Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

(FULL) Active Spirit

Workshop Number: 
MaryHelen Lewis, Jess Klaassen-Wright
Who may register?: 
High School and Young Adults Only
Experiential Activities: 
only full time attenders (participants should attend all week)

Experience body balancing, kayaking, fishing, archery, spinning poi, and possibly slack lining with Quakers. Challenging physical activities clear mental distractions, promote present-centeredness, and harness physical energy towards spiritual experience.  Come be vibrant in body and spirit! Activity fee: $14 CASH.  (Financial aid available). Please read online detail before selecting!

Workshop Description

Expectations and objectives: In this workshop, we hope to give participants tools to seek a healthy body, mind, and spirit. As a group we will practice challenging and entertaining physical activities that can be used as forms of moving meditation, build body awareness, and cultivate centeredness as a means of spiritual growth. We will explore the connection between physical balance and spiritual balance while having a great time together. This workshop will not make you an expert at any of physical activities listed below, but rather hopes to give you a sample of each so that you can decide what you might want to continue later on.

Our first priority is safety while we introduce these activities. We ask that participants in this workshop make an affirmative commitment to exercise care and safety. Prior to the Gathering, we will be in communication with parents of high school participants so we can be certain that everyone understands the level of physical activity involved in the workshop and the affirmative commitment to safety that we are asking of each participant.

Specific physical activities: We plan to try out body balancing, kayaking on a lake, archery (including floating targets), fishing, spinning poi, levitation wand, and possibly slack-lining.  

Recommendations for group participants: This workshop is best for people who are physically capable and/or comfortable with lots of exercise and those who are willing to try challenging physical activities.

Rough daily schedule: We will start each session with check-ins and warm-ups, move into the activity of the day, and end with smaller discussion groups, worship sharing, or debriefs about the experience.

Items to bring:

- Workshop fee: $14 CASHIf you need financial aid, please request it from FGC! There are scholarship funds so that the fee is not an obstacle to someone wanting to participate in this workshop.  

- For archery, fishing, and kayaking: Clothes (preferably close-fitting) and shoes that can get wet and muddy.  You could bring a change of clothes and shoes and a towel, just in case. No big or dangly earrings or jewelry that could get caught in the bow string. An ID and both signed liability forms. An email will come to workshop registrants with a pdf of forms.  High school registrants need to print, have parents sign the liability waiver forms (form 1, form 2) and return them to MaryHelen by snail mail two weeks ahead of Gathering.  

- For spinning poi: 2 KNEE socks, 2 small bags of 4 oz of dry rice (ziplock bags or balloons and zipties work well for holding the rice)

- Sunscreen

- Hat

- Sunglasses (preferably that stay on your head)

- Water bottle

- Snacks, if desired

Possible items to bring if you already own them (please don’t go out and buy anything):

- Hula hoops, flow toys, circus toys, unicycle, diablo. Workshop leaders and others who fly to the Gathering won’t be able to bring these, so please bring as many as you can!

Leader Experience

MaryHelen has been a rock climber (sport and trad), slackliner, does fire spinning, and hikes in the Cascades. She has raised a teen and enjoyed hosting 25 Quakers teens who travelled cross country on the Quaker train for a weekend at her Seattle home prior to the Tacoma FGC Gathering in 2005. She  She envisioned and began co-leading the Active Spirit workshop in 2015.

Jess has worked as a teen and youth coordinator at numerous Quaker gatherings and university and community events. She has also taken part in a number of youth programs in Canada, such as Katimavik and Canada World Youth, in which she planned and lead volunteer projects and group workshops. Jess has taken part in balancing workshops since she was a child and has been informally teaching balancing for the last seven years. From 2015 to 2018 she co-led balancing workshops in Western Canada and at FGC Gathering.