Since its foundation our organization has operated in several capacities and programmatic areas, but always with the mission to steward diverse learning communities and educational programs that Read more...
Since its foundation our organization has operated in several capacities and programmatic areas, but always with the mission to steward diverse learning communities and educational programs that weave together spirituality, peace, sustainability and social action.
Our programs reflect our vision of peace and justice through learning and service for people of all ages—children, youth, adults and families.
Namesake and History
All the programs at Sierra Friends Center carry the name Woolman, inspired by the life of John Woolman, a Quaker born during the 1700's. During his adult life he walked thousands of miles urging Quakers to abolish the institution of slavery by freeing their slaves and boycotting various goods made by slave labor. He worked diligently to promote peace among settlers and indigenous tribes, truly "letting his life speak."
Sixty years ago, a group of Quaker and like-minded families came together with the dream of creating a Quaker/Friends residential high school on the West Coast.
In 1958, College Park Quarterly Meeting took the fledgling College Park Friends Educational Association (CPFEA) under its care. Five years later, in September 1963, John Woolman School opened with Del Reynolds as Head of School. The school continued for 38 years until it was suspended in 2001.
At that time a steering committee met to create new programs that would carry the vision of the original founders into the 21st Century. The campus was renamed Sierra Friends Center and Camp Woolman and The Woolman Semester were born. Camp Woolman, currently in its 13th year, is a vibrant camping program modeled on the Baltimore Yearly Meeting camping programs.
The Woolman Semester was launched in the Spring of 2004. From that time until the Spring of 2016, over 300 students took part in this challenging program emphasizing peace, justice and sustainability. While programmatically successful, The Woolman Semester continued to be challenged by the high costs of running the program. The CPFEA Board decided to suspend the program after the Spring Semester 2016, and began discerning the way forward.
Our first priority was to become stable and healthy! We are grateful to the many F/friends who have supported us over this last year. We are excited to be launching two new programs: The Woolman Outdoor School and the Jorgenson School for Non-Violence!