January 28, 2013

Winter Family Overnight

Winter Family Overnight is a Quaker gathering especially for families with children in grades K-5. As the PYM website describes it: "There is multigenerational activity for the whole family, a dinner together, free time to play, bedtime stories, Giant First Day School, worship, a chance for adults to spend time with other parents, and you'll be home in time to have the time on Sunday you need to prepare for the rest of the week! Family overnight is an intentional village for the purpose of being a family of Friends."

I went with Mr. D and his cousin C, who we got a little bit of a special dispensation for (although Quakers don't really do dispensations), since she's technically a sixth grader. The posted cheerful schedules helped set a great tone, as did the beautiful and peaceful setting of Camp Onas

Program Coordinator Ben Camp kept it all going, from early introductions...

to emergency fire-oxygenation techniques... 

to Variety Show wrangling.

When we found ourselves with a little too much leftover rice,
the awesome Rich invented a new dish on the spot.
(And Lisa and I volunteered to get messy with it.)

We were happy to spend some time with the Camp Onas donkeys...

... and even happier to settle in for some cozy time near the fire.

Icicles never stop being magical.

Bill's crokinole board was a huge hit.

And children were pleased to share all of their discoveries with new friends.

On First Day, Friend Tom Hoopes led us 
in a meditative reflection on the nature of expectations,
the power of language and of attachment, 
and the elements of awareness 
("attention with intention").

We surprised ourselves by becoming attached 
to stones we'd never seen before...
and then gave them back.

It was a lovely weekend.

(There's another one in the spring.)