Inside Outside 3rd- 4th with parent Aug 26 - 27, 2017
Revolution 9th -12th Sept 22-24, 2017
Fitting In, Standing Out 6th - 8th
Sept 29 -Oct 1, 2017
 Space Aliens, Magic and Us 4th - 5th Oct 13 - 15, 2017
JCT   Oct 27 - 29, 2017 
Give Thanks and Pass the Frisbee young adults, including 11th -12th Nov 3 - 5, 2017
 From Aargh or Ugh to Ahhh 6th - 8th  Nov 17 - 19, 2017
 Move It, Move It 4th - 5th Dec 1-3, 2017
 WinterSong 7th - 12th Dec 8 -10, 2017


Inside, Outside
3rd - 4th grade with a parent
August 26 -27, 2017

We came with our worries about being included and the other people liking us.  We weren't sure what would happen, but we had heard there would be games and meeting new people.  As soon as we got inside the ACC (Anna Curtis Center), those worries we had while still outside began to go away – quickly.

Smiles, cushions in piles, and morning snacks made us feel welcome.  We started our conference with a name whip. We started getting familiar with each other and the Powell House youth program and property.  We thought about what is good to have inside us – both physical and emotional stuff.  It did not matter that we were many different ages. The kids gave deep, insightful answers to the group questions; the parents jumped into active games with abandon and joy.

We played, walked, talked and shared our experiences as we explored the building, woods and ponds.  We made our own ice cream by the pond as we swam and canoed.  We did Tai Chi and deep relaxation exercise before a self-space period of individual, quiet activities or rest.  We shared laughter during the evening cabaret and then shared creating stories around the camp fire.  

On Sunday morning, we ate omelets made-to-order and waffles before walking up the hill to Dorson's Rock.  We went slowly, noticing many intriguing rocks, plants and animals on the way.  Our chatter drifted away and we sat quietly looking out over the Hudson Valley towards the Catskills.  After awhile, we shared what we had thought about and observed before heading back down.

We closed with sharing these things that people had appreciated during the conference:

  • others helping me to have fun.
  • folks were spontaneous, funny, including people.
  • the parents engaged with other kids, kids interacting with adults in positive ways.
  • thinking about things I don't usually think about.
  • It was good to meet everyone here. 
  • I thank every kid for being my friend.
  • This was a nice intro to Powell House.  All the activities helped us let go, be goofy lower the barriers of everyday life.
  • All the kids played together, shared, and were kind.
  • I thank the whole community for making Powell House.
  • A deep appreciation for this particular group of people and their energy.
  • A great break from 'everyday' for parents.

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September 22-24, 2017

We threw ourselves into orbit at Revolution on Friday September 22 and filled our bellies with a delicious dinner of cheesy pasta. Then we settled into session and split into small groups and discussed what our lives revolve around. We participated in News of Me and basked in some free time.

We woke up on Saturday morning to a gorgeous fruit platter and some breakfast that was followed by a session with game of eclipse glasses and the sun where we tried to keep our constantly moving glasses between us and our constantly moving sun. We imagined our ideal communities (school, world, Powell House) and captured them on large sheets of paper. Then we debated whether it would take revolution or evolution to move from where we are now to where we want to be. We spun into lunch and orbited into work projects, followed by swimming. We enjoyed a fun game of wink ‘em and settled into a calming session of check-in, massage and self-space. After self-space we took a trip east for a delicious Indian-style dinner. Session in the evening involved practicing some “in-the-moment” grounding techniques, talking about talking with strangers and listening to Dylan Marron’s pod cast “Conversation With People Who Hate Me.” Cabaret followed with music and improv. We had a snack of nachos and played a game of Sardines and went off to bed.

Sunday morning we woke up, made our beds and packed our bags. Everyone came downstairs to an amazing breakfast. During session we identified possible conferences for the coming year, focused our affirmations on one lucky “molly” and had a brief but deep worship following singing. The weekend was both calming and exciting, a great way to start a new academic year.



Fitting In, Standing Out

6th -8th grade

Sept 29 – Oct 1, 2017

The theme of this conference was “Fitting In, Standing Out.” Some things we were trying to do together were make new friends, have fun and learn when it is and isn’t a good time to fit in. We also learned when it is and isn’t a good time to stand out. Everyone seems to have been expecting about the same things. When we asked people what they were expecting, they said almost identical things: “have fun, make new friends, reconnect with old friends.”

The highlights of the weekend were when everyone was coming together to play games and how everyone was comfortable with each other to do a giant cuddle puddle.

Some things we did to explore the theme of the weekend included activities that asked us about fitting in and standing out. We also think that the cabaret showed this theme, especially standing out. Some things we struggled with were paying attention especially when we split into groups.

We learned that it is okay to stand out and you should not be embarrassed. We will take home ideas about when it is and isn’t a good time to stand out.


When asked something you learned or thought about during this conference, people said:

  • the ideas we talked about in small groups.
  • about where it really is a good time to fit in or not.
  • how we grow together.
  • there were a lot of people to talk to and play with.
  • How fun it is to be in the bottom, middle and top of the couch pile.
  • School is for math and stuff, but Powell House is for learning life lessons.
  • The real rules in ping pong can also be a lot of fun.
  • This really is a space and time for everyone to connect.
  • How nice it is to be with people.
  • How much I love being here.
  • How I might apply some of this at school.


Small group notes


  • in a community like PoHo
  • when you want friends.
  • A class project
  • during a game
  • a party with duck tape suits
  • improv theater
  • you know a group of people well
  • hide & seek or Sardines game
  • being embarrassed
  • in class, in middle school
  • in trouble
  • a zebra in a herd being chased by a lion
  • when you are around good happy people
  • when you are Waldo.


  • Now!
  • You know the answer
  • airplane skydiving
  • you win nationals
  • you need to be rescued
  • during a protest
  • when everyone else is making a bad choice
  • an audition, performing
  • helping someone who is bullied
  • you have something important to say
  • to see how it feels
  • in trouble
  • when things seem routine
  • Halloween
  • in a big group, don’t try to blend in
  • when you disagree with the group
  • a school project or presentation that should be original or creative
  • when the group doesn’t like you because of who you are – Be proud of who you are!


  • people are misbehaving (trash on table, teasing someone)
  • in a cult circle
  • where others have been injured
  • when everyone is awake too late
  • in class
  • in a talent show
  • at PoHo (you can just be yourself )
  • you are with people being rude or mean
  • it is something you don’t agree with
  • people are doing illegal things
  • people are doing dumb things


  • matter of life or death to blend in
  • you make unfortunate body noises
  • you don’t have a parachute in an airplane (don’t stand out on the wing)
  • you are work being selected by a fisherperson
  • you are attacked by a corrupt wizard
  • you are a ninja
  • your feet are stinky
  • at an illegal protest
  • as a criminal
  • respecting someone else’s spotlight or opportunity
  • during class
  • Powell House quiet time
  • business meeting
  • session time
  • moment of silence
  • someone else is presnting
  • someone is irritated
  • other are being nice
  • you are in trouble

Give Thanks and Pass The Frisbee
Nov 3-5, 2017
Young Adults

Though we didn’t pass the Frisbee a lot, we continuously gave thanks in many different ways throughout this weekend.  Our first name whip of the weekend was each person describing their morning and nightly rituals.  We then broke into small groups to discuss games we like to play and conversations we woul like to have.

In both planned and unplanned small groups, conversations were fruitful, fulfilling, and warm. One conversation that stood out in particular was the fishbowl on Saturday evening which started with the query: How do you find your people after high school?

Games were lively and abundant all weekend with many laughs.  A rejuvenating walk up to Dorson’s Rock gave many a much needed release. We discussed things we’re grateful for, both mutual and individual.

After many different varieties of work projects, we bonded over making our own sushi rolls.  We partied (we mean having deep and loud conversations), making sure that Chris Koster’s last weekend as a scheduled cook was a memorable send off even if we did keep her awake.  We thank her for keeping us healthy, happy and fed all these years.  

We closed with affirmations, singing, and a centered silence out of which we shared vocal messages.  


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