Planning 2016 9th -12th Sept 16-18, 2016
Oh Snap! 6th - 8th Sept 23-25, 2016
JCT 9th - 11th Oct 7 - 9, 2016
Slice It, Dice It, Spice It 4th -5th Oct 21-23, 2016
Come From The Shadows 9th -12th Oct 28-30, 2016
Making Change 6th - 8th Nov 18-20, 2016
Star Light 4th - 5th Dec 2-4, 2016
Winter Song 2016 7th -12th Dec 9-11, 2016
Safety Pins and Other Symbols 6th - 8th Jan 13-15, 2017
When It's Quiet 9th -12th Jan 27-29, 2017
 Breathe, Just Breathe young adults including 11th/12th grade  Feb 10-12, 2017
When the Spirit Says Sing 4th -5th grade Feb 17-19, 2017
 Give Me Space  6th-7th  March 10-12, 2017
Thinking Inside the Box  9th - 12th  Mar 17-19, 2017 
 Getting Started 4th -5th  April 7-9, 2017 
 Orient Yourself 5th - 7th May 12 -14, 2017 
Earth Song  7th - 12th  May 26 -28, 2017 
 Inside - Outside 3rd-4th with a parent  June 9-11, 2017 



9th – 12th Conference

September 16- 18, 2016

We arrived to Powell House to a delicious dinner of spaghetti with tomato sauce. We settled into session where played various games and talked about conference topics we have enjoyed and new ones we would like to have. After that we laid down and listened to our friends stories in “news of me out of the Silence.” We enjoyed being together in free time where we got to say hello to our friends we had not seen in a while while eating a snack. We took advantage of the cool evening and full moon to walk down by the pond, where we sat in silence for a good while and listened to the night sounds.

 We woke the next day and ate frittatas and bagels. In session we broke into small groups, taking turns practicing telling our personal stories and focussing on the story teller. The listeners then drew the message that they had heard in their friend's story. In pairs, we looked at the list of conference topics from the night before and selected six out of the 20 or so topics. Then each pair paired up with another pair and made one list of six topics between them, until we had one list fo six form the whole group.

 Another free time came and went and slid into a lunch of soup and sandwiches. After lunch, we did work projects and bonded with friends. After that, we were pooped so had a long free time followed by a guided meditation led by our own Chris. After being very centered, we dispersed into self space.

 The bell was later rang for supper where we ate a garden salad, fancy rice and chicken thanks to our new chefs, Glenn and Tony. After dinner we self-assigend to small groups to start to design a conference on one of the topics we had picked out in the morning. We participated in a coffee house-style cabaret and finished off with two rounds of sardines. Then we hadsnack and went to bed after a story. We slept like logs.

 On Sunday, we woke up, made our beds and then ate a good breakfast of oatmeal and eggs. Most of us cleaned up while some wrote the epistle. We had sesison with a nice round of Molly's game in which we gave affirmations to describe a mystery person. We sang together and settled into a nice silence with some messages for the group. We finished off the weekend with the greatest lunch ever and said our goodbyes. RIP September PoHo 2016.

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Oh Snap!

 September 23-25, 2016

 6th to 8th Grade

 Friday night we drifted in from near and far. Our new attenders were welcomed and shown some of the cool spots around PoHo. After a dinner of spaghetti, meatballs and black bean balls we had session. We played “What are you Doing?” and “Standing Ovation” where success was applauded and failure ignored. Then, we did tarp games that became quite ripe with the new plastic smell and all of us under them. Once session was over we had News of Me, going into free time and Sardines. Finally we heard a story and went to sleep.

 On Saturday we had hash browns for breakfast. Then we had a name whip during session where we shared something that makes us snap. We built a stress tower in small groups. It inevitably crashed but the group did pretty well balancing our stresses. We went outside to practice fox walking and owl looking. We found that it was relaxing and allowed us to see things in the woods differently. Some of us snuck around in search of shoes during a new game we learned. We finished the morning with Frisbee practice and discovered that after repeated throws people actually threw better when they closed their eyes.

 Work projects were a snap! We prepared a bunch of green beans for dinner and put together raspberry jam s’mores for the campfire, collected sticks and set up the campfire and re-discovered the waterfall trail which had almost completely disappeared under the weeds. Rattler and miner settled us before three-way massage where the group energy went from ZING to AAH very quickly.

 Supper was pulled pork and quinoa patties with our tasty green beans and sweet potatoes. We had a peach crisp and ice cream for dessert! We played a spirited game of Giants, Wizards, Elves with sides dwindling to nearly no-one than filling up again as the tides turned. The game ended with a flying hug from one team to the other. We started the evening session with a name whip about when you notice people. Then we spent some time “Floating on the Ocean” and “Wrist Dancing” to experiment with being aware of one another. We had some role-plays around conflicts or snap moments that we had seen. There was a lot of humor and some funny moments and an awareness too of what helps when we’re upset or angry: Release, Comfort, Getting Away, Reconciliation. After a brief prep time we returned to the common room for an excellent Cabaret. A new act: a treasure hunt for Big Chin was both cleverly constructed and fun to watch unfold – definitely a crowd favorite. The evening closed with a large campfire under a beautiful starry sky complete with story telling, jokes and raspberry jam s’mores.

 Sunday started with French toast and raspberries, followed by an energetic clean-up of the youth center. We left the paper memes that sprung up throughout the weekend where they were for future groups to find. Then we played Primate Bellows. We took turns affirming one another. After a short break we returned for singing and open worship. Strombolis awaited us for lunch – The weekend having gone by in a snap!

 SNAP back to the top


Slice It, Dice It, Spice It

Oct 21-23, 2016

4th - 5th grade

We were excited to come to Powell House.  We wanted to play and fun came to us every day.  We liked building pillow structures together.  We played many games to make us happy and make us feel like we belonged.  “Streets and Alleys” was changed to “Slice It, Dice It, Spice It”.  The “Islands” game got all 24 of us together on just 4 cushions.  “Amoeba Sardines” in the dark got us all together on Friday night.  The dark building made us feel like we were dreaming.
The JCs really liked hanging with the younger kids.  We all really liked the food, the games and cabaret.  We, the 4th & 5th graders, sliced, diced, and spiced a bushel of apples (and a pile of mangoes) to make :

  • apple pie with homemade crust
  • apple sauce
  • apple cinnamon rolls
  • diced fresh mangoes.

 They were all delicious!
This weekend went by quickly.  We are sad that we have to leave and will miss the friends we are here with, but we look forward to coming back with these and other friends.  In all, Powell House brings us together and that is why we came here.

peel back to the top!

WinterSong 2016

Dec 9-11, 2016

The ending of 2016 has come far too quickly as the 7th -12th graders gathered once again for another wonderful Winter Song. Friday evening started off with a bang, literally and figuratively when a rather intense game of fruit bowl was started.  Our new chef, Tony, treated us to a dinner of baked ziti and garlic knots, after which we descended into session where we discussed the rules for the weekend, things we enjoyed putting in our mouths, and emotions.  We made up words using the letters of our names to describe emotions. We also used actual emotions to talk about how we were feeling and some of the recent adventures we went on in our personal lives. 

The next day arrived almost in the blink of an eye with a breakfast of eggs and home fries.  Session brought some pretty deep questions like “What makes you jump out of bed in the morning?” and “What can you give to the person next to you to make them happy?”  Next, we went into workshops where we made cookies and conversations.  There was also a walk, a healing circle, an improv group, peace tree decorating, and story telling.  Then as lunch came to a close, we went into more workshops.  This time we passed our time by decorating the dining room, de-vining the forest, frosting the cookies, discussing books, delving into conversations, another walk, and singing.

After that we split up for some much needed relaxation.  Some stayed for a massage where as others went to participate in a meditation with some trippy music and spirits of the north, south, east and west.  Finally, after self-space and a dinner of stuffed mushrooms and some other fancy stuff, came cabaret.  We enjoyed various talents as well as the traumatic experience (their shtick) that was the relationship of the two emcees.  After the JC skit we geared up for a cold moon-lit night walk around the freshly frozen pond, returning in time for a cheese and cracker snack before watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (original cartoon version).  For quiet time we gathered by the fire and the beautiful peace tree.  We offered anonymous affirmations to people we had seen doing nice things this weekend.  We heard the rest of the new Pooh story with Penguin and settled down for a long winter's nap, only to be awoken with the sad realization we'd soon be heading our separate ways.

Sunday seemed to come and go almost in no time at all. After a bagel breakfast and various clean up jobs, our group sat down for Molly's game, singing and worship.  Although we were all sad to see it end, this Winter Song was amazing and we can't wait to do it again.

trip by to the top, in a contemplative mode

When It's Quiet (A Silence Conference)

Jan 27-29, 2017

A quiet weekend can't start quiet.  In fact, ours started quite loud with welcomes, instructions and a dinner of home-style Italian food.  We settled into session where we broke into small groups and planned out the weekend including what personal gestures we would use to refer to each other during the silence.  After that we came back together as group and played a few games such as Mrs Mumbley.  We settled into silence after a poem during a relaxing time.

The next morning, we gathered for a silent breakfast where we were treated to bacon, eggs and hash browns.  Several of us had picked up the handouts and quietly read several excerpts about silence and its effects on the body.  After free time we joined together in session and played games such as rattler and miner, Herman, and silent pattern ball.  We split up to do work projects: clearing trails, cleaning, dusting, creating fruit platters, drawing for the brochures, and  making a photo collage of attenders.  From there, we went our separate ways to focus on ourselves during a relaxing self space.

In the times where we would have normally talked, we made due with laughter and barely stifled giggles.  At lunch especially, there were particular shenanigans.  We were even laughing through our silent yoga and  afternoon winter walk out to Evelyn's pond and back.  By the pond, in the spread out meditation that we did, it started to dawn on some that the silence took different forms, with some having would-be conversations in their heads and others noticing the physical details (from the intricacy of twigs to the presence of people).

>We came back to an exotic, bountiful arrangement of fruit for snack, from dragon- to star – to spiky ball- fruit (rambutan).  A check-in via gestures and then three-way massage, in silence with a fire in the fireplace, continued the deepness.  Following was self space where people spread from naps to puzzles to (almost) silent couch piles.

The Silence was doomed once Wink'em started with reflexive statements of “NO” ringing with a following chorus if “shhh.”  Our last meal in silence, rice and stir fry, was less silent than most would have hoped, but still held the buoyed spirits from wink'em and free time.  There continued the morning and overacted gestures of the mute, and the smiles and confusion that came with it.  A small bit of free time came before a final silent session where a great “Hello” broke us all back into conversation. We had a moment to reflect on the silent weekend.  Difficult for some but natural for others, the silence opened people to look beyond their normal conversation for more simplified communication of gestures and expressive touch, reversing the normal order of connection.

We broke out for more free time before and after cabaret.  Cabaret featured a home-made rap, a homemade dance, a home-made instrumental duo on just one guitar, and the home-brewed fun of bus stop and freeze.  Later in the night came a snack of bread and jam, along with a ring around the bonfire.  After a story of snow and a walking snowman, we shuffled up to bed.

Sunday morning started with a bagel breakfast and lots of conversation.  After morning clean up, we gathered for another session for games and to evaluate the weekend.  After singing and worship, we ate lunch and began to say our good-byes.  This weekend we learned how much we take talking for granted and that silence can really help calm the nerves.  

When the Spirit Says Sing

 4th -5th grade

 February 17-19, 2017

 We all walked into Powell House with big smiles and with great moods. Once everyone had arrived, we settled in and had a delicious meal. The meal crew that night did a fantastic job. Once everything in the kitchen was done, all of us joined together to sing a song called Singing for Our Lives. After we learned the song together we played a game called Snake in The Grass. Soon after that we were all tired and ready to snuggle in and relax for quiet time.

 On Saturday morning, the counselors asked a meaningful question. We had to answer it to the best of our ability. After everyone had answered the question, we all gathered in the common room to learn and sing another song. After we sang it as a group, we split into small groups to create new verses for the song. After we came up with new verses, everyone joined together to sing the song along with the new verses. After that happened, we made ice cream of all different kinds (even though there were only 4 flavors). It was fun because everyone could try every flavor if they wanted.

 We ran out of time writing this.

The group would like to conclude by saying:

 We played fun games.

We came here for happiness.

P.S. It was amazing.

Here are links to the songs we learned:

Singing For Our Lives

 http://music.peacefuluprising.org/track/singing-for-our-lives - Holly Near

 Rise Up Singing Struggle p. 218

 Ain't Gonna Let Nobody


 Rise Up Singing Freedom p. 58

 Never Turning Back

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPwRnS7ZEA0 Pat Humphries

 Rise Up Singing Struggle p.216

 Peace Is

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HD6pyUPhFFE Fred Small

 Rise Up Singing Peace p. 163

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  Give Me Space

Closing Thoughts
(in lieu of an epistle)
6th -8th graders

        I found my people.
    Cold Feet (literally).
    Loving community.
    I love you guys.
    A time to get together and learn.

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Getting Started

4th-5th grade
April 7-9, 2017

Two perspectives
We got to Powell House and had supper. Then we did meal crew and started doing other things. When it was time for session we gathered in a circle, did a name whip, played games and talked about ourselves in News of Me. We played sardines in the dark. Around 9:30, we all sat down and Johanna read a book, then we went to bed.

In the morning we woke up and went downstairs quietly and ate breakfast. After lunch we went outside and planted trees, played and walked. When we came back in, there was snack. After that there was a bonfire but a lot of people stayed inside. When everyone came back we made a story and wemt to bed. While we were at Powell House a lot of people did their own things like made things, made friends and played together.

Over this weekend at the PoHo, everyone here not only learned many things, and not only started the lives of many young sycamores, but grew like the sycamores will, as a community. When we first arrived and sat in a circle on cushions, we were not far apart but there was at least 6 inches between each of us. Then, as the weekend wore on, we grew closer together and our circle shrank. Though there was still the same amount of people, we sat close together and felt close. We played games that developed our teamwork and sang together before every meal. We held hands and laughed and joked and we thank PoHo for bringing us all together.

The JCs were always kind and Mike, Johanna and Anne were great to everyone. When we (the epistle writers) asked if people felt like a community here, the answer was always “Yes” from JCs to kids. We all love PoHo.





Powell House is the conference and retreat center of the 

New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Powell House
524 Pitt Hall Rd
Old Chatham,  NY
phone  518-794-8811
fax     518-794-8815
Adult Program 
Youth Program