Young Quaker leadership programme launched

Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre has launched its augural young adult leadership programme, beginning this summer. The course is designed to develop young people’s leadership skills and authority within Quakerism and wider society. It is also a chance for Young Friends to feel confident about themselves and, especially for those who have been convinced rather than growing up in a Quaker meeting, it is an opportunity to absorb some of the ‘being Quaker’ elements that are often left untaught in meetings.

“The course will give young people a chance to reflect on what it means to be a Quaker today”, explains Michael Eccles, a member of Woodbrooke’s tutor team who also provides support for Quaker Peace & Social Witness placement programmes. “We will look at Quaker history, processes, decisions and concepts such as clearness, concerns, testimonies and what it means to follow a leading.” Woodbrooke is well placed to run this course as they have the UK’s only team of permanent Quaker tutors: in Quaker Studies, Biblical Studies, Practical Theology and Peace and Social Justice.

Michael adds: “It is a great opportunity for young Friends to think about faith and how it affects how you live your life. There will also be training in workplace skills such as marketing, budgeting and report writing.” Importantly, the group will be building a learning community among themselves and will have online facilities to help the stay in touch.

By being a participant on the course each person qualifies for substantial discounts for three other Woodbrooke courses of their choice.

As well as face to face sessions and online learning, every participant will have a personal tutor from Woodbrooke and will be encouraged to bring a project to develop on the course, whether it will be to do with Quaker service, committee participation, or writing a business plan. The idea is fairly open and it is intended to be something that the person might have been doing anyway but will explore now in a more mindful way.

The programme lasts for 12 months and begins with a 10-day residential at Woodbrooke, has a weekend away part way through and finishes with a week-long stay at Woodbrooke, during which the graduates can participate in leading on the initial course for the following year’s intake.

Participants should be aged 19-28 and consider themselves to be a Quaker – so formal membership is not a necessity. Although designed primarily for those within Britain Yearly Meeting, applications are welcomed from anyone across the Europe and Middle East Section of Friends World Committee for Consultation.

The programme costs £1,450 but no one should be put off by the cost as bursaries are available. It is hoped that organisations such as Local and Area Meetings will support participants from their meetings to take part. The first course begins on 5/8/2012.

Meetings and individuals interested in participating should contact Michael Eccles on 0121 415 6760 or email [email protected], follow YAFsWoodbrooke on twitter and join Young Adults at Woodbrooke on facebook.

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Photo: Andrew Rendle

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