About Woolman

Our vision, mission and values


A future where engaged communities are stewarding a peaceful world, a more equitable society and a healthy planet. 


Woolman seeks to both inspire and to prepare individuals to work for peace, justice, and environmental sustainability, and to deepen their personal and spiritual growth. 

Continuing its six-decade legacy, Woolman offers diverse educational and enrichment programs at the Sierra Friends Center campus, a hub for Quaker values. 

  • Woolman Programs: Transformative workshops, camps and retreats for people of all ages, in groups or as individuals
  • Sierra Friends Center: A special place where guests can study, practice, reflect and renew as they are immersed in nature, with simple accommodations, meeting spaces, and a working farm that provides fresh organic food.

We are grounded in the Quaker belief that there is that of God in all of creation reflected in a loving relationship with the land.  We are guided in our work by core values of silence, simplicity, nonviolence, truth speaking, service, and a belief in the human spirit.

Woolman at Sierra Friends Center is a place where everyone experiences radical acceptance for who they are, is treated with dignity and respect, and who is surrounded by the physical, mental and spiritual healing power of nature.

Woolman History

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 Coastand purchased a 300-acre, historic cattle ranch in the Sierra foothills, and in 1963 opened the first Quaker residential high school west of the Mississippi.  John Woolman, a Quaker born during the 1700s whose work served as the inspiration for the school’s naming, was most known for walking thousands of miles urging Quakers to abolish the institution of slavery by freeing their slaves and boycotting various goods made by slave labor. Woolman also worked diligently to promote peace among settlers and indigenous tribes, truly “letting his life speak.” John Woolman School offered students academic instruction in the Quaker tradition of peace, justice, simplicity and a back-to-the-land lifestyle popular in the ‘60s.  The school campus, called Sierra Friends Center, includes a working farm and 44 structures: dormitories, staff residences, and administrative and teaching facilities.  The residential school operated until 2016.  Since then the site hosts outdoor educational programs and summer camps, and retreats and as a community resource.  Today, Woolman at Sierra Friends Center is growing each year as our programs connect more people with our work and mission.