SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN YOUNG FRIENDS
YOUNG FRIENDS' VALUES
(approved 8/06; revised 08/08, 02/11)
Reason for Values Guidelines
Infraction of Guidelines
Quaker communities have existed for over 300 years. They rest on their members' commitment to each other, to the survival of the community, to the spiritual bond, and to the friendships that are a part of it. The Young Friends community is no different. For many, this community is the most important group they belong to. For some, it is just one of several important communities in their lives. For still others, this may be their only community and their only safe place. Young Friends should acknowledge and respect the place this community holds in the lives of those in it.
The Young Friends community is more than a vacation or a retreat. It is a spiritual, uniquely Quaker community that continues in friendships, relationships, activities, and events throughout the lives of those in it. In respect for that community and our commitment to each other as Friends, these guidelines are offered as a statement of our values. They are meant to help ensure that the Young Friends community continues to grow in the tradition of Friends and that those in it may feel safe to test their spiritual leading.
While we as Friends feel that every situation is unique and should be treated as such, we state these values to assist Friends, both new and old, to co-exist in SAYF community. They are based on Quaker testimonies: honesty, integrity, trust, equality, non-violence, respect, community, and above all, love. Testimonies are not creeds but guide how we live our lives in community. Quakers do not take oaths, but in attending a Young Friends' event, you are affirming a belief in the Young Friends' community and agreeing to abide by its guidelines. If you are unwilling to commit to the community and ensure its continued health and survival. you should ask yourself whether coming to the event in question is wise. You also need to prepare yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually to make the most of your time on retreat. If you do not feel that you're ready, then you need to reconsider whether attending this gathering is sensible.
Note: These rules are not all encompassing. In light of this, Friends need to use common sense and ask a Friendly Adult Presence whenever a question arises. In general, Friends need to use respect and common sense in their dealings with outside presences, Friendly Adult Presences, fellow teens, the grounds, especially themselves and the Spirit.
We feel that because these guidelines were set up for the protection and continued survival of the Young Friends community, every guideline infraction is by nature a big deal. In addition, we would like to reiterate that each case is unique and that the group's actions as a result of an infraction should be decided on a case-by case basis.
If a problem centers around a mistake and does not involve any breach of law, we ask that Friends as a community practice self-eldering. This self-eldering is a simple process. We will encourage those who may be wavering to respect the community by following the guidelines. We will also make clear our rejection of all violations of the community's standards (we encourage Friends to shun the act, not the violator) and our support of those who need nurturing in this respect, then hopefully we'll never have to go beyond this point.
If a Friend feels uncomfortable confronting the individual, he/she may call upon a Nurturing Committee member and/or FAN to offer support and back up. This group may decide to sit down and talk informally about the problem.
The breaking of more serious guidelines results first in a community care meeting to decide what (if any) further actions may be needed. The reasons for this process are:
1. A community care meeting that is convened on a case-by-case
basis provides a sense of healing for the community and the
individual(s) involved with the infraction.
A Friend (young or adult) who has reason to believe a guideline has been broken should bring this to the attention of the adult who is/was in charge of the retreat where it occurred. That adult will convene a community care meeting of 5 to 10 Friends including the person in question, their parents (if appropriate), Young Friends from the Nurturing Committee, and adults from the SAYF Steering committee. The person(s) in question cannot continue to attend a SAYF retreat until the clearness process is completed.
In the past, consequences have ranged from a Young Friend being asked not to attend the next SAYF retreat to a Young Friend being asked to explain to the SAYF community the guideline they had broken and its effect on them and on others, including future SAYF retreats.
For the protection of the community and it's members, any case of physical and/or sexual abuse will result in the community asking the offender not to return to SAYF.-->
Last updated third month, 2017