Southern Appalachian Young Friends
The handbook information provided below is under revision, though
a good general guide for understanding our supporting adult roles.
Please use this link to see the complete current documentation for
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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).
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:
coordinate the retreat planning and preparation;
monitor Young Friends' activities, structured and non-structured,
and participate as appropriate;
respond to questions and concerns raised by parents;
as on site registrar;
provide guidance and support to the Young Friends who are
coordinating the program;
lead workshops and supervise work groups;
assume leadership in emergency situations;
initiate Clearness or Mediation Committees as needed; and
attend to the safety and health of teen and adult participants,
including provision of regular balanced meals and monitoring
during the "lights out" hours.
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
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
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
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
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
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
c. lead a workshop or activity (a first
timer with plenty of SAYF experience may be able to do this as
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
b. Convene a Clearness Committee dealing
with guideline breakage;
c. Drive Young Friends during a retreat;
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
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
Last updated 2021.04.27