and High School (Junior Friends) Program
Sunday morning activities are diverse. All children (except those who prefer to sit in Meeting for Worship) leave Meeting for Worship after 15 minutes of silence and separate into different classrooms for elementary children and middle/high school youth. During the school year, each Sunday of the month is slightly different for youth:
- Field trips, first Sunday. Youth often skip Meeting and go with two adults on outings after our all-meeting breakfast potluck that starts at 9 a.m., one hour before meeting begins. Some outings are all day affairs and include trips to the ocean, Bumbershoot, and the Science Center. Other field trips include activities such as swimming, nature walks, bicycle rides, and community service projects.
- Cooking, second Sunday. Youth cook a lunch for 40-60 or more adults who attend Meeting for Worship for Business. Meals are prepared and served by these youth for donations. These funds are managed by the youth so that a portion is saved, a portion is used for fun overnight activities, such as rafting and ski trips, and a portion is donated to local projects and for Quaker youth service trips to places, such as Mexico.
- Query, third Sunday for everyone at Meeting. Shortly after Meeting starts, a question (or query) is read aloud and worship sharing is centered on this query. These youth have a tradition of suggesting queries or themes for queries to committees. Middle and high school age youth generally stay in Meeting for an extended time, until 10:30, instead of 10:15. After leaving the worship hall, two adults will facilitate reflection an interactive discussion about the query.
- Quaker 101, fourth Sunday. This is when youth have an opportunity to discuss Quakerism and/or famous Quakers in history. The conversation is facilitated by two adults from the Meeting.
- Youth business meeting, fifth Sunday. Here, youth decide their priorities for giving from money the group has earned, plan outings, and develop other youth activities. Junior Friends facilitate the meeting, with support from adult volunteers.
Regional and Summer Gatherings of Children, Youth and Young Adults
OMM’s youth program, there are many regional and national activities for youth. Our Quarterly Meeting (weekend gatherings for Quakers from Washington and Idaho that takes place in Ellensburg, Washington twice a year) has strong youth programs. Our larger North Pacific Yearly meeting has two youth outings a year – a week-long summer camping trip and long weekend winter trip. They also organize an international service trip every few years for youth over age 16. In summer, our Olympia Monthly Meeting combine the Children’s programs and youth interview members of the Meeting with questions youth developed as a way to get to know the “elders” and learn their stories.
Feel free to call Olympia Friends Meeting, (360) 561-7067, for more information about our programs.