Welcome to the Australian Quaker Children and Junior Young Friends Page. This site aims to share information to enable young people to be more fully involved in Australian Quaker faith, practice and community. This includes:
- Resources for Local, Regional and Yearly Meeting children and JYF programs and intergenerational gatherings
- Links to websites of interest to young people, those working with them, and the wider meeting
- Contact people involved in the care of children in each state (Carers, RM Children and JYF Correspondents, RM Child Protection Contact Friends)
- Australian and international Quaker events of relevance to young people
- Articles of interest
- The Australian Quaker Children and JYF Newsletters
This page is maintained by the AYM Children and JYF Committee and Coordinator.
Children and Young People in the Religious Society of Friends
Our Meetings value their children. A child who is an active participant in our Quaker communities may be listed as a ‘child or youth of the meeting’. Meetings have a responsibility to see that their children have opportunities to develop an understanding of Quaker belief and practice. When the young person reaches the age of adulthood, this may be seen as a kind of ‘graduation’ and Meetings may choose to mark this in some way. Notwithstanding the above, children of any age who wish to be members of the Society may apply and be visited in the normal way. If approved, they will be called ‘members’.
Handbook of Practice and Procedure, Section 5, 5.1.3 Child Membership
The age groups for young people are as follows:
- Junior Friends (JFs) are up to 12 years of age
- Junior Young Friends (JYFs) are aged 12 to 17
- Young Friends (YFs) are aged 18 to 30
There are Junior Friends and Junior Young Friends programs at the annual national gathering at Yearly Meeting, which includes a camp for the JYFs. Regional Meetings often hold residential weekends which are family friendly, and sometimes camps for Junior Young Friends also.
Young Friends normally hold camps twice a year, at Easter and immediately prior to Yearly Meetings. For further information about Young Friends, go to http://youngfriends.co-operista.com/
Rejoice in the presence of children and young people in your meeting and recognise the gifts they bring. Remember that the meeting as a whole shares a responsibility for every child in its care.
AYM: Religious Society of Friends in Australia, 2008
Participation and partnership involves working in such a way that the traditional power balance between generations shifts in favour of young people taking up more responsibility, and in consequence developing personally, socially and spiritually. It is not an abdication of responsibility, rather it is a change from a relationship of dependence to one of partnership. It is a way of relating that demands our full acceptance of their autonomy, independence and individuality.
Sandy Parker. From This We Can Say. Australian Quaker Life, Faith and Thought. Australian Yearly Meeting 2003
Where do you see that of God, the Inner Light, in your children? [One parent answered:] I see it when they are asleep… another described her child when intent on a project, eyes sparkling, a slight frown, as she worked to get the building of blocks balanced just right. Another described his child dancing, keeping the beat, bending and twisting, with sparkling eyes and shining face. The essence of their being seems there shining through. They seem in tune with the universe.
From Answering that of God in our children, by Harriet Heath, Pendle Hill Pamphlet 315, 1994.