On the weekend of February 23 – 25, 2007, the Nurturing and Steering Committees of Southern Appalachian Young Friends met in Watkinsville Georgia to plan and nurture our community of Young Friends. This is our story, this is our message:



Thank you Friends.

I’m singing in the rain,

Just singing in the rain.

What a wonderful feeling

I’m happy again!

This lovely retreat in Fisher’s welcoming abode was just right for a beautiful; weekend in February. Woah, man...February?! This year is just whirling by. I found it was supa difficult for me to center. Even so, Quaker process, makes me all warm & fuzzy inside! Since I don’t seem to have anything charming or thought provoking to say, & in fact am having trouble producing sentences, I will sign off now. GARGLE.


                        Bonnie               (Bonnie)           (bonnie)                                          (.)      




Ever since the opening circle of my first retreat I’ve wanted to be a nurturer, and now it still surprises me that I became one. It’s so good to give back to a community that’s given so much to me, and to hang out with all of you wonderful people I’ve come to know so well. You know what else is good? Spicy Chinese food. Thank you so much Sam and Cathi and Jeff (and Will?) for letting us come to you delicious house.

I love you all and hope to see you in 2 weeks ( !!!)


Nurturing Haikus

Syllables are relevant

Count them correctly.




Thanks to Cathi and Jeff for welcoming us into their house, and for all the work that went into their house, and for all the work that went into preparing for this retreat.

Once again, young friends, have come together to create the loving community of SAYF. I appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with the nurturing committee in our ongoing efforts to balance respect for YFs autonomy with concerns of FAPs about safety and accountability to parents.

This retreat came at a difficult time for me and my family. I hope that my personal concerns did not “leak” into a tone of harshness, or an attitude of rigidity, in our discussion of climbing guidelines. If so, I apologize.

May we be well       May we find peace.         May we find joy.              May we be free.

Mark Le May









If “shoes” was the most quoted thing last time “muffins” was it this time.

But seriously now....as a lot of people will say, this retreat was very good. The business meetings seemed to go smoothly. We thought of some excellent solutions for most of the issues and got a good start on the ones we had to put off until later. We maintained the quakerly-worshipful-shebangness really well, too, which I suppose is the most important part.

Aside from the business meetings, music was made, tacos were eaten, the Time Warp was danced, trampolines were jumped, massages were given and received and a good time was had by all. AND March retreat is only two weeks away.

            See all you lovelies very soon, I hope.





Inspiration is a double-edged sword – it helps me think of things to write; (in doing so, it makes me write longer. Inspiration is what leads me to write 5 pages on tacos and ice cream. Just thought I’d blurb a bit on that. J

I got a lot of sleep this retreat.  This is a good thing, because it means I won’t be spending 10 minutes writing about food. I guess my major accomplishment this retreat was learning the ways of being a nurturer. I guess this is sort of like accepting the responsibility of looking after the non-nurturers. Like helping watch a vast flock of sheep. SAYF. Sheep.

This is a major responsibility. SAYF sheep need water, food and a place to sleep. Fortunately, Nurturers and FAPs work together to provide for and shepherd our sheep and lead them to the light.

            See you in March,




Business. Business. Business. Business Quakers. Business. Trampoline. Food. Business.  Rocky. Business. Muffins Shoes. Business. Silence. Business. Not Silence. Coffee. Quakers. Business. Murky Weather. Business. Feral Kitties. Business.

That sums it up for me. Yep.   Love Ellie

Afer: Jesus Murphy! Is the next retreat really in just two weeks? That’s so....soon.


Oh yes, and thank you Cathi and family for the use of your home. Also for the never ending pot of coffee early in the morning. It was quite divine,

Wife, I will miss you!

I have never slept in my basement before -  it’s great because you can hear the wind chimes. You all were pretty quiet & I slept better than I thought I would. Thanks for that!

Food has been the focus of this retreat for me – planning, shopping, preparation, etc. So, here is my report

            SAYFers really like cookies!

            You ate more black beans than beef in tacos

            Guacamole is very popular, we need more avocados next time

            Two boxes of pancake mix will serve 25 SAYFers.

            Sam’s Club has good frozen egg rolls, sauce included.

            Sorry I didn’t do the rice cooker right.

            The chicken was more popular than the tofu, but the veggie egg rolls were more popular than the chicken ones.

            One gallon of ice cream would be enough.

            Last – boiled eggs are very popular too.

You are what you eat! SAYFers must be pretty healthy because you like a lot of healthy food. Now about the cookies....

Have safe drives home. Thanks for coming. See you soon,


P.S. Aren’t you glad I rescued the peppermints from the rain? Take some of those home too – the vans will smell better, but your teeth will rot. One of life’s little trade-offs. Oh what to do?



The interesting thing about being in a musical every year during high school is you always seem to have one of the songs stuck in your head later. I truly don’t mind having them in my head, because I usually love the music. This time I kind of brought it on myself, considering I listened to the sound track of “The Secret Garden” several times last week. Music, especially when I am or have played it, brings a sort of comfort to my life. If it is loud or involves simply electric guitars and drums though, it simply gives me headaches. I’m not sure why I just said all that, but it was what was in my head when I first received this clipboard.

Seeing all you again was wonderful One of the most memorable things in this retreat for me was the massage chair, and everyone’s reaction to it. I still remember coming downstairs last night during dessert and seeing Laura sitting in it. The moment I came in she started giggling. I couldn’t stop laughing. Also, lying on the trampoline next to Winona taking pictures of us. Those are such silly pictures, if only my camera batteries hadn’t died, I’d still be taking them. I don’t feel I did as well with clerking as at the last nurturing retreat. I haven’t been feeling great all weekend, so by the end I was really having trouble thinking straight. I think we got several useful things done, but I also think we needn’t have discussed some of the topics as much as we did. Jimmy made my day yesterday when he made the Freudian slip of the “no sleeping guidelines”. I give Jimmy a schriftlich hug. Wow, schriftlich is written in german, and I have no idea why that was what came into my head when I was trying to think of written. I love you guys and feel very lucky to be part of this Quaker community right now. I had a rough two weeks and this really helped me calm down and stop worrying so much.

All my love that I can possibly give, because you deserve it more than me,


Hey Guys,

I’m not sure how much we did. It seemed to me like we all had the same opinions about the issues brought up. Rocky Horror was cool, and so was having committee outside. I think I ate too much this morning though.

                        See ya,


PS Next retreat is my last.




This was a classic SC/NC retreat:

-        Sitting for long hours of discernment

-        Camaraderie

-        Listening

-        Open minds and spirits

-        Some change, some affirmation

-        Beautiful environment

-        Good food

-        Much gratitude to our hosts Cathi and Jeff for all the hard work and opening their home to all of us.





Dear SAYF,

            Thank you all so very much for this wonderfully long retreat. I had a nice time talking to the FAPs and enjoyed the closeness of the nurturers. I hope that I can give back to the community as much as you all have given to me.

There is a feeling of sadness as SAYMA approaches as another group of seniors will be leaving but I am very happy to have soent this weekend and many others with you.

            Love, Winona





Sunday morning Blank

Blue jeans, clashing texture

Long night alone

Late movie

Damn quakers didn’t wake me up

Sayfville is well on sleepy morning,

FAP nose hairs long and dry,

No. 2 pencil ~ Sam


After spending most of the day in separate meetings, it was wonderful to come downstairs last night and hear what the nurturing committee had been working on. I felt like you had a wonderful sense of the community’s needs. I also felt a sense of togetherness as we worked on a few lingering issues. I wish more people could see how well this group of Young Friends takes care of itself and reaches out to the wider community. You are all a part of something very special I can’t wait to give our yearly report to SAYMA in April and tell them all the great things going on in SAYF.

            With Love,

                        Mark Wutka



Che-che-check it out:

This was a super productive meeting. Young Friends were able to mobilize & move out into the nice weather & ply around with our agenda items. It was very engaging & revealing to explore our agenda items through separated group activity & then wider group discussion. The process brought clarity to the worship with attention to business, as well as bringing us out of a drab state of mind.  I feel we also centered down better & the meeting was conducted in a more worshipful tone. In the future I would like to see more engaging ways of addressing the agenda items.

As for the joint meeting, I feel that the steering & nurturing are on different pace. There seems to be stronger will to trust the teens at sayf by the nurturers & a greater concern by the faps & steering. I’m not saying either one is right, they’re just different. I really appreciate Jimmy for clerking the second meeting.

I had a lot to say, partially because I felt the integrity of the community was being threatened by all the concern with what parents will think. Not to say we shouldn’t disregard parents, but I felt that we could have compromised a valuable aspect of sayf just to avoid possible conflict. I think the only way to avoid conflict with parents is to communicate with them. If we make a guideline for every possible danger or risk that a sayfer could encounter, I suppose that would work too.

As for all you wonderful people, there’s oh so much love I get from you. I feel so comfortable & present right now, the recent mishaps in my life seem so far away. Thank you for this.

With all my love,


p.s. props the Fishers & Watkins for letting me stay in your beautiful home & taking care & feeding us.

p.p.s. It’s been two weeks since I last saw you was that it?

            - pie




I was it part of your meetings this weekend, but I had the pleasure of being part of your community. You have created an amazing, wonderful community for yourselves – a radical love and acceptance. I hope to take the spirit of your community with me as I return to my world and come a little closer to fully accepting all those I encounter. Thank you for this time with you.                    Jennifer


I got some thank you’s I want to say.  First, of course, a big thank you to Cathi and Jeff and Sam for letting us come and invade their whole house. That is a BIG thing to do. Sam, you did a great job being in charge of snacks.

Next, thank you to the Steering Committee for being soooooooo supportive of me.....not only as an ‘employee’ but also as a person. I love my job and I love the opportunity to be able to spend a weekend with such a fine group of nurturers and steerers.

I thank Mark LeMay for his thinking on how to keep all of us safe and healthy and I thank Conrad for that wonderful image of 2 circles, with the adults in the outer circle holding in the Light the inner circle of Young Friends. Although we were all tired, it seemed to me that that discussion last night was a fine moment of good Quaker process.





I never brought anyone to SAYF other than myself. People I’ve dated said it sounded nice. Some said it sounded crazy. Some boring. Some too scary. But of all the people I’ve told about SAYF, I’ve not brought one in the 5 years I’ve been coming. I assume everyone here was brought to SAYF. Your best friend told you how great it was. Or maybe your lover told you to come. Or a parent decided you didn’t get out enough. Whatever the case, I suppose we were all brought here by something called “Spirit”. SAYF came to me at a time when I was socially awkward and very uncomfortable with myself. But through whatever “Spirit” is, I was able to evolve into the type of person I enjoy being. Yes, SAYF is becoming less “spiritual”, I guess. But I can feel the Spirit in this community getting even stronger. My friend Sam brought me to my first retreat. It was in Chapel Hill (my hometown) but I still remember how nervous I was. I saw how well people knew each other and I told myself that I didn’t belong. I’m so glad I was wrong. Sam shared SAYF with me. I have yet to repay him. But I really wish I could have passed on the favor to a future SAYFer.

            - Jimmy





At the start of this weekend, our agenda seemed long and tedious. However, as we worshipped and came together over each item, the day seemed to flow smoothly and quickly. Alone I had no answers, but in our group, the Spirit moved and words came, mingled together, and issues were resolved.

I feel blessed to be able to work with a wonderful group of Nurturers. This is a responsible group of Young Friends who I think are making SAYF retreats better than ever. Thank you for your dedication and your willingness to pitch in. Thanks for sharing your lives with me.

Thank you Cathi, Jeff and Sam for the use of your wonderful home. Thanks to you I am rested and spiritually refreshed.




“Hold Casey’s feet in the Light”.

Well lets start with how many times i have fallen asleep or got tickled! This was a good retreat. The meeting was ok but I prefer the fun retreats with wink involved. Alise I really hope you feel better! The creek is pretty yet I can’t see sitting near it with a bunch of wild SAYFers quoting movies and stuff. I enjoyed hanging out with all of you. I wish my sister was a nurturer (however you spell it) but then again she would be sleeping the whole time. Now back to the tickling....Casey, Phorest & Winona I am never trusting myself to sit next to ya’ll while I’m bored or something! The tickling must end here! Sleep! I really need some sleep! The meeting wore me out big time! Austin please dye your hair green! It would look reli cool and I could call you Max! just kiddin but I miss the afro! Now you have to change your screen name on aim! Well, I’m guessing that this is going to be the end of this reli long paragraph: my older sister Chrissy says hey!


            Samantha T

P.S. the calling me Sam thing is confusing us all!

PPS Sam where is the awesome cookies at?!?




                        SC/NC February ‘07




The bells on the back porch gong

I will carry you with me, in the pockets

of my oversized lavender dress

as I garden, the seeds will fall into

the ground, effortlessly I will keep

learning from your gifts,

Warming my hands in these pockets,

I will flutter, the winds of your

guidance there, as I step through

this lifetime,

rains will pass. Clouds will gather,

we will greet again

in the company of Spirit

grown inside some more

in the silence we share

I will remain home


            ~ Laura Grace Norlin

“As I go down in the river to pray, studying about that good old way....”. Thank you for teaching, your words this weekend come from me, a way lost memory long ago when I was your age: speaking the gosspil, the ways you listened inward, the chances you take, you witness your light to me; reminding me of who I have been as a young friend and who I am becoming. Thanks for keeping me consistent, for calling to that old part of me I hope to always hold, for echoing that part of me back & keeping me present to your Truth.


I’m a FAD this weekend. I should have shared this at welcoming circle, but last weekend I buried my little brother. I also learned that one of my nieces was going to be married and another neice is with child. You breath in, you breath out. Life is too precious for regrets but there is always time for sadness and sorrow. (I love all my nieces so very very much).

I haven’t slept well since my brother died because whenever I’d wake up I’d think of him. But this weekend I slept like a baby. I dreamed all of us were going to play a game and I needed to collect all of the things I haven’t done and all of the things I have done badly and we bowled these things down a bowling alley.

But to get to the game I had to climb a metal ladder that was thousands of feet in the air. It took a very long time because at each step I had to face my fear of just being there and then I had to face my fear of taking the next step.

It was so good for me to be with you all this weekend.





My hand trembles with

Haiku not yet written

Now it has begun

(eat staining acid

Rust squeaks in an older drain

Cut and infect well).





Editors note:

One of the tasks the nurturing committee had at this retreat was to write a few lines about SAYF for teens in our smaller Monthly Meetings. We will include it in a letter to them inviting them to SAYF. Several Nurturers met and composed the following (which was read as part of our epistle sharing):


SAYF is a Quaker Teen Community

Working with adult leaders in unity.

Decisions are made by Youth consensus.

Leaving behind all social pretenses.

We have guidelines preserving respect.

SAYF loves new friends; we never reject.

You’ll always remember the people you meet.

We hope to see you at the next retreat!