Jenny Turton, Children and JYF Coordinator
The Silver Wattle Easter Family Gathering was held between Friday 18 and Monday 21April. The theme of this gathering was “Quirky Quakers: Past, Present and Future”. It was very capably facilitated by Junior Young Friends Emily Bray from VRM and Liam Paananen from NSW RM. This was the largest Easter Family Gathering yet held at Silver Wattle, with 10 families and around 40 individuals participating. A small number of Young Friends held their Easter camp at Silver Wattle over the weekend, and joined in for some of the activities.
“Past” activities focused on the Quaker stretcher bearers during World War 1, chocolate and the Cadbury family, and plain dress. A significant number of participants (including children and JYFs) led “present” workshops about how their lives speak. This included topics as diverse as dancing, fungi, life story writing, drama and animals, to name a few. During the “future” circles activity participants broke into groups to envisage how the world would be 5 years into the future, based around themes such as the environment, community and health. Other fun activities were the Quaker trivia quiz, campfire and acknowledgement of country, family fun games, screen printing, “Silver Wattle’s Got Talent” concert and the Easter egg hunt. There was a very special meeting for worship on the top of the escarpment on Easter Sunday.
It was a very special experience living in such a loving intergenerational community. There was a great balance of sessions, free time, fun, serious reflection and worship. There was ample time for informal discussions and the development and consolidation of friendships. The Easter Family Gathering has become an important yearly event for many, and an inspiration for those of us who experienced it for the first time. I would encourage families and others who haven’t already experienced an Easter Family Gathering to consider coming to next year’s gathering.
My experience of planning a Family Easter Camp
Liam Paananen, New South Wales Regional Meeting
Planning the weekend started way back on February when I started skyping with fellow JYF Emily Bray Bourne. During these meetings we planed 90% of the activities and brain stormed everything. I think that helped a lot. We decided to make the theme of the weekend- Quirky Quakers Past, Present and Future so the Friday would be past, Saturday present and Sunday would be the future. Emily and I spent a few days together just before the event preparing all the activities. The time came and we were excited to be finally heading to Silver Wattle.
The camp started off with a bang with the WW1 FAU (Friends Ambulance Unit) game. This involved some short readings of people’s experiences in WW1, stretcher building and races to rescue our ‘patients’. Over the course of the weekend we did many activities and I thought everyone had lots of fun. It was great that none of the older friends thought it was strange that the camp was being run by JYF’s. I felt like we where supported to run the camp and everyone really respected the effort we put in. Over all the camp went wonderfully and I would definitely do it again.
The best bit about Family Easter Camp was …..
- Meeting for worship on the escarpment
Drawing on the white board
Spending time with other families
Seeing the kangaroos
Being part of a multigenerational community
Spending time with my friends in Quakers
Playing with Clancy and making her laugh
Being a fairygodmother/fairygodfather
Making the paper cranes
Seeing Clancy eat
Playing lots of games (eg. egg and spoon races)
Seeing the farm animals
The Easter egg hunt
Catching up with F/friends and watching young F/friends growing up
People helping each other and sharing in work and play
The future circles
Making new friends!
Climbing the escarpment with all my friends!!!
Being a fairygodchild
I had written her a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to Silver Wattle where I knew her, years (and years) ago,
She was (just) crawling when I knew her, but I sent the letter to her,
Just “on spec”, addressed as follows, “Clancy, of The Over-throw”.
And an answer came directed from an email unexpected,
(And I think the same was written on a tablet in a car)
‘Twas the F.I.R. who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:
“Clancy’s joined the Peace Bus Protest, and we don’t know where she are!”
In my wild erratic fancy, visions came to me of Clancy
At Swan Island or Rockhampton where the Peace protesters go;
With their banners gaily streaming, Clancy makes up more all gleaming,
For the peacenik’s life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know.
In Darwin or at Pine Gap, Clancy travels with her peace map,
As she spreads her focused message telling people “No More War”,
And her protests keep attacking forest logging, coal and fracking,
And to make her point she sometimes ends up foul of the law.
I am sitting at my laptop, reading through my endless emails.
Seeing which ones I must reply to, and which ones I can ignore,
And putting stuff in spreadsheets, and preparing for an audit
And then writing up the minutes of a Meeting held before.
I am now in touch with Clancy, as she wanders to her fancy,
Expressing to the government her full and righteous rage,
I can track her movements easy, ’cause she leaves a trail to follow,
All I had to do was “friend” her, and to “like” her face-book page!
And I sometimes rather fancy that I’d like to change with Clancy,
Like to take a turn at protest where the peace bus wants to go,
While she faced the round unceasing of the Friends’ Committee Meeting —
But I doubt she’d hack committees, Clancy, of The Over-throw.
Jim Palmer, Victoria Regional Meeting – Easter 2014
(with apologies to A. B. Patterson)