Youth Conference  Epistles  2012 - 13

Planning 8th - 12th grade Sept 14 - 16, 2012
That's the Spirit 6th - 8th grade Sept 21-23, 2012
Trees, Please 4th - 5th grade October 5 - 7, 2012
Let's Talk 9th - 12th grade October , 2012
Can It Or Not
6th - 8th grade November 2 - 4, 2012
Pop, Pop, Popping 4th - 5th grade Nov 30 - Dec 2, 2012
WinterSong 2012 9th - 12th grade Dec 14 - 16, 2012
Fantastical 4th - 5th grade January 25 -27, 2013
Really Now 9th - 12th grade Feb 15 - 17, 2013
Ark-itecture 4th - 5th grade March 1 -3, 2013
Shh...Do You Feel That 9th - 12th grade March 8-10, 2013
Mythically Speaking 6th - 8th grade March 22-24, 2013

Tuning In, Opening Up,

Drawing Together

9th - 12th grade April 19 - 21, 2013
Stretching Up, Up, Up 4th - 5th grade May 10-12, 2013
EarthSong 2013 7th - 12th grade May 24-26, 2013
Under the Stars 6th - 8th grade June 14 -16, 2013
UnWinding 2013 9th - 12th grade July 11-14, 2013



 Sept 14 – 16, 2012

 On Friday evening, everyone arrived to the smiling faces of their friends. Jacki’s spaghetti filled our stomachs and fueled us for the r4est of the night. Following supper, we had and interesting session with lots of ideas for conferences to come. The excitement of session reached a pinnacle in the Honduran Hat Game. Sardines followed snack in free time and then we collapsed.

 Saturday morning’s breakfast of eggs and bagels roused us from a sleepy state, followed by a game of “Would You Rather…” and small groups talking either about relating PoHo to the world or discussing the quote: This is what Friends are about: drawing many into one, as we search for right action in the world, both individually or as a group.

 Jacki’s home-made bread made a delicious lunch. Wink’em left everyone with rug burns and laughing faces. Frisbee fun also made people laugh and work projects made everyone exhausted. 3-way massage was relaxing, self-space was rejuvenating, and dinner was fantastic souvlaki and falafels. After dinner, we played Four on a Couch and Will You Buy My…Whatever. We chose conference topics and had a rousing cabaret.

 Sunday morning, we had French toast, cleaned up everything, played Primate Bellows, sand and entered into silent worship. After lunch, we exchanged heart-felt good-byes and wished to see each other again.

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That's the Spirit

 6th to 8th Grade

 September 21-23, 2012

 When we all walked in, everyone felt the happy spirit floating around. That night we got energized with some laughing yoga and a spaghetti dinner. Chris read us a story before bedtime.

 The next morning we did a name whip with similes. After playing games we did small group questions and breathing/focusing exercises outside. The small groups became larger groups that worked with colors, music and movement. Toward the end of the morning space invaders snatched our JCs and we had to find the wild people with the help or not of two wood spirits. After lunch the work projects commenced! And we got a LOT done. Like always 3-way massage was great! It was relaxing for those of us giving and getting massages and those of us resting and reading on the benches. Dessert of cake and ice cream started off a fantastic evening. We brainstormed conference ideas in session and put stickers on those we'd like to go to. Cabaret rocked the night with a black light and awesome skits. A glowing dance party was followed by stories from Will and bedtime.

 After wake up on Sunday, we made our beds and had a pancake breakfast. We played Primate Bellows, Molly's Game and Capture the Flag involving lots of humor, affirmations and team coordination. We closed with singing and worship with many different simple instruments. The spirit of the weekend definitely closed on a good note.

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Trees Please

 October 5-7, 2012
4th -5th grade

 On Friday, the 4th and 5th grade kids gathered at Powell House for the Trees Please conference.  We ate Jacki's delicious homemade spaghetti and meatballs.  After supper, we had a fun session and a name whip: "If you were a tree, where would you like to grow?"

During free time, we had ice cream and we went outside to look for meteors!  We saw one or two, but it was still fun.  We heard Mike's funny story about him chasing a bear and seeing a porcupine.  We also heard Tyra's good story of Pooh, Piglet, and Owl in a tree that falls over.

ON Saturday, October 6, we woke up to a wonderful oatmeal breakfast.  During that free time, pillow forts were a big thing. At session, we found out what type of tree people would be.  We discussed how trees might be created in an alternate universe.  We explored the forest and identified trees. In free time, more forts were built.

We played a bunch of games when a cold rain came at the time for work projects.  The blanket game was the best because we met new people and parents messed up their children's names.  Three way massage was a hit.  We had potatoes for supper and cabaret was funny.  Popcorn made our evening snack and then we went to bed.

On Sunday, we played Primate Bellows and gave affirmations to each person while pouring them a glass of water.  We sand sang songs, had a yummy lunch and said good-bye.

All in all we had a fun weekend.  Pillow forts were a priority, while playing sardines, wild people and Will you buy my donkey were also favorites.  Three way massage got lots of good comments as well.  When we left we knew are still always friends.

 ( Grow back to the top of the tree )

Let’s Talk

 Senior High

October 26-28, 2012

 Seeing everyone again was a joyous occasion.

 Powell House is our own special haven.

 We come here to speak our minds,

 during supper, sessions and free times.

 Listening was a topic of conversation.

 A letter from a disabled man before bed a hit sensation.

 Breakfast, a name whip, and talking about topics in groups of 3 or more.

 Work projects made us tired for “shore”

 A soothing embrace with three-way massage.

 Self-space in which some of us made a painting collage.

 We talked about fear and apprehension,

 while playing a game called the Vampire of Strasbourg in session.

 Cabaret was a whimsical musical tale.

 At bedtime we heard a story of a whale.

 A little earlier we had a campfire for all.

 Some of us dressed as Bloody Mary or princesses, looking like beautiful dolls.

 Sunday was bitter sweet

 with work crews and worship and pre-worship treat (Thanks Noah!)

 We will miss you all Dearly Beloveds.

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Can It (Or Not )

 6th - 8th grade
Nov 2-4, 2012

 This Powell House weekend was all about cans!  On Friday we arrived full of enthusiasm.  After we feasted upon spaghetti and meatballs, we had session and met each other through a new game called “Will you sit by me?”  and then heard about each others' lives during News of Me out of the Silence.  In free time, we filled room 9 with sardines and tried to keep quiet.  It worked.  Soon after, we went to sleep happy.  The weekend was in full swing.

In Saturday's session we enjoyed the Hat Game,  one to one conversations in concentric circles and dancing the Pata-Pata.  Small groups discussed what things we keep canned inside ourselves and the ways we get them out.  We cut out magazine pictures and created collages on large human body shapes.  Then we celebrated with an epic game of Capture the Flag.

The afternoon began with Wild People in the woods.  Our work projects all were about preserving food.  Many people cut up cauliflower and other veggies for pickling.  Many volunteered for the garlic gala – cleaning and peeling the piles of garlic from our garden.  A valiant few dug horseradish roots and grated them up to make a horseradish/cream cheese spread.  Will You Buy My __(whatever)__  made us think and laugh.  Three-way massage helped us relax and connect with each other.   Following self space, we had a yummy dinner, some group games and then cabaret.

Sunday came much too quickly.  Breakfast was yummy squash pancakes followed by cleaning everything and then a game of Primate Bellows.  We shared what we had done on the collages and then spread out for a journey through ourselves in a guided meditation.  Molly's  Game was fun as usual and full of affirming insights.  Singing and worship went right up to lunch and departures.

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Pop! Pop! Popping!

 4th & 5th Grade
November 30 – December 2, 2012

 On a Friday night we all arrived at Powell House for Pop! Pop! Popping!   We played name games, like Fruit Bowl, Things That Pop Switcheroo and Poppity, Pop Pop (name game).  To get to know each other better we played a popcorn grouping game.

Sardines proved to be very difficult and fun because our sardine was an expert hider and was very quiet.  To end Friday night we heard a story, gave back rubs and went to bed.

Saturday morning session split us up into small groups and had us thinking about our feelings on the holidays.  Then we learned how to make balloon ornaments covered in starch soaked string.  Before we split up though, we played a game to help us learn more names called the Blanket Game.

Work projects were delicious!  Groups made popcorn balls, applesauce, cake pops and popovers.

To calm down we had a relaxing 3-way massage followed by self-space.  After self-space we gathered together to play “Will you Buy my Donkey?” and then we had an excellent dinner made by Jacki.  Yum!   Then it was time for Cabaret.

Cabaret was filled with lots of funny skits like Bus Stop and the JC skit and wonderful music!  After getting ready for bed we danced away our energy only to have it recharged by popcorn balls and hot apple cider.  Our Saturday ended with story time and bed.

On Sunday we got up and had a delicious breakfast followed by the usual Sunday morning clean up.  Our final session was filled with more games, singing and silent worship.  We will miss our friends and can’t wait to be back for more fun!

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WinterSong 2012

 7th to 12th Grade

 Upon arriving at Powell House, we were greeted with Jacki and Chris’s delicious spaghetti.  We were able to reconnect with 80 close Powell House friends with delightful dinner conversations.  After supper we had session, breaking into small groups to create tableaus, human sculptures, snowflakes, songs and stories to then perform for the whole group.  After free time we were read an excerpt from The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens as we sleepily received and gave massages or snuggled.   After a loving huggle we all parted ways to go to beddy-bed.
We awoke to oatmeal and cereal for breakfast, followed by session where we enjoyed a good game of lap sit.  After a few laughs we split into small groups and talked about what we did and didn’t have in common. Morning workshops were a blast and included music, improv, tree decorating, cookie baking, crafts, discussions on matters of the spirit and what comes next and dismantling the playground. After a delicious lunch, we did afternoon workshops, which followed up on the morning workshops.   We were faced with a choice between 3-way massage and energetic healing.  The dress up dinner was exotic and followed by a cabaret full of talent and laughs.  Those who decorated the hope tree got to show us their creation as there was a ceremony of silence followed by singing.  After that we watched the Grinch steal Christmas (the old school version) and were read the Wild Things by Maurice Sendak.
After a good sleep we woke up to making our beds and sad feelings knowing we would have to depart soon.  After breakfast we did a lot of clean up.  At session we read this epistle and played Molly’s game.  We joyously sang songs and cuddled during worship followed by a good old hearty taco lunch.  We said our melancholy good-byes, going out into the world with a renewed sense of love for our surroundings.

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The Fantastical Epistle

 Jan 25-27, 2013
4th -5th grade

 On Friday, we all arrived, ready for another awesome weekend at Powell House.  After we went upstairs and met our roommates, we came down to dinner (yum!).  After a story about Rikiki, the blue chipmunk, we all went upstairs to bed.

On Saturday, everyone woke up at seven o'clock, some earlier, and we were excited and ready for the weekend ahead. We started the day with some delicious oatmeal home made by Jacki.  After that we had some free time while the breakfast crew was hard at work washing dishes for lunch.  During session we had a name whip and played "Will you buy my (anything)?", which included possessed bananas.  We split into small groups and got random objects that we assigned magical powers.  We then used improv skit guidelines to solve some different situations in a group.  We changed the groups around and then did obstacle courses inside that required us working together.

We had a long, frozen game of Wild People in the woods and ate a deliscious lunch of sandwiches.  Right after lunch, some of us went shoe skating or went to the amazingly frozen waterfall.  In work projects we made lucky medallions, decorated gingerbread cookies and put together herbs for our own potions.  Session followed with three-way massage.  We had a yummy meal of chicken, tofu, fires and soup. We had a hilarious cabaret followed with 45 minutes of dancing, mostly Gangnam style.  We heard about some funny characters and went to bed.

On Sunday we all woke up tired from staying up and dancing sooo long after Cabaret.  We made our beds and came down for breakfast.  After singing and worship and the last session of the weekend, we all said good-bye and went home.  We don't think anyone can wait form the next weekend at Powell House!!


 4th & 5th Grade
March 1-3, 2013

 On Friday we started with a game of Fruit Bowl, then had dinner.  We later had a session with a game of Squirrels and Trees and made up animal home ads in small groups.  We explained some rules, played Sardines and went to bed.
On Saturday, we all gathered in the common room to sing “Yellow Submarine” followed by delicious oatmeal and laughs for breakfast.   When we had session we played “Will you buy my…” and went on a walk to find animal homes.   We found lots of tracks and a surprising number of different types of homes.  When we returned, we made our own homes out of paper and other stuff.  We had a delicious lunch of sandwiches and soup.  We played Outbreak at the start of work projects then made either: noodles, dumplings or fruit balls.  There was snack from our work.  We had check-in and played Head Honcho.  After that there was three-way massage and self-space.  During supper we had potatoes, cabbage and chicken then ice cream with our homemade apple dumplings for dessert.  While dinner dishes were done we played the Honduras Hat Game and Snake in the Grass and shared the rooms we had built with each other.   During Cabaret there were two wolves, a budget cut bus stop, an invisible bench and Justin Beiber.  But who can forget…Disco Grandma and sweaty men, with too many jackets!   We had Jackie-made donuts (fastnachts) and went to bed.
On Sunday the girls woke up to the boys singing:
Two monkeys farted
The world departed
And everybody died
After fixing up the rooms, some of us wrote a response song:
The boys were singing
The girls were sleeping
And then the boys got…
We settled down with breakfast, excellently prepared by Jackie.  We did quite a bit of cleaning.  Then had session and played Primate Bellows.  We did a very nice job of affirming each other, danced the Pata Pata, sang and settled into a short but sweet silence.
After having a great lunch we left and we’ll hopefully see everyone next conference!

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Really Now

 9th - 12th grade

 February 15 - 17, 2013

 At the beginning of the weekend we came here expecting to do much more than hang out with friends and have a good time. The theme of the weekend was about beliefs and dreams. We learned aspects of a religion and how to make one, while learning about religions that have been around for years. We found out about which religions were popular and some which were unknown to some of us. We had discussions and games that contributed to making us more open and accepting to other people's beliefs. Everyone has different beliefs and has different dreams. Overall, we made lots of new friends and came out with a new perspective of beliefs and dreams.

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Shh... Do You Feel That?

March 8-10, 2013

On Friday night we all came here knowing we would have limited time for story sharing and jabbering with our friends, so we said all we needed to before bed time and silence.  We had a wonderful meal thanks to our stand-in cook, Chris K., of soup and garlic bread.  After supper and clean up crew, we had a session with a name whip where we made up a gesture that we would use instead of our names.
After that we played fruit bowl silently and got separated into small groups where we made up silly and serious poems to act out in front of the whole group.  After session we had free time and snack, followed by story time and an "Om" circle to settle into silence.  We went to bed with hugs and kisses feeling tired.
We woke on Saturday morning to the unusual silence.  After a heartening breakfast of bagels and cereal, we went into silent free time with snuggles, reading and contemplation.  In session, we greeted each person present with their "name-gesture,"  their symbol, and played an amusingly non-verbal game of Rattler and Miner as well as human knots which were surprisingly easy to work out without words.
Our work projects, including planting seeds, putting up quotes and dusting, were unusually meditative although it was slightly difficult to communicate effectively.  For the morning self space we wrote in journals, drew and napped.  A filling lunch of spaghetti squash and sausage subs fueled our long, snowy walk in the maze.  The snow, packable and edible, made a beautiful backdrop to our blind-folded partner walking exercise.  Many of us enjoyed the trust needed and snowballs thrown during this time above any other experience that day. 
After we returned, we did an invigorating session of yoga to relax and contemplate.  Our silent check-in was comprised of our symbol and gesturing how we felt.  A long three-way massage ensued with the much-appreciated fire adding warmth and tranquility to the process.  A supper of haddock, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and red cabbage with apples, like lunch, was served family style, where we had to gesture, point and otherwise non-verbally communicate in order to eat.  Although the meal crews took longer to complete silently, many enjoyed the challenge of effective communication and cooperation using no words. 
After supper, we broke the silence at last in a gathering "om, a long hesitation to be the first to speak to the group, and then sharing a token or thought from our experience.  Serenity, contentment, joy and gratitude were among the offerings.  A short but hilarious and musical cabaret truly ended the silence.  A bonfire of singing and pine tree-igniting punctuated our unusual day.  We finished up with a story and loving huggle.
Sunday we had a late start as daylight savings time caused us to lose an hour.  We made our beds and had a simple breakfast of warm muffins, then we gathered for session.  After a quick but exciting of snakes in the grass and Molly's game, we had a short break.  Then came singing and worship where we restored the silence.  We had a delicious lunch made by Jacki which we used as our last chance to converse.  After clean up, reading the epistle, and the evaluation of the weekend's events, we said our good-byes and headed home.

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Mythically Speaking

6th – 8th grade
March 22 – 24, 2013

 After arriving at PoHo, we all hung out in the game room.  Then after a delicious dinner fit for a hero,  we had session and created the resident mythical creatures that protect PoHo – the rec-triangular hallway, the fridge and other things like chess, magic carols and the couches.  Lastly, we played Sardines and went to bed.

On Saturday, we woke up to the smell of hot oatmeal and cereal (editor’s note: the cereal does not smell. )  In the session After breakfast, we made mythical creature mazes for our friends to go on quests through and seek knowledge.  We played banana tag outside before having a delicious lunch of Jackie’s amazing cooking.  Then we had a session of Hero Training for trust, dexterity, cooperation, integrity, empathy and sensitivity that included playing games like Sock in the Butt, Fireball and trust falls.  After free time we had a three-way massage, self-space, dinner and cabaret.  Cabaret included Gandalf, Harry Styles and Hitchhiker.  A dance party followed cabaret.  We enjoyed listening to “Trouble” by Taylor Swift while sharing snacks.

On Sunday, we woke up, made our beds and ate blueberry pancakes.  We all did our Sunday morning clean up jobs with our super human hero skills.  We played Primate Bellows and had singing and worship.  After an incredible taco lunch, we all said our farewells and went our separate ways.

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Tuning In, Opening Up, Drawing Together

April 19-21, 2013
9th to 12th Grade

Friday we were greeted with smiles, hugs and kisses.  We heard what was on peeps minds and listened to a story about horses with balanced genders.  Off to bed with hope in our hearts.

On Saturday we woke up to eggs, bagels and in some cases bright and smiling faces.  After breakfast we did energy work, played games and did aura work with a partner.  We felt connected.  We broke for lunch and then we had work projects with the visualization that we were doing them like eating an orange on a bike.   We had a 3-way massage and guided meditation with self-space.  Following all of that with dinner.  After we had a lovely cabaret with many songs, music and skits.  We went to bed feeling loved and full.

Sunday we woke up to the wonderful smell of pancakes, which tasted just as good as they smelled.  Sunday cleanup and bed- making preceded session in which we played Primate Bellows and Molly’s game.   A third sociometrics exercise followed asking us to find someone about whom we learned something new this weekend and to choose a person who has a quality you wish you had.  Singing and worship began to bring the weekend to a close and lunch was followed by hugs and good-byes with everyone sad to leave and already anticipating the next wonderful conference.

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Stretching Up. Up, Up

 May 10-12, 2013

4th – 5th grade

On Friday we all arrived at PoHo for our next conference – Stretching Up, Up, Up. After signing in and taking our bags to our rooms, everyone went back down stairs for a game of Fruit Bowl that included some pretty strange fruits, such as taro and other exotic things. A delicious dinner of macs & cheese and salad prepared us for session and a game of sardines. After all the lights had been turned off and the sardine was hidden, everyone converged into the darkened PoHo. With the sardine safely found, we all had a snack, heard a story and went upstairs for bed, ready for the rest of the weekend at PoHo.

 On Saturday we all woke up and had a yummy breakfast of muffins, eggs and cereal. After that some people played a JC skit game. During session we played games and talked about things, did some yoga, and then went into small groups for exploring the grounds and meeting some interesting plants.

 At lunch, we ate samwhiches and Snapple-not. Then we played wizards and gelflings, but the wizards were then banished so that the gelflings could proceed with cabaret. After watching funny skits and hearing some great music, we played amoeba sardines. We heard the story of Connor and the Leprechaun. We all went upstairs to bed.

 We woke up at 7:30 on Sunday (some at 8:00) ready to start yet another day of fun. Before breakfast we made our beds, packed and played telephone, which was organized by one of our own youth. We all had a lot of fun doing that until it was time for breakfast. We sang “Rise and Shine” and walked into the dining room to eat a delicious breakfast of vanilla-cinnamon pancakes and fruit. After breakfast, we got sorted into groups to clean upstairs, down stairs, the breakfast mess, outdoors and three of us wrote an epistle. After that, we had session where we played Primate Bellows, heard the epistle, did an evaluation and did a Wagon Wheel version of one-to-one affirmations. We went outdoors for a hard running new game we called “Gelflings Capture the Flags” that had all the younger attenders against the adults and JCs.

 We sang several songs and settled into silence for a good while. Pizza filled our stomachs for the way home and we said our good-byes.

Earth Song 2013 (XXXVIII )

 7th – 12th grade

May 24-26, 2013

 Friday night, everyone came in with smiles and they were excited for the weekend. Jacki made spaghetti for dinner. We had session where we focused on the seniors and split into small groups. In those groups we talked about our favorite place on the PoHo grounds and took the large group on a visual tour. We discussed the rules and the places not to be. We had free time followed by a bedtime story. Then we hurried into our beds to get some rest for the weekend ahead.

 On Saturday, we woke up and enjoyed a delicious breakfast followed by a session. The seniors were asked to answer:

 What they would like to be remembered for,

  • Something they will remember about Powell House, and
  • Where they are heading next.

 We will definitely remember all our seniors. They have left their marks in our memories and hearts.

 After the seniors left to plan their activities, we played the Honduran Hat game. Then we split into three smaller groups for another name whip and more group games. The games were super fun and brought many laughs. Then we re-gathered for workshops that included our Silver Bay connections and expectations, chance conversations, preparing the Pitt Hall dining room for the formal dinner, and creating a Classic Greek-style play.

 During free time a number of brave souls went swimming in the cold rain while others played Frisbee. Homemade bread sandwiched our lunch fixings, followed by another free time when some arousing games of dong pong took place. We played a huge game of Wink’em which resulted in rug burns, but also added to the good times. Two attenders organized a very wet game of Capture the Flag in the maze. We had another round of workshops that included creating cards for the seniors, authenticity (self awareness and expression), thin places (The experience when the distance between heaven and earth collapses ), continuing the Greek play, and preparing food.

 Snack first filled the table and then our tummies. We chose between three-way massage and energy healing. Both were super duper relaxing. Then everyone went into a much-needed self space. A lot of people were tired. Dinner was in Pitt Hall and everyone looked lovely. Then we all gathered in Pitt Hall for cabaret where we asked many questions with clever and educated answers, appreciated beautiful talents, became pizzas and laughed lots. It was very comfortable, happy and connected. Then we returned to the ACC where we danced our hearts out and played a variety of games, including pelvis ball. Finally, we heard a story and went to bed.

 Sunday, we woke up tired and sad to see the seniors leave. We made our beds. We circled up and sang the Noah’s Ark song before a delicious breakfast of warm bagels. We laughed and made jokes while cleaning up the ACC and Pitt Hall. After the place was sparkling clean, we gathered for session, played Will You Buy My Donkey and shared the epistle. We all walked towards the pavilion and the seniors spoke about why PoHo was important to them. We were sad to see them go but we wished them good luck on their journeys. We all had a celebration snack and left with some hugs and good vibes.

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Under the Stars

June 14-16, 2013
6th – 8th graders

 Dear Powell House Community,

This weekend we did many exciting things.  For example, we arrived very excited.   We went swimming in the pond.  We took a walk up to Dorson’s Rock after dinner asnd saw the mountains.  We splashed around the pond and soggy grounds.  We made up stories about stars.  We played exciting games such as Will You buy My Bird and Skink Tails.  Our cabaret was filled with incredible acts and stars.  Keeping up the theme of the weekend, we took a moonlit walk to the meeting house parking lot after a thunder and lightning storm.  The s’mores we got soon became a wonderful delicacy.  Saturday lunch we ate in the campground.  Strawberry tarts were our delicious deserts Saturday evening.  Saturday night we slept in tents under the stars.  We also had really good Jamaican chicken with sweet potatoes and tons of butter.  Blueberry pancakes were good too.  We had a relaxing self space that followed our satisfying and beautiful three-way massage.

Overall, this weekend was arousing success  under the stars.

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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