Yorkshire Friends Holiday School is an annual gathering for around a hundred 13-18 year olds. Each year we build a vibrant, respectful community and organise a mixture of activities – both fun and thought provoking.
We are pleased to announce that Yorkshire Friends Holiday School will once again be held at Bootham School in York, in August 2018. Dates will be confirmed shortly.
The gathering takes the form of a residential week. It is a Quaker event and most of our participants are from Quaker families or have Quaker connections in Yorkshire or in Ireland (where we have long established historic links). We welcome all participants regardless of background as we build our close community over the week.
YFHS becomes your home for a week - a bubble to escape the world at large and enjoy time with some fantastic people of a similar age.
It's my favorite week of my year. The people are amazing and I never want to leave!
Don't be fooled by the name 'Yorkshire'! Although primarily we cater for young people with a connection to Quakers in Yorkshire, we have long established links with Friends in Ireland - there is always a strong Irish contingent - and we regularly welcome people from beyond the British Isles.
You do not have to be a Quaker to come to Holiday School - for some young people, Holiday School is the first place they experience a Quaker Meeting for Worship. If you would like to know more about Quakers, please visit our links page here.
How do we build a community?
From the moment people arrive we aim to provide a warm welcome, and find ways to make people feel involved and included. Each day follows a pattern which includes Meeting For Worship, sessions, nest groups, free time, activity groups and evening socials.
Through these activities we interact and share with each other - this is especially true of nest group time, where we meet with the same small group of people each day; nest groups are lots of fun, but also provide a regular opportunity to meet in confidence in a supportive environment.
What do we do?
Each Holiday School week follows a theme (recent examples include "Senses" and "Time"), and we invite speakers from outside Holiday School to lead interactive sessions, often drawing on their own experiences. These aim to stimulate thought and discussion, often touching on issues of social justice, ethics, or how we interact with the world in a positive way as individuals.
Our activity groups are varied and depend upon what the volunteer staff are able to offer. Typically they include: music, sport, crafts, something drama or theatre based, and the newspaper. They really aren't as dry as this list makes them sound!
Free time is scattered throughout the day, with a bigger chunk each afternoon when our student helpers (recent attendees in the 19-20 age group) lay on various activities.
Our evening socials are a mix of dances, games and performances, and for many people they are the highlight of the week.
We aim for there to be something for everyone in the variety of events and activities on offer.
You can find last year's epistle here
What makes Holiday School so special?
Bonds formed at YFHS continue throughout the years, and the effects often last for a lifetime. Most HS'ers come for their first time aged 13 or 14 and then come back for each of the next six or seven years. As anyone who has been to Holiday School will tell you, it is impossible to do it justice in words. It is simply a fantastic place, full of fantastic people, each bringing a unique personality and adding to a whole that far exceeds the sum of its parts. An ex-HS'er best put it into words when she wrote:
I love you all and you really are the best friends anyone could ever have. If you are new to HS.. never leave... the friends you make here will be the closest long-term friends you will ever have. They will stay with you no matter where they are in the world for the rest of your life. xx<
Holiday School is so much more than 130 people doing stuff together for a week! (which is how you might describe it in a nutshell). We can really just urge young people to come and experience for themselves what makes it so special, because only from the inside can that truly be appreciated.