"Where are Older Young Friends?"
Baltimore Yearly Meeting Young Friends are concerned that Older Young Friends have not found a place for themselves in the Society of Friends. They have reached the age where they should be increasingly active in the Meeting, but where are they? This question we feel is vital to the society as a whole. Is there a place in the Meeting for Older Young Friends?
In many cases these Young Friends have stopped coming to Meeting activities because they feel too old for expanding high school groups, and yet they are not quite ready to settle "silently into Meeting." They still have too many unanswered questions. We feel that these late and post-college Friends do have a responsibility to offer leadership and guidance to younger Young Friends, but they are not and should not be a part of this group. There must be a place where maturing Young Friends can go to solve together the problems which are challenging them.
Conferences are one gathering place for Older Young Friends; but many are not free to attend conferences, and even those who are need a continuing fellowship at home. Both Baltimore and Washington Monthly Meetings have organized before Meeting coffee sessions which have been partially successful in bringing Older Young Friends together and giving them an atmosphere in which to develop their religious thinking. We have not, however, fully succeeded in finding the fellowship we need so badly. And so we ask: Is there a place for Older Young Friends?
Sue Powell and Jon Carnell
The rest of the article describes a Young Quaker Conference in Indiana which drew 135 from across the world body of Friends, poetry, news of young Friends from Philadelphia, Pacific, New England and Iowa Conservative YMs.
This is all fairly bizarre to me as thoughts like that have been floating around in spoken and written form for years in my yearly meeting. Coupled with news of activities and culture of Young Friends around the world at that time it seems like there was a divide between the conference culture of Young Friends and the spiritual nurture and leadership that they felt in their home meetings. I'm not sure what to make of it because I know from my own grandparents that there was an intense drive among the young parents to keep together, to discuss and plan and organize around their own meeting in Richmond, IN but apparently that was not the case so much for younger, or less local Friends.
At the same time I can't help but think I'm a 'conference Friend' at this point. I have the contacts and possess the background and erudite knowledge to have sophisticated discussions with other Young Friends but I'm not living where my community meeting is and don't have a way to directly relate my thoughts and leadings into my weekly worship and communion (not explicitly sacramental).
I was wondering if other folks had thoughts on this or know some of the history of Young Friends movements in their locality or nationwide. I'll keep posting gems from the archives of Friends Journal probably.