To Friends everywhere.

Fourteen Young Friends met at Silver Wattle Quaker Centre between 29 December 2012 and 5 January 2013. We came by motorcycle, train, car and plane; from diverse locations; some for the first and some for the umpteenth time. We were excited to have amongst us three Burundian-Australian Young Friends, who shared their Quaker experiences, refugee stories, card games, and remarkable spirit. We were also fortunate to share the company of an inspired and joyful soul from New Zealand.

We pioneered the new camping area within Silver Wattle, and set up the camp circle. Our arrival coincided with that of the new directors who nurtured and supported our camp. Real camping for once and spending the majority of our time outdoors pushed us to connect more with the land. We watched the moonrise and were in awe of the open night sky. The early morning trek to the top of the hill enabled us to witness the sunrise over Weereewa (Lake George) and we were moved into silence.

The old toilet structures provided fascination in the form of a giant spider family. One afternoon was spent netting fruit trees and then juggling the plums already ravaged by birds. We enjoyed conversations around the nightly circle, and considered our role as young people within the society. An early morning session simultaneously built community and compost. We found inspiration and laughter in an unexpected visitor, who helped us farewell the old year by leading improvised dancing.

Perspectives from previous, current and new Young Friends taught us more about how we interact with each other, and will hopefully enable us to connect better with new individuals.

We remembered our good friend who passed away earlier in 2012 and appreciated the Testimony composed by a group of Young Friends and recently moved on Young Friends. We were reminded again how infrequently we meet and discussed ideas for connectedness and continuing pastoral care throughout the year.

The concurrent family gathering at Silver Wattle allowed for sharing of epilogues with non-Young Friends and we finished the week with an evening of games, a shared meal and songs. It was refreshing to informally interact as a group with Friends of all ages, and introduce them to some of the ways of bonding as Young Friends.

We leave camp not unlike the sunrise, with clear skies and a bright future, growing into the coming year and feeling free to dance our song and spread our Light on the world.

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