Forever Friends

		(Southern Appalachian Young Friends)



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Southern Appalachian Young Friends

The handbook information provided below is under revision, though it remains
a good general guide for understanding our supporting adult roles.
Please use this link to see the complete current documentation for our
Adult Volunteer Application and Clearance Procedures

III. Adult Volunteers

SAYF is a program designed for Young Friends, but the SAYF community is composed of teenagers, adults and parents working together. Adult roles within SAYF include Parent Attenders, Resource Friends, Friendly Adult Nurturers (FANs), FANs in Training (FANITs), and Friendly Adult Drivers (FADs). In addition to the specific tasks they perform in support of the program, the adults in SAYF encompass the community with loving, prayerful attention, providing the sturdy container within which SAYF grows and flourishes.

A. General guidelines for adults attending SAYF gatherings in any capacity
      A-1. Be alert and attentive, but not intrusive. Our goal is to balance awareness of Young Friends activities with the importance to Young Friends of being trusted by adults. We try to be aware of where people are and what they're doing, but it's not necessary to hover or to eavesdrop on conversations.
      A-2. When participating in activities with Young Friends, be careful not to dominate.
      A-3. Be an adult, not one of the kids. We serve Young Friends best by sharing the experience and insight gained from our years, and by modeling responsible and satisfying adulthood. This does not mean that we cannot play and have fun.
      A-4. Avoid forming adult cliques. Keeping to ourselves on the fringe of teens' activities can create a sense of segregation.
      A-5. Adults must not put themselves or Young Friends in compromising situations. Showing inappropriate affection, being insensitive to an individual's discomfort with physical proximity or verbal interaction, or going off alone with one or more Young Friends are all situations to be avoided. Given the realities of the world we live in and the fact that we are entrusted with the physical and spiritual safety of Young Friends, adults in SAYF need to forestall development of situations which could provide openings for abuse. This doesn't mean that one-on-one or private conversations are forbidden, but adults should be mindful of how and where such conversations happen.
      A-6. In any situation, keep in mind that SAYF is for the Young Friends. Adults are there to serve and support. While the service is frequently rewarding and pleasurable, we are not there to get our own needs met.

B. Parent Attenders
      B-1. What is a Parent Attender?
      A Parent Attender is an adult, usually the parent or legal guardian of a Young Friend, who is present at part or all of a SAYF Retreat, but who is not otherwise participating in one of the roles of adult leadership defined in this document. Parents and legal guardians of Young Friends participating in SAYF are invited to attend as many SAYF retreats as they wish. Commonly, Parent Attenders fall into one of these two categories: observers or active participants.

Observers are parents or legal guardians who are seeking information about SAYF. Usually they are there to
        a. evaluate the SAYF Retreat Program to determine whether SAYF activities are appropriate for their child, or
        b. observe the way their child interacts within the SAYF community.
Observers do not normally take part in retreat activities such as workshops or chores, and often are present for only part of a retreat.

Parent Attenders may take a more active role in retreat activities if they wish. These are usually parents who want to do more to support the SAYF program or adults, not necessarily parents, who are testing a leading to become FANs in SAYF. They participate in many retreat activities, including workshops, service projects, worship sharing groups, and some social activities. They are included in the work groups for meal preparation and cleanup, and they help to clean up the retreat site on Sunday morning. They often sleep at the retreat facility and may be present for the entire weekend.

      B-2. Parent Attender process.
      Parents or guardians who want to be Parent Attenders at a retreat should notify the Lead FAN for that retreat or a SAYF Steering Committee member by the Wednesday prior to the retreat. If the adult has never attended a SAYF retreat before, the SAYF Administrative Assistant should be notified at least two weeks prior to the retreat so that written orientation materials can be sent; the Lead FAN or a Steering Committee member can assist in making this contact. It may not be possible to accept a Parent Attender at a particular retreat if appropriate notice is not given; this decision will be made by the Lead FAN for the retreat.

      B-3. What are the responsibilities of a Parent Attender?
      All Parent Attenders are expected to read the program material that is sent in advance of the retreat, and to register with the Lead FAN on arrival. Parents who expect to stay for more than an hour or two may be asked to fill out a medical form for use in case of an emergency.

All Parent Attenders are encouraged to attend the FAN orientation meeting at the start of a retreat. This meeting reviews the program and schedule for the retreat, the local rules for the facility, and situations where special attention may be needed, and decides on the sleeping arrangements for the adults staying on site. Inexperienced Parent Attenders are given a chance to ask questions and are paired with seasoned FANs who will help them learn the ropes. Observers may not need to attend this meeting, especially if they intend to be present at the retreat for only a short time, but Parent Attenders who want to be active participants should make an effort to be present for this meeting.

Parent Attenders do not have authority to make decisions that are reserved for FANs, such as approving changes in the program or excusing a Young Friend from a mandatory activity. Parent Attenders ordinarily do not serve on Clearness or Mediation Committees involving infractions of guidelines by Young Friends.

Parent Attenders who have a concern about a particular action or activity should bring the concern to a FAN or Steering Committee member, or consult a member of the Young Friends' Nurturing Committee.

Parent Attenders are advised to preserve a discreet distance from their own children during retreats, especially during activities such as worship sharing where their presence might inhibit a child's full participation.

Parents and guardians who have attended two or more retreats and want to continue to support and be involved in the SAYF program are encouraged to become FANs or seek another adult leadership role in the SAYF community.

C. Resource Friends
  SAYF frequently been blessed during retreats by the contributions of Resource Friends who come by during retreats for a short while to enrich the community. Resource Friends lead workshops, participate in panel discussions, share stories, music, or dance, bring food and watch over Young Friends at night so that daytime FANs can get a good night's sleep. Daytime Resource Friends are provided with the general guidelines for adults (section III.A.) and are normally in the company of one or more FANs. Night Resource Friends are provided with a special set of guidelines, and can rouse a Coordinating FAN or member of the Steering Committee if need arises.

D. FANs (Friendly Adult Nurturers)
      D-1. What is a FAN?
      Friendly Adult Nurturers take part in all SAYF gatherings. FANs are mentors and role models, nurturing the personal and spiritual growth of Young Friends, providing guidance and support during the planning and running of SAYF gatherings, and attending to the safety and well-being of teenage and adult participants in SAYF. FANs, along with the SAYF Steering Committee, coordinate the planning for the safety and success of the SAYF program. Thus, FANs are essential; recruiting and training a group of active, engaged FANs is one of the primary concerns of the Steering Committee.

One of the goals of SAYF is to develop responsibility and leadership skills among Young Friends. Therefore, FANs usually try to remain in the background, providing advice and assistance on request, pointing out potential dangers or problems before they develop, stepping forward only in case of emergency or when the program is clearly in need of rescue. Our intention is to support the Young Friends in discerning their needs and creating a program to meet them.

      D-2. What does a FAN do?
      There is no exhaustive list of FAN responsibilities or activities. FANs endeavor to do what is needed; discerning what is needed at a particular time is one of the things FANs learn to do. At every retreat, FANs do some or all of the following things:
          a. coordinate the retreat planning and preparation;
          b. monitor Young Friends' activities, structured and non-structured, and participate as appropriate;
          c. respond to questions and concerns raised by parents;
          d. act as on site registrar;
          e. provide guidance and support to the Young Friends who are coordinating the program;
          f. lead workshops and supervise work groups;
          g. assume leadership in emergency situations;
          h. initiate Clearness or Mediation Committees as needed; and
          i. attend to the safety and health of teen and adult participants, including provision of regular balanced meals and monitoring during the "lights out" hours.

FANs listen when Young Friends wish to share their thoughts, intervene in conflict situations, and strive to remember that promoting leadership skills among teens means that adults must be able to step aside and let the teens take responsibility whenever appropriate. Some situations, such as major changes in a retreat program or excusing a Y oung Friend from participating in a mandatory activity, require the explicit permission of a FAN (not an Parent Attender or Resource Friend).

      D-3. Who can be a FAN?
      Any member or regular attender, aged 21 or older, of a Quaker meeting within SAYMA (or of a neighboring meeting that sends Young Friends to SAYF) may apply to his/her meeting for approval to become a FAN. (Young adults, age 1 8 to 21, who have graduated from SAYF can become FANITs; see section III.E.) While some FANs are parents of Young Friends, it is not necessary to have a child in the program or even to be a parent in order to be a FAN. It hardly needs saying, however, that potential FANs must enjoy working with teenagers, or think that they might and want to test this leading. FANs need stamina, energy, and good listening skills. We especially look for Friends who are spirit-centered, seasoned in Quaker process, flexible, patient, caring, disciplined, and responsible. The abilities to stay up late and to function in the midst of disorder are also helpful.

      D-4. FAN approval process (NOTE: FAN & FANIT approval procedures are scheduled for revisions in 2014)
      To become recognized FANs, individuals must obtain a Minute of Approval from their Monthly Meeting and deliver it to SAYF. Different meetings within SAYMA have established different procedures for discerning whether to provide this approval; it will be necessary to check with your meeting to find out how to proceed. The approval minutes are kept on file with SAYF, along with records of which training sessions each FAN has attended. First aid and CPR training are also very useful for FANs; we are unable to provide such training but we recommend it.

We ask that Friends who are thinking of applying to their meeting for a Minute of Approval first attend major portions of two SAYF retreats in order to test this leading. (See section III.B, Parent Attenders, for the requirements for adults attending retreats; for the purpose of testing a leading to FAN, these guidelines also apply to non-parents.) Serving as a FAN is rewarding emotionally and spiritually and is often a lot of fun; it is also physically and emotionally draining and can sometimes plunge FANs into emotionally tense and challenging situations with very little warning. Friends occasionally find that it is not what they were expecting, and it's easier on everyone if that discovery is made before a Minute of Approval is requested.

Friends should inform the SAYF Administrative Assistant when they apply for a Minute of Approval to FAN. Friends who are not parents of Young Friends should do this before attending their third retreat. If six months have passed since the application was made and a Minute of Approval has not been obtained, the Friend should discuss the situation with the SAYF Steering Committee before attending more retreats.

      D-5. How are FANs trained and developed?
      A packet of information is provided to all adults when they attend their first SAYF event. The packet includes this chapter on adult volunteers, the SAYF Mission Statement, Guidelines for the Community of Young Friends, and the FAN Personal Information Form. First-timers are always paired with a seasoned FAN to help them learn the ropes. New FANs may continue, if they wish, to be so mentored for a few more retreats.

A FAN orientation meeting is held on the first night of each retreat to review guidelines, expectations, and circumstances requiring special attention, and to establish the local rules, FAN sleeping arrangements and the night-time monitoring schedule. The SAYF Steering Committee holds periodic training sessions for FANS on specific topics such as personal boundaries, health and safety issues, eldering and clearness; these sessions have been and will continue to be held at SAYMA Yearly Meeting and perhaps elsewhere.

E. FANITs (FANs in Training)
    E-1. What is a FANIT?
    A Friendly Adult Nurturer in Training or "FANIT" is a Friend between the ages of 18 and 21 who wishes to assume a leadership or elder role in the Young Friends Community. FANITs are expected to lead some group activities and workshops, assist FANs with organizing events and activities, help settle Young Friends into activities, provide a positive role model for Young Friends, and help ensure that Young Friends Guidelines are honored and respected by Gathering participants.

The Young Friends Community is a very special place for Young Friends to grow, learn, and build lifelong memories and friendships. Ongoing commitment to this community and its guidelines and processes is important to ensure its continuation for other Young Friends. SAYF hopes that dedicated Young Friends who stay involved in the community as FANITs as they reach adulthood will continue to serve Young Friends programs well into the future, within SAYMA or elsewhere.

      E-2. Who can be a FANIT?
      Any Friend aged 18, 19, or 20 who has participated in a Young Friends program while in high school may apply to become a FANIT. One year must elapse after they finish SAYF themselves before they can apply. Non-Quakers or Friends who have not been part of Young Friends are not eligible to be FANITs. The issues confronting a FANIT are troublesome enough for young adults familiar with the way the SAYF community works. It's more than FANs can handle during retreats to educate and integrate into the program young adult volunteers who have not experienced SAYF's unique culture.

A young adult Friend must apply to become a FANIT. An application form can be obtained from any Steering Committee member or from the SAYF Administrative Assistant. Young Adults are asked to consider carefully before applying whether they are personally ready for the shift from "participant" to "staff." FANITs are in training to become FANs; they are not just "somewhat older Young Friends" coming to more retreats. Therefore Young Friends are asked to wait for at least one year after they stop attending SAYF before applying to become a FANIT to allow time for this transition to take root. This new role is hard work and will present new issues ranging from how to elder a friend close to you in age to how to lead an activity rather than simply participate.

      E-3. What does a FANIT do?
      This checklist is a guide for FANs and FANITs to typical FANIT duties and responsibilities. It may be modified for a FANIT with special needs or skills or who has extensive experience of SAYF retreats as a Young Friend. The list is not intended to be exhaustive; the roles of FANITs attending any retreat should be discussed at the FAN orientation meeting early in the retreat.

A first time FANIT can:
    a. co-lead a workshop or activity;
    b. participate in Clearness Committees for Discernment;
    c. participate in other Clearness Committees if the FANIT has knowledge of the issue;
    d. lead a work group; and
    e. lead a worship sharing group (if they have participated in SAYF worship sharing as a Young Friend).

An experienced FANIT can, in addition:
    a. act as on site registrar for a retreat;
    b. lead worship sharing activities (provided they have participated previously in a SAYF worship sharing activity);
    c. lead a workshop or activity (a first timer with plenty of SAYF experience may be able to do this as well);
    d. convene a Clearness Committee for Discernment (provided the FANIT has participated in one before);
    e. assist in adult supervision of the sleeping rooms; and
    f. participate in Clearness Committees Dealing with Consequences or Mediation as an adult.

A FANIT can never:
    a. Act as Coordinating FAN at a retreat or gathering;
    b. Convene a Clearness Committee dealing with guideline breakage;
    c. Drive Young Friends during a retreat; or
    d. Violate any of the guidelines and policies for adults participating in SAYF.

      E-4. How are FANITs trained and developed?
      FANITs are provided with all the introductory materials for prospective FANs and counseled carefully about their roles and expectations on being accepted into the role of FANIT. They are included in all orientation meetings and training sessions provided for FANs.

In addition, new FANITs are mentored by Steering Committee members, who provide one-on-one guidance and support for the first few retreats. Particular topics for mentors and FANITs to work on are the need for personal boundaries between FANs and Young Friends and the process of becoming a caregiver instead of a care-reciever. Because FANITs are closer than FANS to Young Friends in age, they have at times a different perspective and can make valuable contributions and suggestions for how things are done. The relationship between FANITs and mentors is therefore expected to be a learning experience for both.

      E-5. FANIT Approval Process
      A FANIT application form can be obtained from the SAYF Administrative Assistant or from any member of the SAYF Steering Committee. The completed application should be turned in to the Administrative Assistant or a Steering Committee member along with two letters of recommendation. At least one of these letters should come from an adult in your meeting who is not a close relative, but the other can be from any adult (including a FAN or a Steering or Oversight Committee member) except a member of your immediate family.

Applications submitted will be reviewed by the Steering Committee at its next scheduled meeting. Applicants will be informed promptly of the committee's decision. If an application is not approved, the reasons will be given and, if desired, a committee member will discuss with the applicant ways to improve the application.


Last updated 2021.04.27