Inclusive Rooming Practice for the Powell House Youth Program

Assigning labels to others causes separation between us. It allows us to make assumptions that may not reflect reality and to abdicate our responsibility to know one another more deeply.

We seek in our programming to create an environment where youth get to know and appreciate one another as individuals. This depth of knowing and being together in turn creates a vibrant and resilient community.

Our previous practice of rooming youth in men and women wings inadvertently undermines this work. We have been increasingly challenged positively by the youth to examine and modify our approach. What follows below is our attempt to do that informed by conversations we have had with youth and parents.


  • Develop trust and better experience diversity by having the opportunity to be present to perspectives different than our own.

  • Encourage us to see one another as unique human beings and to soften (or erase) the lines created by a binary view of gender roles.

  • Create a safe and inclusive space for non-binary, gender non-conforming and gender fluid youth.

What it looks like:

  • Same-gender rooms will not be separated into wings but will be interspersed.

  • We will offer an any-gender (mixed gender) room option where gender will not be a criterion for being in the room.

    • We will not room youth together in either any-gender or same-gender rooms if we know that they are romantically involved with one another.

    • Any-gender rooms will have three or more youth in them.

    • We will require parental approval for minors rooming in the any-gender rooms.

  • We will continue to room transgender folks on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with them and their parents.

  • Multi-stall bathrooms upstairs may be designated same gender during self-space until we can revamp the shower and toilet stalls in the big bathroom on the west wing. The downstairs multi-stall bathroom will be any-gender. Any one can use it.

  • There is a single person bathroom upstairs and one downstairs that have showers. Any one can use those.

  • We will encourage conversations within all rooms about modesty expectations: "What do I need and what do you need to feel comfortable and safe."

If you have questions please give us a call at 518-794-8811 ext.2 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you are interested in the any-gender option or comfortable in either any-gender or same-gender rooming,

please let us know by email or phone at least three days before the conference.








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