Friends General Conference

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Friends Meetings in the North Central U.S.

NYM Annual Session - Information for Newcomers

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2019 Annual Session Newcomers Information

Welcome to the Northern Yearly Meeting Annual Session.

This guide is intended to help you understand and enjoy NYM. A lot happens at NYM, the schedule is full, and we hope this helps you have the least confusing and best possible time. In any case, there are ASK ME people around, so ASK THEM for anything you need.

The main purposes of the Annual Session are twofold:

1) to accomplish the business of the Yearly Meeting.

2) to reconnect with old and new Friends from far and wide in Northern Yearly Meeting for fellowship. we come from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, the Dakotas, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business is conducted by the clerk's team. The business of the Yearly Meeting involves using Quaker process to make decisions, and to hear reports from committees like Finance, Communications, Children and Youth, El Salvador, Earthcare Witness, and from representatives of Camp Woodbrooke (a Quaker summer camp for kids), Friends General Conference, and other wider Friends' concerns.

Attendance is not mandatory. If you do not feel led to go to business sessions, consider volunteering with the children's programs, which  happen at the same time.

State of Society reports

Each meeting and worship group in NYM reports on how the Spirit has been moving in them for the last year. This is the ongoing history of our yearly meeting.

The Children and Youth programs take place during Business Meeting (mornings). At all other times parents are responsible for their own children (excepting the high school program), or parents may coordinate childcare with other parents. Many activities for children occur during fee time (afternoons) or in the evening - capture the Flag, Frisbee, campfires, vespers, and our kid-friendly Talent Show. Vespers is a slow-down time for young families in the Pinewood Lodge at 8:30 pm each evening.

The Annual Session is coordinated by a committee, the Annual Session Planning Committee (ASPC). This group in turn finds Friends to coordinate workshops, worship sharing, Children and Youth programs, campfires, bookstore, food, housing and other things that are required to support us in our gathering. NYM is entirely run by volunteers, except for the teen coordinators who run year-round teen retreats. A theme is chosen for the weekend and a program (called the “plenary”) is presented on Saturday evening that reflects this theme. Often there are workshops during the weekend that also focus on the theme.

Newcomers find these activities help them meet new Friends:                                                          

  • All Gathering Intergenerational Welcoming and Fellowship on Friday evening. Highly recommended for everyone.
  • Worship Sharing Groups, a great way to connect with Friends spiritually.
  • Nightingales - group singing on Saturday and Sunday evenings.
  • International Folk Dancing - casual and fun, Saturday and Sunday evenings.
  • Talent Show - you will be amazed, Sunday afternoon.
  • Outdoor activities offered at this beautiful camp (swim, boat, hike around the lake)
  • Workshops and Interest Groups - watch the dining hall registration tables and bulletin boards for information.
  • Board games, card games, jigsaw puzzles in the dining hall at 9 pm.
  • Joining others for meals: you may sit at the newcomer's table, but you may also ask to join any table   in the dining hall. Sometimes there are committee meetings held during meals, so do not be offended if you are warned away.
  • Campfires: Saturday and Sunday evenings down the hill from the dining hall. Starts at 7 pm.

Medical/Emergency information

  • First aid kit - at registration desk.
  • Kit includes emergency numbers and maps to the hospital/urgent care center in Stevens Point.
  • The Health Lodge at camp was built to hospital specifications and can house multiple people who become ill during annual session.

Expectations around Annual Session

  • Bicycle helmets are required of all bikers. There are loaners at the camp if you forgot yours.
  • Scooters and pets are not allowed at the camp, per camp policy.
  • Fires are not permitted unless monitored by camp staff.


  • We expect that attenders will volunteer during the weekend. The children's program in particular depends on volunteers. Find volunteer signup sheets at the registration table.


  • Everyone is expected to work on this. Our motto: leave it as good as or better than we found it.
  • Volunteers are needed at the end of the session to sweep and bag trash in cabins. Children and Youth areas and common buildings need to be packed up and swept. Sign up, please!
  • Please check your areas for clothing shoes, towels, shampoo.  Follow instructions in the cabins for linens.
  • Don't forget to check laundry lines, cabin refrigerators, and the Lost-and-Found.

Quiet hours

            Quiet hours are between 10 pm and 7 am.


  • All bathrooms are available to anyone needing a bathroom. This means that someone you haven't met yet (perhaps a tenter) may be in the shower in your cabin.
  • Please use the central door to avoid disturbing sleepers.
  • Generally someone will post signs indicating male or female bathrooms. Not necessarily.


  • The bulletin boards near the main entrance of the Dining Hall are for your use.
  • We try to minimize meal-time announcements, since they disrupt dining. Use the bulletin boards as much as possible.
  • If you wish to have an announcement made, write it out and put it in the designated envelope or box on the bulletin board. It will be read by an announcer.
  • Sign up for a volunteer shift! This cuts down on mealtime pleas for volunteers.


For tenters

            You may pitch a tent almost anywhere at camp. However, you may not drive out to Indian Point, and please avoid the fire ring as there may be a campfire there. Do not  pitch tents on the shore as it causes erosion. There are outhouse facilities on the Point. Campers may use bathrooms in any nearby cabin. Cabins can be used as shelters in case of bad weather.

Free time possibilities

  • Books from the FGC Bookstore are available in the Memorial Building annex.
  • Displays and information from other Quaker organizations are in the Health Lodge.
  • Memorial minutes for Friends who have died in the last year are posted in the Dining Hall by the back door.
  • Swimming and boating - these are allowed only during designated times, when guards are on duty (1:30 - 5:30) . Ignore any signs posted that tell you otherwise. Swimmers under 10 MUST be accompanied by a responsible person age 16 or older. In order to protect the lake, attenders may not bring their own boats. ALL BOATERS MUST WEAR LIFE JACKETS.
  • Hike around the  lake, play volleyball or frisbee, sing, play music, take a nap. Relax.

Printable PDF below.