Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Kindergarten through Sixth Grade

Photo by Zan Lombardo
Children and Teens
Date and Time: 
Sunday, June 30, 2019 - 6:00pm to Saturday, July 6, 2019 - 11:00am

Sprouts, Saplings & Pinetrees (K to 6th Grades, full-time only)

Sprouts,  Saplings & Pinetrees are what we call our four groups for elementary age Friends in the Junior Gathering Program. Click the links in the menu below to learn about these groups.  The youngest of these children should be entering Kindergarten in the fall, and at least five years old.


Daily Routine

 (Before Gathering)

What to Bring

Typical Day

Open House

Archives & Resources for more information: 

Letters to Sprouts June 2018   

Letters to Saplings June 2018     

Letters to Pinetrees June 2018   

Junior Gathering Times - Summer 2018

Junior Gathering Times Summer 2017  - Our newsletter for families with children  

Winter Junior Gathering TimesFebruary 2017  

“She loved all of her teachers sooo much!” ~Saplings parent


Daily Routine

Sprouts, Saplings & Pinetrees spend their mornings and evenings with approximately 15 of their peers, grouped primarily by age. They are lovingly supported and cared for and under the supervision and direction of a handful of adult Friends -- one primary coordinator with 3 to 4 well qualified staff, which may include a High School  Friend who is taking the Ministry With Children workshop.


Activities are planned individually by the coordinators and run the gamut from fabric arts to woodworking to instrument making to painting to just about anything you can imagine. They will be singing and dancing and playing outdoors, and even worship. Generally some of the activities are tied to the Gathering theme and are designed to introduce the children to Quaker Testimonies and values.

The children will be provided a simple snack, in the mornings.

Children in these age groups must be signed in and out of group time each day by a responsible adult.  You can rest easy knowing that your child's needs for fresh air, nutritious food and exercise are being met.

"She liked that they went outside for so much time." Sprouts parent

Before Gathering   

Help us prepare to give your child the best possible week by sharing with us:

  • dietary needs
  • joys
  • struggles
  • achievements
  • challenges and/or
  • recent significant changes in your child's life.

Indicate these on your Parental Release form or by email to [email protected].  You can rest assured that your child is being cared for lovingly as you attend your morning workshop or evening plenary.

Carefully read your confirmation email and the mailing from Junior Gathering in early June. (JG Times & a letter from your child’s group leader).

After April 1, 2018 check out the Junior Gathering FAQs on our website.

Connect with other parents who have attended Gathering before.

We’ll be here every year.  I’m eager for her to grow up in this community." Junior Gathering parent


What to Bring 

  • Be sure to pack:
    • Sunscreen (fragrance free)
    • Bug Spray (if you want to use it)
    • Change of clothes in case we get dirty
    • Bathing suit
    • Towel
    • Hat
    • Water Bottle
    • Sweater or Sweatshirt
    • Sleeping Bag or bedding (with pillow!) if your child is sleeping on the floor in your room
    • Helmet (You must have one if you bring your bike)

Please clearly label anything you wish to take home at the end of the week.

Note to Parents:  If your child will be sleeping on the floor, be sure to bring bedding or a sleeping bag and some kind of pad.

“My son made good connections with several kids.” ~Pinetrees parent


A typical family day:

7:00-8:30 AM Breakfast
8:15-12:00 noon Junior Gathering Morning Program (Parents in Workshops)
12:00-1:30 PM  Lunch
1:30-5:00 PM Afternoon Family Time options include:
  • Our Family Place: 1:30 - 4:30
  • MultiGen activities
  • Field Trips
  • Make your own plans

5:00-6:30 PM Dinner

6:45-9:00 PM Junior Gathering Evening Program (Parents at Plenaries)
9:15 PM Bedtime for little ones with cooperative childcare in the dorm so parents can go to Late Night Sings, Films, or Contra Dance.


This was my grandchild’s first time away from both parents for a week and he wasn’t homesick at least partly because he was so content." SPROUTS grandparent                                              


A word about Snacks for 2018

Our main objective as we prepare for Gathering each year is to create a safe, loving environment in which our children can make new friends and explore Quakerism in an age-appropriate, child-centered way. We strive to plan activities that allow for exploration in a play-based curriculum and to build programming that holds all of our children at the center. This is a great joy for those of us who are called to this work.

One of the challenges before the Long Range Conference Planning Committee this year was to find ways to support FGC in its efforts to be careful stewards of our financial resources without compromising the excellent quality of programming we have worked so hard to create in Junior Gathering.  After much discernment and celebration of what works well, the committee felt clear that serving a simpler snack made sense. 

A simple snack of something like crackers allows Junior Gathering to act

as better stewards of our funds in two ways. It eliminates the need for the two snack coordinator positions, as all snack can be delivered to the classrooms at the beginning of the week instead of each morning, and it allows us to conserve funds for programming and rely more heavily on the dining hall and mealtimes to fill the tummies of the children in our care with healthy, sustaining food.  Though we have loved serving fresh, organic produce and juice to the children, these groceries cannot be bought in bulk and are significantly more costly than dry goods.  We appreciate the care that went into this decision and trust that as you make plans for coming to Gathering, you will plan to use the robust offering at the dining services to make sure the children are well fueled for their play and learning with us.  A hearty breakfast goes a long way toward a successful morning and a solid supper helps children thrive during evening program time.  Of course, we will serve a snack to bridge the time between meals, but this year, the snack will be simpler.

Please plan to send a water bottle clearly marked with your child's name so we can avoid using disposable cups and still make sure our children are getting plenty of water to drink, especially on hot days.

Open House: Sunday evening after dinner for all children up to those who have finished 5th grade (Acorns, Pinecones, Sprouts, Saplings & Pinetrees). This is a time for you and your child to visit the room and get acquainted with the caregivers and staff as well as the other children. Coordinators will discuss their plans and expectations for the week. Parents and/or Responsible Parties (sponsors) will be asked to list those adults who have permission to sign out their child. If permission has not been granted, your child will not be released.  Open House is a good time to share dietary or other needs with the Group Coordinator. especially if you forget to share these with us ahead of time.

Help us prepare to give your child the best possible week by sharing with us dietary needs, joys, struggles, achievements, challenges and/or recent significant changes in your child's life. You can indicate these on your Parental Release form or by email to [email protected]


Updated 6-9-2018

Related Content

What is Junior Gathering?

Parental Release Forms for Junior Gathering and High School Program

Group Coordinators : Junior Gathering Group Coordinator? Click here.

2018 Junior Gathering Times: Helpful information and tips!

Junior Gathering Frequently Asked Questions

High School Field Trip Permission Form

Children and Teens Staff Applications

Children and Teens Registration Deadlines

May 31, 2018: Junior Gathering (infant through current eighth grade) 

June 10, 2018: High School (current ninth through twelfth grade)


Return to Children and Teens program menu.