Coming to Senior Conference may seem a slightly overwhelming at first, but everyone gets to know each other quickly and has a lot of fun. Whether you’re a loud and energetic person, or a quiet and reflective person, or a bit of both there is something for everyone at our events.
The first day
On the first day people will mainly arrive by train at Banbury Station (close to the event) where a coach with a few 22+s (adult volunteers) will pick them up and take them to the event at Sibford School, about half an hour away. If you’re coming in a car, then head directly to the site.
Once you’ve arrived you will generally need to find the registration area; there are always a few people around to guide you to it. There this year’s clerks will sign you in and introduce themselves.
After you’ve signed in you get to make your own name badge in the nearby foyer and create your secret friend pouch (will get back to that soon). There are usually some welcome games going on as well for the early arrivals or fast pouch makers.
As this is happening, groups are generally taken over to the dorms to deposit luggage and choose their dorm for the week.
‘Secret friends’ adds an extra bit of fun for the week, (it’s very similar to a secret Santa) everyone gets to pull a name out of hat and they then become their ‘Secret Friend’. After you get your
secret friend everyone will go round in a circle identifying themselves and what they do and don’t like, this is to make it easier for the secret friend and a good way for everyone to introduce themselves.
Often people write nice notes or gifts as well as sending hugs (if the secret friend is happy with hugs). Whatever you think they might like, usually at least one thing a day so they don’t feel left out.
The pouches you make go up on a board with your name on it so your secret friend knows where to put their gifts to you. They can range from very simple to works of art depending how much you want to work on it and how much time you have to do so.
Once you’ve done that everyone will head over to the Oliver studio next door for the introductory meeting where the Arrangements Committee (AC), made up of 17 and 18 year olds chosen the year before, introduce themselves and their role during the week. Then the AC performs a small drama skit to explain the boundaries in a fun way and introduce the week’s theme.
After that’s done the Base Group Facilitators and Coordinators (BGFCs – there are a lot of acronyms so just ask if you forget) will let everyone know which base group they are in and who their Base Group Facilitators are (BGFs).
If you’re unsure, base groups are smaller groups of around 7 or 8 people placed in classrooms around the school, each with a base group leader. This provides a smaller safe space for fun activities and discussions of the theme across the week, where you have plenty of time to get to know people well.
By the time the introductory session has finished it’ll be time for dinner, everyone will walk over together to the catering area and for the first meal of the week we’ll all sit with our base groups in order to get to know each other.
The dining area works just like a school canteen, they’ll know about any dietary requirements so you just need to let them know at the serving counter whether you’re vegetarian, gluten free etc.
Those whose first year it is at the event will go and have a newcomer meeting with some of the 22+s to answer any questions, give a brief overview of what’s happening in the week and provide any support that is needed.
For those who have been before there’ll be a bit of free-time to let the meal go down and give people more time on their secret friend pouches if they want to or just chat in the foyer.
After the newcomer meeting has finished every goes to their dorms common rooms for a quick meeting, setting boundaries, lights out time, front door codes to the building, etc.
Every evening at Senior Conference there is an entertainment activity run by the Ents (the ACs who run the entertainments) and goes on for around an hour and a half, sometimes this might be a mix of fun activities in your base groups or in groups of your choice. Usually Thursday evening is the disco night and Friday evening the talent show. If you’re not a fan of discos there are always alternative quiet activities such as playing cards.
Epilogue means a sort of conclusion, and each day at Senior Conference ends with a half hour epilogue. It is a silent Quaker meeting, where you can relax and reflect on the day. It’s an important bit of quiet time in the busy week. As it is a Quaker meeting anyone who wishes to, can speak and share something that they feel moved to do so. Sometimes the Elders (the AC that run all the silent worship) might put on some quiet, relaxing music or even on rare occasions a guided meditation by one of the 22+s.
We hope you have a fantastic time