This SAYF retreat has gone by so quickly, but what a filled and busy weekend it has been! This
retreat is exactly what I needed; a place to come to where I can get away from the stress and
distress that I have in my life. It was also a place where I can forget my insecurities, and not
have to notice my faults, because I feel loved here even with those faults and insecurities.
I love you all dearly, but at the moment I am very tired, and I fear anything I write in this epistle
will be negative. Not negative about you, more probably me being negative about myself. So,
I’m really not going to write anything else.
All my love,
Okay...coming here was awesome! As you know...this is my first retreat ever! The people here
are so sweet, caring, crazy, funny, and very fun to lay on! I love it here! The game of wink
was amazing! Everyone jumping all over the place and sitting o your head....not cool
Sam!...lol! and when they The group talk circle things were amazing! Everyone here has
their own problems and when they tell us about them ..... we do everything in our power to help
them! The scavenger hunt was soooooo funny! Me’n’ Emily tripped sooooo many times! But it
was fun! On the way up here SUCKED! We sat in the car for two hours because of a car
accident! But hopefully they are okay! Like I said.....everyone will always be there for each
other! I hope to see you all soon!
XOXOXOXO ♣ Chrissy
PS Santa Panda’s
Okay Chrissy, I did not sit on your head. That was your back!
♣ ya, Samantha
Time melds together. One day is the next.
Smiles line up in my mind forming
strings of Christmas lights.
Hands that I held are too many
Love that I felt is too much to know.
Bodies tumble over one another
Pushing, fighting, kicking, laughing,
all in the name of wink.
Kids sit in silence
pouring their hearts out into blackness.
3 legs run, gather, hunt, and
Music plays and so we dance, a dance
of never ending community,
of care and will to continue,
of connection and wonder of this life.
I am in awe of you all.
So this was my second SAYF retreat and it was just as awesome as my first. I loved it and
everyone was just as nice, loving, and accepting of me as they were last time. I think I gave
massages on 5 different occasions so my only complaint is that I didn’t get a single one
back. I’m joking of course, I enjoyed giving these massages and I hope those people got some
stress removed and gained even the slightest bit of comfort.
This weekend was definitely different than I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to
be a huge group of people doing a bunch of group building stuff. I didn’t expect to make any
close friendships, but I did. It was just one of the best experiences I ever had. Just the people that
came and the things we did. But it wasn’t just all the fun. I thought the healing circle was
extremely hard for me. It was more to handle than I expected. I had never done anything with the
high school before SAYF. It was just hard listening to what people said and wondering how I
could help them. But in the long run, it was something I needed to do. SAYF was something I
needed to do. And I loved every second of it. Along with everybody. Thanks for everything!!!
On this trip I had a great time but I did miss Ayesha because she had a football game. It
was sad without her here. ♣ Lamont
The SAYF retreat is a beautiful experience. It gave me a chance to see another side of humanity
that, though is always there, is hidden a lot of the time. I saw it unleashed in various activities,
worships, games. Community has a really broad definition at times, but I got to see everything it
stands for. Love you all.
This weekend has been really wonderful. I loved the trust games and wink. I loved watching
people dance to Indian music and eating pepperoni and cheerios for breakfast. I loved meeting
all these new people who were weird, amazing and loved. SAYF has been a really great
experience for me, and you guys made it so wonderful. One of my favorite parts was the healing
circle that we had. It was so great that people felt comfortable sharing really personal things
with people they had known for 24 hours. Everyone helped make this weekend what it was – fun,
trusting, wonderful. Thank you so much. I love you guys!
Dear SAYF’ers –
One year now – since I first got ‘roped in’ to help drive a few of you and two graduated ones
from Asheville to Chapel Hill. Now I am a full-fledged FAP. Whoopie.
Each time I have joined a SAYF retreat I return home with memories – almost always positive
ones. Some little vignettes or incidences I can tell a friend about, and then say “this is why I
have hope for the future”.
For my species, for other creatures, for the planet. Each time I get to know a few of you better,
or meet some new people. At first, on Friday nights, it might seem all random high energy and
a lot of goofiness. But by Sunday, I have discovered also that there is a lot of depth to each of
you who have shared more of what’s going on and who you are with me or a group. You have
a lot of joy, a lot of concerns, and some of you have a lot of pain. Me Siento. I wish I could help
with that. It is not an easy world out there, not an easy culture.
In finding SAYF, I have added to my very short list of micro-communities where people really
try to hear each other. Where there is a generous measure of acceptance of differences. Where it
is truly OK to be your full self. My wish for the world is that little “communities” like SAYF
proliferate until the whole world is swallowed up in understanding, acceptance, appreciation,
and love. What a wonderful world that would be. Just imagine.
I was initially debating whether or not to come to this weekend. This was my first SAYF retreat,
and it certainly made me want to come back. I’m so glad that I came, because the love &
acceptance in this group of people is simply amazing. It isn’t just a bunch of teens; it is a bunch
of teens who really do care. About the world, each other, and in result, learn to deeply care
about themselves, an important thing that most people never really accomplish.
PS That was one INTENSE game of wink J
Ice Cream Cake
1 layer crumbled cookies (chocolate animal crackers or mint cookies)
1 layer vanilla ice cream
1 layer crumbled cookies (whatever kind not used above)
1 layer cool whip (optional)
1 layer chocolate chips
Best cake ever!!! TRUE DAT! ....double true!
Every year there is a cycle that takes place which starts at the September retreat and ends with
the graduation of the seniors at the retreat at SAYMA in June. Every year that I have been in
SAYF, the September retreat is a difficult retreat for many people. There have always been
comments about the lack of the old leadership, and complaints about the immaturity, or lack of
spirituality among the newbies.
This year has been remarkably different in that regard. This retreat the leadership has proven
themselves to be excellent leaders, the planning committee worked together smoothly and
efficiently in both the planning and leading of this retreat (I hardly had to do anything) and the
newbies....well, this is the most mature and spiritually in tune group of newbies ever.
I am so impressed with all of you, and thank each one of you for contributing to a fantastic first
retreat of the new SAYF year. I can’t wait to see how this group grows together throughout the
rest of the year.
I truly hope to see everyone of you in October for the W. Knoxville retreat.
It’s great to be back with the SAYF community. I’ve missed all of you for a long time. I wasn’t
able to come to very many retreats last year, but I plan on coming to more this year. It’s weird
after being away from the community for so long and coming back. The community has
changed and grown so much. Half the people I didn’t even really know at the beginning of the
retreat. But SAYF did its wonderful magic and I feel like I’ve known everybody for years. This
retreat went really well, I know I had fun watching the scavenger hunts. The meetings with
attention to laughter and healing were both really good. This was a good retreat to start off the
Wow! Well....this is my first retreat that I’ve gone to and it was AMAZING! The people here are
so loving and caring at all times! I thought that it was gonna be awkward coming and not
knowing NE one...but I made friends quick!....WINK! Wow....that is officially the best game
ever! I love it! Well.....I hope that I am able to come to a lot more retreats and stuff cause it’s
awesome! Yea....that’s about it!
This weekend rocked. The Chapel Hillians who got here early spent an hour rushing up to any
car that pulled into the lot, a few had no quakers on board and those riding in them, may have
been a bit weirded out by the small group of sayfers hovering nearby watching their car. The 3
legged scavenger hunt was a blast, but not as good as having a designated nap area. All in all
good times, good people, good food.
This retreat was reli interesting. I brought my older sister along and I hope she enjoyed it....i
have a notebook on my head.....
It feels weird. OK so far the first retreat of the year it was reli fun. The scavenger hunt me and
Ellen cheated, and Max got on to us. Wink was interesting. I stayed in the same place the whole
time while my sister plays wink better than me, from which I regret. I thought Nashville was
going to come but I guess not. The ride up here sucked! Yah I am tired and don’t feel like writing
anymore. I ♣ you all very much.
How would I like this community to grow? Last night in a Meeting for healing, I felt there was a
great need for this type of activity. There are several ways this can be done and I feel it would
benefit our community to give ourselves this chance to share our deepest concerns often. This
might be added as a vital part of every retreat, sometimes a Meeting for Healing, others as a
Worship sharing. I remember a retreat where the opening query was, “How are you?”. There
was such a wonderful feeling of community last night and concern for each other. The worship
ended but Friends stayed bonded in that silence for awhile, not wanting to leave that cocoon of
safety that we had created. That was an awesome experience.
I feel so refreshed spiritually from this weekend. Congratulations to the planning committee for
a marvelous retreat. Food was plentiful & delicious also. Activities were so creative and fun. As
a FAP & driver I also appreciate doing the epistles earlier.
Thank you for sharing a piece of your life with me. I will continue holding you in the LIGHT
after returning home.
In the loving Spirit,
This is my first SAYF. It was harder than I thought it was going to be seeing all these
different people and learning good and bad things about their lives was a lot to handle. It
makes me really think hard about lots of things. Everyone is just so different in a great
way. I learn so many new things. I love seeing the love so many people have for others. I’ve
made friendships I’ll never forget about and met people who will always have a place in my
heart and have also made an impact on the person I will become.
TRISTAN NEEDS TO READ THIS (&sing mad world at the end)
This retreat has definitely been a learning experience for me. I don’t think that there’s anywhere
else where I would learn to free my hands from a cheetah print sheet. And I’ve had mad world
stuck in my head all morning. That song must have been the theme song of this retreat. Although
I’m sure that I’ll never come to a Chapel Hill retreat EVER again (ten hours=too much) the
retreat itself was good. Although I would still love to spit in the faces of the planning committee,
Casey, you’re my hero! I think that I may well have spent the entire retreat chasing Ivy around
so I could pet her peach fuzz though. Yeah...First game of wink EVER and I wound up stuck
with Tristan. People, NEVER PLAY WINK WITH TRISTAN! Unless you’re big & strong and I
am neither. Oh yeah, Sam, that picture is way awesome. Wren should put it into the worship
journals. Chapel Hill, what’s up with the screaming noise that comes from the kitchen? It scares
And I find it kinda funny
I find it kinda sad,
The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you,
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very very mad world, mad world, mad world
I still have that song in my head,
I’m a newbie, and I don’t usually like to be around people a lot older than me, so I was afraid I
wouldn’t like it here. But everyone wanted me and was happy that I came. This has been a
place that I can be who I am and be loved for it. I am so happy that SAYF is how it is. I’m also
happy that I won the Lance Bass bobble head.
PS John the Quaker, you’re going down. Next time you tell me to go hide in the kitchen, I’m
NOT LISTENING! There is no way I’m hiding in a closet for 20 minutes and missing cake.
Greetings from John the Quaker!
One of the beautiful things that I experienced this weekend was the worshipful way in that
activities were organized by the planning committee and engaged in by the entire body of
us. Sitting still, holding each other in the light, even 10-15 minutes after closing of Meeting
for Worship with Attention to Healing was a heart warming experience. Even the meeting
with attention to laughter was done on a calm thoughtful and yet hilarious way. I appreciate
those who gave of their time to come lead workshops. Good choices! I also appreciate that people
make a good effort to check their egos at the door to make concerted efforts to welcome
newbies, to not make distracting jokes and sidebar conversations during worship activities
and to attempt to join in all activities as a community....otherwise, what is the point, eh?
Take this Spirit and way of being beyond these walls...please!
I have a lot of love for all of you. Thank you, John the Quaker
Three days have gone by so fast. It’s like you get here, and just a few minutes later, you’re
already headed out the door. J
Seriously, I still feel like its 8:30 on Friday night. It probably didn’t help that I was out cold for
over 3 hours on Saturday.
As I was saying, another retreat has come and gone. This retreat was very fun and interesting
(seriously). I had a lot of fun.
I was happy with getting cake and ice cream at a retreat. These two foods, along with soda,
should be retreat staples. Recently, cake and ice cream have not been available at retreats
because they are so-called ‘bad’ and gives consumers cancer! These accusations are clearly not
true. I eat cake all the time yet have no cancer.
This retreat should be a test case of having wink back on the schedule. Before this retreat, SAYF
had not had a decent game of wink in over a year. But just putting wink on the schedule nearly
doubled wink attendance, making the game so much more fun .
Well, this retreat was a blast. I felt more in touch with the community, than ever before. I
actually connected with you people this time.
See you in Knoxville. I might just bring cake.
When you ________ I feel _____; please _______or I’ll punch you in YO’ FACE!
Post script ~ Jimmy Wuz HEAR!
Post-postscript ~ Jake, you a fox.
Post-post-postscript ~ Conrad, bestiality’s not okay!
Jimmy writes things that are APPROPIATE! GRRR! Don’t bite!
So, to follow Jimmy’s brilliantly inspirational addition to the epistles; this weekend has been
amazing. It seems vaguely that the word “amazing” doesn’t do you all justice, but that’s about
as intense as my wording gets. Trying to get here from Berea was somewhat stressful (GBR!
Will. What the hell????) but I can’t explain how happy I am that I made it. You guys are
wonderful and the planning committee did an excellent job with this retreat. The worship
sharing/healing session was pretty intense, but I felt so good afterwards. As always, I love you
all, and I hope all is/shall be well with your lives outside of this place.
- Brittany Steffey
PS I never get any mail, and a few of you promised to send letters (YAY!). My address is, for
those who want to send me notes (letters are AWESOME!) (and for those who lost the mailing
list because they’re lame * cough Conrad cough *
CPO Box 1436
Berea KY 40404
This weekend has been FAB_U_LUS! It was my 2nd SAYF experience and everyone treated me
like I was an important part of the group! It was kinda hard because my cuz Matthias left and
went to college. I don’t know what to put next!Well.....I food was good! HaHA. I have made
many new friends and WILL come back to see everyone again. I plan to be here till I am too old
to come back!
I wish the retreats were longer!
This was my first SAYF retreat, and I was worried at first. Lots of people would be older than
me, and that can be scary sometimes. I was having second thoughts about coming, but I’m really
glad I did. All of the group building activities and so much togetherness is exactly the kind of
community that I know and love. Thanks to all of you for making this a great experience for me.
I’m sure that when I first took the notepad for epistles, I had something in mind to say, but
now its gone & I’m sitting here drawing circles on my thumb. This weekend has been really
great. All kinds of fun things happened, several of them included leopard print cloth. I am, of
course, meaning the scavenger hunt? But seriously, SAYF is like my escape from real life,
thanks you guys.
I know that there are many things that I have to say about this community. However, I’m not
quite sure if I can truly express them. I mean, it’s not solely a concern about semantics but also
that there are these myriads of emotions and thoughts all intertwined and jumbled in there
somewhere. Alright then, here goes.....During the past few years, the first SAYF retreat of the
year (usually centered upon the theme of community) have been somewhat shaky. Yes, they
have incorporated the community theme quite well, but these retreats have also lacked the level
of spirituality that is so essential to SAYF. I feel that this beginning-of-the-year retreat was
different though. I feel that everyone, newbies, twobies, oldbies, anyone in between and FAPs
were all greatly aware of the need for spirituality and centeredness here. For instance, the
Meeting with attention to Healing was one of the most wonderful activities I have ever been
apart of during my time at SAYF. I thank you all for that amazing experience. As some have
mentioned, it was genuinely an ideal situation. I love you all so much.
But now onto some confusion and chicanery. In addition to all the love and beauty that I feel
and witness here at SAYF, I’ve been in a strange mood as well. It’s definitely not a “oh, what
happened to the good ‘ol days” mood, but it’s something that could be comparable in some
ways. I guess with all the seniors from last year gone, I feel slightly out of place nit having
anyone to look up to really at SAYF. It’s a very strange and controversial transitioning time in
senior year even in the beginning...well, at least for me it is. Nevertheless, I am very uplifted and
hopeful to see everyone else. I look around and see so many people who will become wonderful
leaders of SAYF. Okay, I’m holding everyone up now.....merr. Once again, I love all you guys
so much and hope to see you in future retreats.
This is the embodiment of SAYF. This is our community. How can it grow, how will it
grow...well, there are some sayfes who were told to come to SAYF but are not here right now.
I’m sure there will be a newbie or two every once in awhile, or someone else won’t be able to
come. Not to mention the entirety of Nashville is not here. Each one of us FAPs and FADs
included, define how this community functions. Therefore, this community is an everlasting
Change. This was a fabulous retreat. From Indian dancing to one intense healing circle, we had
it all. Really sets a high standard for the rest of retreats to come. I hope Knoxville can do just as
well. Anywho, I thought I’d bring attention that there was no conflicts, and by that, I didn’t
hear a complaint of “I miss the seniors so much. Whatever shall I do?!” which I’m usually
partaking in. This is a great set of people, and I love you all.
Post script I do, however miss Sterling. Email her your love. She just turned 14 on the 20th.
Around whatever time the candle circle was Saturdays night, I found myself able to answer the
query. Looking around I realize I’m here for everything: the people, the community, the love,
everything. I love each and everyone of you and I’m so glad you’re part of my life.
Chapel Hill once again managed an amazing retreat. The three legged scavenger hunt
was....interesting. The food was amazing and all that jazz people usually say.
Much love, Alise
For as long as I have been coming to SAYF (and before that) there has always been the
inevitable issue of people (mostly seniors and juniors) freaking out and making the decision to
sever their ties with the community. I always expected that eventually I would get fed up with
or tired of SAYF and stop coming because every year I saw it happening around me. But as the
time draws near, sort of, to graduation, I find that I have absolutely no desire to stop coming to
SAYF this year. I love this community despite its problems and constant changing qualities.
That actualyy makes it better and more real. Everyone always told me that senior year in high
school rocks and I would have a blast. I hate high school and am not in fact having a blast this
year. I don’t think I have ever been more irritable, stressed out, and paranoid in my life. I think
this is why I need SAYF more than ever. When the time comes I will be ready to leave b ut for
now I just want to enjoy this place with you guys.
OK now I am actually going to talk about the retreat. This was probably the best first retrat of
the year. Usually they are disjointed and unorganized, but this year it pulled together nicely
and I am impressed. Well done Chapel Hill. The healing circle was moving and emotional
which I believe was also greatly needed. Usually, or at least in my experience, they can go very
wrong. Thank you for that.
Oriana and Conrad my loves, I love dancing with you like a fat man loves lard cakes. That’s a
lot by the by. Until October then,
Ellie (or Ellen, what you will)
Post script: I have sunk to my depths and gotten a myspace. Jesus Murphy, I am thoroughly
ashamed of myself. But you should be my friend anyways. (My last name is Farmer just so you
know. Like the cow people).