The weather cooperated with us on August 23, 2015, and we had approximately 50 people (from both Concord and Western Quarters) who came and went (as least some did) down the Brandywine Creek on inner tubes during our annual, pot-luck lunch and tubing-on-the-Brandywine event that had to be rescheduled from June 28, 2015, when a storm caused the water to be at almost flood stage. Mary Etta Clendenin and her family opened her home and creek property to our rowdy crew as they have graciously done for the last several years
Early in the morning of the beautiful spring day of April 26, 2015, twenty-eight children of members and attenders of nine monthly meetings (five from Concord and four from Western) gathered at The Cabin on Westtown School’s campus to prepare for an all-day event: ½ day of maneuvering through that school’s ropes course and ½ day of orienteering. Although children in the 3rd through 12th grades were eligible to participate, only children in the 3rd through 10th grades registered.
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In the morning the children were under the supervision and direction of Christine Costa Henwood, Westtown School’s outdoor education coordinator, and her staff. Chris started her program on the grounds near The Cabin where she had the children participate in various games that offered them the opportunity to get to know one another and build rapport. Then they all trooped to the ropes course that is located in the woods out of sight of The Cabin. There Chris divided the children into three groups. For two hours each group wended its way through a series cables, ropes and obstacles that are used to test the physical strength, agility, balance and flexibility of the participants.
When the children returned to The Cabin, they were happy and excited about their adventure where they had built up a strong appetite. A lunch consisting of grilled hotdogs (meat and vegetarian) prepared by chef Aaron Resnik (Goshen MM), peanut butter and jelly sandwiches prepared by Sarah Kastriner (Kennett MM), carrots, grapes, potato chips, pretzels, and “bug juice” helped to satisfy that appetite.
After lunch, Charlie Spadoni (Birmingham MM) instructed the children for 30 minutes on the basic skills a person needs to compete in orienteering – a competitive sport in which participants find their way to various “control points” using a map and compass. He taught them how to orient themselves using the sun, how to use a compass to orient a map, how to read the terrain features and contour lines on a map and how to judge distances. He also went over with them the rules of orienteering, how to read the control point descriptions (that include universal orienteering symbols) on the control sheet he distributed and how to register at each control point by punching the relevant punch blocks on the control sheet. He also explained to them that at each control point they would find an answer to a question about Quakerism or Westtown School that they would have to enter into their control sheet. One about Quakerism, for example was “Which one of the following is NOT a Quaker testimony? Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Commitment, Equality, Stewardship?”
Sarah Kastriner (Kennett MM) then assigned the children to teams of three except for one of four. She did it based in part on their respective ages, maturity levels and interactions during their ropes course adventure.
The teams departed two minutes apart to find sequentially up to fifteen the control points (the younger children were expected to find only the first 10) that were located in woods and fields in the northern 300 acres of Westtown’s Property. Fortunately for the children, they had a very good map to use because Mary Frank, a member of the Delaware Valley Orienteering Association, was gracious enough to walk those 300 acres, select where control points should be placed, and overlaid trails and control points on an aerial map of the property. Mary also prepared the control sheet that had the rules and control description symbols.
An adult or a student member of Westtown School’s Quaker Leadership Program accompanied each team, and they all returned within 1- ½ hours after departure (although a few unknowingly tried to get lost). By 2:45 p.m., 28 very tired children were ready for a snack of cookies and then a ride to home-sweet-home. Before they left, some of them were overheard to say that they looked forward to participating in the event next year.
There were many people involved in planning (which took six months) and putting on the event. Betsy Swan (Willistown MM) came up with the idea of having a ropes courses program. Marissa Resnik (an 8th grader from Goshen MM) working with Pat Daly (Goshen MM) and KerryLynn Resnik (Goshen MM) came up with the idea of having an orienteering program. KerryLynn and her husband Aaron were members of the team that planned the event. Pete Lane (Westtown MM) led that team and recruited Mary Frank of the DVOA to help out. Finally, Westtown School was very helpful in making their campus, facilities, and outdoor education coordinator available for the event.
Sarah Kastriner, Western Quarter Coordinator
Charles Spadoni, Concord Quarter Coordinator
On Saturday, March 22, about 30 Friends and attenders from Concord Quarter and other Quarters were blessed to hear stories, practical tips and spiritual practices that breathed new meaning into the Meeting for Worship with attention to Business. By the end of our four hours with Deborah Fisch many of us felt gathered into a spiritual location that we hadn't thought existed.
Over 30 Friends and attenders participated in Meeting for Business. Meeting approved endorsing a travel minute for Thomas Swain and a list serve purchase for Quarter business and publicity. Bruce James provided the Finance report and a process to refund Monthly Meetings that had paid for Coordinator expenses when that position was unfilled. Charlie Spadoni made his first Coordinator report and reported the results of last years Tuition fund distribution. A minute of appreciation for the Pemberton Fund's grant to support our October Visioning conference experience was approved.
The presentation after Meeting for Worship was provided by Todd Krasnai, Brigette Burger and Zac Dutton. It was a very scaled down version of the workshop experience they had at the Visioning conference in October. We generated a list of activities which Meetings could do to achieve effective in reach and outreach. These will be distributed to our various lists and posted on our website soon.
Paula Kline's report on Tom Jackson's Divestment presentation
QM hears from the Kindler's Team, a proposal for Westtown Fund support, and a Dover Monthly Meeting Divestment from Fossil Fuels.
Several months ago, Thomas Swain of Middletown Meeting, had a sense that a Quaker conference happening in Great Britain would be an opportunity for Friends in our Quarter. The Kindler's, a Quaker group in England responsible for Quaker Quest, had put together a conference titled "Visioning New Fire, A weekend conference working for Quaker Renewal", and through Thomas' connection with the group, they were making 3 slots available for Friends from our Yearly Meeting.
note: Brigitte Burger and Todd Krasnai will be reporting on their trip at the October 27 Quarterly Meeting Meeting for Business
On June 22nd, Friends from across Concord Quarter gathered at MaryEtta Clendenin's house. It was a beautiful summer day, with water deep enough for tubing!. Click below to view the photos from the event.
Meeting approved to "Grow the TEF (Tuition Endowment Fund)" over the next 3 years with an ad hoc committee was formed to support it. Also we approved attempting to send a young adult Friend to an "inreach" workshop at Woodbrooke in England in October titled "Visioning New Fire with the Kindlers" . Click that title for more info.
We were entertained and deeply moved by author Janet Olshewsky's reading from her book titled "The Snake Fence" published by FGC, a book about a teenage Quaker boy from Chester County who has experiences with violence during the French and Indian War. Janet is a very thoughtful retired English teacher who has a very engaging manner. She read us a chapter where the lead character is faced with leaving an injured opponent behind in the woods or helping him out. Very nicely done.
The children made Indian crafts relating to the same era as the Snake Fence time setting. They learned about William Penn's relationship with original settlers of the area.
About 35 Friends joined caller Dave Dobbins along with several musicians from the Thornbury Ramblers for an evening of warm fun on a very cold evening at Willistown Monthly Meeting. Many thanks to the Meeting for their support of this event.
Letters of Travel were endorsed for Thomas Swain and Melinda Wenner Bradley. Discernment on the way forward for the Tuition Endowment Fund led to an approval for a Called Meeting for Business. George Schaefer spoke to us about the services provided by Quaker Aging Resources website. Children made gift bags for home bound seniors, and the middle school group visited the Thorncroft Equestrian Center.
A highlight of our Quarterly Meeting was Audra Supplee's organizing of a middle school youth trip to Thorncroft Equestrian Center, a horse farm which provides rides and training to people with disabilities. This was the first service project of the year which we hope will turn into many. Posted below are some photos taken by Lynne Riley. Many thanks to Audra and Lynne for providing these young Friends a great experience. Click here to go to Lynne's Shutterfly album of the event.