OMDSI 2016

Programming specific to OMDSI 2016
July 17 – 23, 2016. Oberlin College

Chair’s Letter

It has arrived, the time when the 2016 Summer Institute Planning Council (SIPC) welcomes old friends and new friends to join us this summer at Oberlin College.

Our Theme for 2016 is “Covenant and Collective Action” with Matt Meyer who will guide us through the exploration of Unitarian Universalism in the sanctuary, in the house and in the streets.  Through song and rhythm, story and reflection, we’ll explore what a radically inclusive, spiritually alive, and justice centered movement of Unitarian Universalism looks like.

Summer Institute creates space to be engaged, find quiet spots for meditation, share meals with old friends, make new connections, worship and sing together, carry on traditions of tie dyeing, playing Ultimate Frisbee, making music, and eating soft serve three times a day if you like.

Morning seminars for adults range from physically active to intellectually stimulating, from spiritual to musical, educational to entertaining.   Our morning programming for children consists of child care for infants, RE programming for children preschool thru 6th grade,  Youth programming for grades 7-12 and a Young Adult program –evening activities, vespers and the pub round out our day.  All are on the website, please find us at for details.

Watch for our new and improved easy to find “Information Center” that will be in the lobby of First Church where morning worship, vespers, evening programming and our Children’s program take place.

A new addition last year at Summer Institute was “The World Café”.   Rev. Renee Ruchotzke,  UUA Congregational Life Staff, along with SIPC members facilitated “Visioning for the Future” with three sessions:  SI Culture, SI Stewardship and SI Covenant.

With feedback we received from The World Café’ and evaluations shared by the larger community, The Summer Institute Planning Council (SIPC)  has created the formation of 2 subcommittees to implement avenues for:  more transparency in how we choose leadership, how we can best plan for our future as a community while still managing the work that needs to get done to make sure that SI happens year to year and to reexamine how we manage breaches in covenant are priorities.

This will by my 31st SI and a saying that I heard all those years ago still rings true “TMTD” –too much to do… choose well and we hope to see you in July.
Liz Bright, Chair -2016 Summer Institute

Theme Speaker: Matt Meyer

Covenant and Collective ActionMattMeyer2

Unitarian Universalism is a faith of covenant and collective action.  Our shared spiritual practice informs our work in the world, and our social justice work shapes our spiritual path. This year’s theme talk will be an exploration of Unitarian Universalism in the sanctuary, in the home, and in the streets. We will look at what the experience of music has to teach us about community, the stories of our shared faith, and the how we live our values in the world. We will share the best practices for deepening worship and hear the stories of UU’s exploring new ways of living their faith in congregations and beyond.
Through song and rhythm, story and reflection (and a lot of participation!) we’ll explore what a radically inclusive, spiritual alive, and justice-centered movement of Unitarian Universalism looks like.

Matt Meyer is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist, working to deepen and expand Unitarian Universalism community through engaging worship and community organizing. As an itinerant worship leader, he has lead services for hundreds of UU congregations across the US and Canada. He is a regular guest presenter for professional gathering of UU’s, speaking on music, worship, and UU theology.

Matt is founding board member and resident of the Lucy Stone Cooperative, an intentional living community grounded in the values and tradition of UUism.

He is also a founding worship leader and the current director of Operations and Community Life for the Sanctuary Boston, a contemporary worship community.


Rev. Rose Eddington Rev. Edington has a BA from Alderson-Broaddus College (1969) with a major  in Humanities with an emphasis on English Literature; a Master’s of Divinity in Theology from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School (1973), Rochester, NY;  and a Doctor in Ministry in Feminist Liberation Theology from Episcopal Divinity School (1998), Cambridge, MA.

She was ordained to the American Baptist ministry in 1975, but found herself struggling with traditional Christian theology and burgeoning feminist theory and theology.  She served as Director of the Stamford CT Area Sexual Abuse Crisis Center and began to explore UUism, becoming Director of Religious Education at the UU Society of Stamford.  She transferred her ordination to Unitarian Universalism in 1984 and served a variety of congregations, initially in the New York-New England area, and for the past 12 years in Charleston WV.  As of January 31, 2014, she retired as co-minister of the UU Congregation in Charleston WV.

She is married to UU minister and SI 2016 chaplain Mel Hoover. To continue their commitment to justice and activism (particularly on environmental and antiracism issues), they have co-founded MelRose Ministries for Positive Transformative Change. Also, Rose is the immediate past Chair of the Board for the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition.


Scottbw2[1]Rev. Scott Rudolph has served the UU Church of the North Hills since 2011.  His ministry seeks to deeply engage joy, compassion, and spiritual growth. He states, “Joy celebrates the wonder and beauty of life while compassion meets suffering with companionship and injustice with opposition. Spiritual growth explores our connections with the Sacred, grounds us in our values, and moves us to put our faith into action.” Scott’s ministry and life are guided by gratitude, awe, and love.

Born in Chicago, Scott was raised in Bowling Green, Kentucky among roots music and beautiful landscapes. He began his spiritual exploration in the Presbyterian Church, which provided experiences he greatly values and still draws upon. He attended Hanover College in Indiana studying English and Philosophy. Scott previously worked with Colorado State University as the Assistant Director for Corporate and Foundation Relations and as a Case Manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana.

Scott received a Master of Divinity degree from Meadville Lombard Theological School, a Unitarian Universalist seminary. During seminary, he worked as a hospital chaplain at Christ Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. He served East Shore Unitarian Church in Bellevue, Washington for a year as their intern minister. Scott has led young adult programs at Foothills Unitarian Church in Fort Collins, Colorado and at First Unitarian of Chicago.

Scott shares his life with his wife Rebecca, their two children Simon and Tessa, and a mop-like white dog named Hobbuddy.  Outside of the church walls, Scott enjoys general wandering, either in the woods or in a city, dance and music, and cooking with the radio on.

christie-anderson1[1]For 30 years, Christie Anderson’s professional career was devoted to the development of affordable rental housing for Portage County’s low-income population. Now retired from her career, Christie works part-time as the manager of a food program serving Kent’s vulnerable population. While appreciative of her Protestant upbringing, Christie has embraced the liberal religious perspective of Unitarian Universalism since 2000. Christie earned the title of Commissioned Lay Leader in October 2008 following her completion of a 2 year educational program of the UUA’s Ohio-Meadville District. Upon graduating from The New Seminary of Interfaith Studies in New York City in 2011, Christie was ordained as an Interfaith Minister. Christie is active in the worship life of the Kent UU church and assists the settled minister with pastoral services.

melissa-carvill-ziemer[1]Melissa Carvill-Ziemer has served as the minister of the Kent UU Church since September, 2005. Melissa did not grow up in a particularly religious home. She became a spiritual seeker in college and that is when she became acquainted, and fell in love, with Unitarian Universalism. Melissa graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in Women’s Studies in 1995 and earned her M.Div. from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 2005. Before entering the ministry Melissa worked as a sexual assault and domestic violence counselor and educator and as a pre-school teacher. She also waited her share of tables and worked on a couple of organic farms. Melissa loves outdoor adventure, especially hiking and canoeing. She lives in Kent with her partner, Evin Carvill-Ziemer (also a Unitarian Universalist minister), their children Rylan and Owen, and their dogs, Migo and Zoey.

Morning Seminars

  • 1. Protecting Our Blue Boat Home

    Bob Mitchell

    Pope Francis has focused the world’s attention on the climate change crisis through his encyclical “Laudato Si — On Care for our Common Home”. Nations are beginning to take concrete action, but much more is needed to avert dire consequences. In this workshop we will examine the wide diversity of public opinion on climate change, the underlying science, and the likely impacts for humanity. Most importantly, we will explore how each of us can harness our talents to help transform public dialog and achieve policy changes that will preserve our Common Home — our “Beautiful Blue Boat Home” — for ourselves, our children and generations to come.

    Bob Mitchell became a member of First Church Pittsburgh in 1986. He holds BS and MS degrees in physics and a PhD in electrical engineering. He retired in 2014 following a career that ranged from high power lasers to robotic perception systems. For the past six years, he has been researching the science and politics of climate change. He is currently the liaison to Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

  • 2. Polymer Clay with a Side of Beads

    Christy Decker

    Experience the wonderful and amazingly versatile medium that is polymer clay. We’ll cover the fundamentals as necessary, and demonstrate basic and more advanced techniques based on group preference, requirement, and time. And because we can make beads, let’s plan on stringing necklaces, malas, prayer beads, bracelets, or the like. Participants will need to purchase some materials in advance.

    Christy Decker has worked with polymer clay for over fifteen years, and beads and jewelry since about 1983. She has homeschooled her three sons, taught RE for 15 years, and believes that she has a knack for instruction. She enjoys turning people on to polymer clay and making jewelry.

  • 3. Daily Practices for Nurturing the Inner Child Artist: Cultivating Creativity 2.0

    Margaret McConnell & Dawn Corley

    Building on the basic tools of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, we will be exploring new ways to move through resistance and nurture the inner child artist. Through simple projects involving art, writing, meditation, and movement we will seek to entice the inner child artist to play. We also will have projects that will give us the tools to blow through the blocks to our creative growth. Modeled on a workshop offered at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron, Dawn Corley and Margaret McConnell will offer the highlights of Cameron’s principles in a supportive, enlightening, and fun manner. No prior knowledge of The Artist’s Way, or attendance of the 2015 Workshop is necessary.

    Dawn Corley, a member and Worship Leader of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron is a writer, calligrapher, and long-time journaler who has done extensive reading of Cameron’s works. Margaret McConnell, a writer, long-time journaler, and leader of meditation groups, co-facilitated an Artist’s Way group for two years at UUCA with Dawn.

  • 4. Discover Your Wisdom with SoulCollage®

    Julie Henderson

    SoulCollage® is an amazingly delightful and profound process for self-discovery developed by author and therapist Seena Frost. More than just a creative exercise, SoulCollage is grounded in the work of Carl Jung, James Hillman and Jean Houston. SoulCollage gently enables you to hear the deep wisdom of your own inner knowing and to honor all aspects of your life, so that you find yourself becoming ever more whole, ever more at peace, and awakened to the joy of simply being your true self. This experiential seminar will give you an overview of the theory and structure of SoulCollage. Then we’ll use the rest of the week to actually engage in the process, creating your own deck of beautiful SoulCollage cards and learning a simple process to work with the collages you create to access your inner wisdom and understand the messages the images have for you. With only images, glue and your own willingness to be open to the journey, you truly can “discover your wisdom and change your world.”

    Julie Henderson, MS, LMT has a Master’s Degree in the study of adult development and aging, complemented by over 20 years working in the holistic health field. When introduced to SoulCollage it was love at first sight, and she trained as a Facilitator in early 2009. Through her business, Our Sacred Pause, Julie uses SoulCollage and other holistic modalities to help people reconnect to a felt sense of authenticity and wholeness, and supports them in the work of creating lives that resonate and reflect those deep inner truths.

  • 5. Discovering a God That Could Be Real

    Michelle Buhite

    A discussion based on Nancy Abrams’ book, A God That Could Be Real: Spirituality, Science, and the Future of Our Planet. This book is a complete game-changer in the humanist-theist divide; together we can impact the evolution of God.

    Michelle Buhite is the developmental minister for the UU Church of Amherst in Williamsville, NY. She is passionate about Unitarian Universalism as a life-saving, soul-saving, planet-saving faith.

  • 6. Advocacy for Social Justice

    Max Grubb

    Having trouble generating congregational or public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy? If you build they will come does not work for social justice causes. Effective advocacy is vital as UUs pursue important social justice issues that challenge us as advocates. This seminar will give participants an understanding of what advocacy is, what it means to be an advocate, the basic fundamentals of advocacy, and advocacy in the 21st century. During SI, participants will experience the fun of applying concepts in advocating a cause or policy concerning SI.

    Dr. Max Grubb, a Medina, Ohio native, has a doctorate in communication from Ohio University, specializing in international media and development communications and advocacy, with an outside area in political science. Besides academic experience, he has over thirty years of professional commercial, public and community media experience. In addition, Dr. Grubb has served for over eighteen years as an international communications/media development consultant for state department funded projects.

  • 7. Using Whiteness for Racial Liberation

    Jessica Halperin

    This #BlackLivesMatter movement moment is calling upon white people to organize and take action for racial justice. There are many vital and strategic ways for white folks to be involved: political education, relationship building, direct action, and more. To do so, white people need to be able to see where their power, privilege, assumptions, and cultural values make an impact. In short, we need to understand whiteness. Join us for conversations that are academic and activist, challenging and liberating. People of all racial identities are welcome.

    Jessie Halperin is a life-long UU lay leader and OMDSI attendee. She recently left her faith-based advocacy work in Washington DC, including a position with the Unitarian Universalist Association, to study at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Jessie is a young adult and likes to spend her time having adventures and collaborating towards a more just and loving world.

  • 8. American Sign Language for Beginners

    Skyler Pierce

    This seminar will guide individuals to obtain a basic foundation in American Sign Language (ASL). In addition to fundamental signs of communication, they will also learn about sociocultural factors that influence social interaction within the Deaf community, salient historical facts about Deaf Culture, and answers to questions that they may have, such as how would a Deaf parent know that their child is crying in another room? How would someone who is Deaf know if there was a knock on their door? What is the difference between Deaf and deaf? (Hint: there is one!)

    Skyler Pierce is currently studying psychology at The University of Akron. She has completed two years of sign language classes and is an officer of The American Sign Language Association on campus. She spends much of her free time at social events within the Deaf community, having hosted several events herself. She also tutors ASL students.

  • 9. The Divine Feminine in the Bible and Beyond

    Rev. Joan Van Becelaere

    To the casual reader, the Hebrew Bible may look like the manifesto of the original “Old Boys Club.” But the deeper spiritual experience behind the stories included the Divine Feminine and the clues can be found throughout the pages, if you know where to look. Early Christianities developed in a cultural sea that was awash with the Divine Feminine. And many of these cultural elements helped shape Christian worship, theology and art. In this course, we will go on a socio-historical-poetic hunt for the Goddess through the pages of the Bible and on into the Nag Hammadi documents and other early Christian heretical sources. (Please bring a Bible to class)

    Rev. Joan Van Becelaere is a Unitarian Universalist minster, Congregational Life Consultant, and Staff Lead for the Central East Regional Group of the UUA. Her previous classes at SI have included ones on the Hebrew Bible, Jesus, the women of American Transcendentalism and Trends in American Religion.

  • 10. Swing Dancing for Dummies

    Kathy Ke and Joe Meier

    If you can count to four, you can learn to dance! Kathy Ke and Joe Meier are back on the dance floor after a brief hiatus due to injury (not caused by dancing). Bring a partner and learn some basic swing dance moves; then impress everyone at the Wednesday night family dance. Class is limited to 12 pairs so we can provide individualized attention.

    Kathy Ke and Joe Meier have been married for 24 years and have been coming to SI for the past 11 years. Kathy is a Hospice Physician who has been dancing since she started walking. Joe is a Structural Engineer who sometimes confuses his left and right feet but has learned to dance in spite of this.

  • 11. Balancing Body & Mind through Yoga

    Lisa Thiel

    Discover your dosha (Ayurvedic mind/body constitution) and learn how using this tool improves your health and creates more balance and ease in your life. Each person is unique, with different reactions to life events, physical and emotional tendencies, and individual needs. Understanding our own specific body/mind constitution can help address imbalances to bring ourselves back into natural alignment with life. Through discussion and practice, we’ll work on understanding the concept of doshas, discovering your dominant dosha and how it can change depending on life situations, learning how to recognize when you’re out of balance, and learning how to regain balance by customizing your yoga practice.

    Lisa Thiel is a 500 level yoga teacher and thai bodyworker with special trainings in therapeutic approaches to practice, meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises). She has been practicing yoga and meditation for nearly 20 years and has traveled three times to India for intensive study.

  • 12. The Zen Experience

    Ven. Shih Ying-fa

    Venerable Shih Ying-Fa, Abbot of CloudWater Zendo, the Zen Center of Cleveland, will lead participants in a week of authentic, monastery-style Zen practice. Participants will be instructed in Zen seated and walking meditation, Zen chanting practice, and how to maintain Zen mindfulness in a group meditation setting. Participants will have the opportunity to experience Zen meditation practices such as koans, huatou and silent illumination. Lectures on aspects of Zen history and teachings will also be presented to provide participants with a seminary-like experience. Topics will include Zen’s origins in China, the Five Houses of Zen, and the Ten Ox-Herding Pictures. Venerable Ying-Fa will be available for one-on-one interviews with participants both during the sessions and also during off-hours. Participants who have an established meditative practice are welcome to bring their own meditation cushions, mats, etc. Chairs will also be available for those who do not wish to sit near the floor.

  • 13. Piece by Piece

    Torie Thorne

    Mosaic is the art of creating images by assembling small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other material. This accessible art form is great for “artists” and “non-artists” alike. In this workshop, you will be introduced to a variety of materials – bold, matte, shiny, iridescent and downright unique – that can be combined to make stunning mosaics. Students will come away with all the basics of mosaic making as well as more advanced techniques. With access to images to inspire, you will learn about materials, adhesives, tools, how to cut and lay tiles and glass to achieve movement and flow. Each student will be able to make a set of 4 coasters, 2 picture frames or a full size solid mosaic piece. Limited to 25 people.

    Torie Thorne is a Toledo based artist who works in many mediums but prefers glass. Mosaics became a passion for her about five years ago when she made her first piece and was hooked! She enjoys the freedom and creativity that different colors, materials, and textures allow. Torie can’t wait to share her ideas and experience with the SI community.

  • 14. The Sacred Center: Art, Breath, & Creative Movement

    Carol Comstock

    Connect to the sacred center of your body, mind, and spirit through movement, breath, and art-as-meditation. Pilates and Yoga-inspired movement and walking meditation will compliment art exploration, ultimately creating a personal “sacred center” symbol. Participants should bring a yoga mat or thick towel or blanket.

    Carol Comstock is an artist/teacher and founding member of The Labyrinth Society. She owns and operates Goods of the Spirit Art Studio and is an aficionado of “art as meditation” and body/mind/spirit movement arts, expanding her creative spirit over the last year by studying and becoming certified as a Yoga and Pilates Teacher.

Youth Program (arriving 7th grade-Completed 12th grade)

Drumming and Community

Matt Dudack’s Found Sounds

The drum is a worldwide phenomenon, with every culture having their own version of percussion music.  Found Sounds will take the audience on a virtual journey to Africa, Cuba, Brazil, and Trinidad and Tobago to show how drumming is a part of life.  Alumni of the University of Akron Percussion Program, the musicians will have the participants create percussion music and learn about the historical and cultural context of drumming, especially that of the steel pan. All youth will engage in the different styles of drumming and have the opportunity to make music together.

Theme Speaker

Matt Dudack is Senior Lecturer in Music at The University of Akron School of Music Percussion Department and is the Artistic Director of the University of Akron Steel Drum Band.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the Hartt School and a master’s degree in percussion performance from The University of Akron.

Under his direction The University of Akron Steel Drum Band has received many accolades, including Grammy and Emmy award nominations, and has performed for such dignitaries as President Bill Clinton and (then candidate) Barack Obama.  “Live at EJ Thomas Hall,” a recording with guest artists David Rudder, Andy Narell, Ray Holman, Cliff Alexis, and Pan Ramajay was nominated for a Grammy award.  “A Kiss for Christmas,” and “By Request” bring updated steelpan recordings of holiday and island classics.  The University of Akron Steel Drum Band’s most recent project, “Hammer on Steel,” includes a documentary about the origins of the steelpan and a concert video.  Besides receiving eight Emmy award nominations, it has aired across the United States on various PBS stations.  The University of Akron Steel Drum Band continues to push the musical boundaries of the steelpan art form along with bringing in the best in the field as guests including Boogsie Sharpe, Ray Holman, David Rudder, Andy Narell, Relator, Robbie Greenidge, Earl Rodney, Liam Teague, and Cliff Alexis.

Besides his duties at The University of Akron, Matt is a member of the Akron Symphony Orchestra and is co-founder of the Akros Percussion Collective, a chamber group which performs contemporary music internationally.  He is also co-founder of the 7 Mile Isle Steelband, which is on the rosters of Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio and the Children’s Concert Society of Summit County.  Besides countless private bookings, 7 Mile Isle presents concerts and workshops educating students about the history and music of Trinidad and Tobago.

Matt is also on the faculties of Muskingum University, the Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, and Canton Country Day School.  Matt is a frequent performer at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention and has premiered new works for percussion by Ben Johnston, John Bergamo, Emmanuel Sejourne, and Stuart Saunders Smith.

Young Adult Program (SI-ers aged 18-35)

YAs at SI are a diverse, growing community. Because young adulthood is a time of transition and self-discovery, this year’s Young Adult theme is all about balancing UU beliefs and ideals with living in the real world. Young Adults join the general community for most daytime activities, including meals, theme talk, morning worship, workshops, and evening vespers. They also engage in Young Adult specific activities, which include themed touch-base groups and their own worship. The themed touch-base groups offer a variety of activities that range from exploring nature to discussing what “growing up” really means, and provide a daily opportunity for first-timers and old-timers alike to meet new people. Don’t forget to bring formal evening wear for the Young Adult run Monte Carlo Night, where we run all sorts of fun games of chance to raise money for the Scholarship Fund!

For those Young Adults who want to attend but can’t afford to, there are scholarships available!

If you can’t take off work for the whole week, there is a discounted “Weekend CON” option available as well.

Early Afternoon Workshops (1:30– 3:00)

Unlike adult morning seminars, children’s RE, and youth programming where you commit for the week, afternoons at SI are more “come and go as you please.” You don’t sign up for these workshops but enjoy the offerings, or exercise, (or nap!) as the spirit moves you. Most are intergenerational and designed to be experienced by families together. Please remember to be responsible for your children during this time. Early afternoon workshops are from 1:30 to 3 each afternoon. Late afternoon workshops are from 3:15 to 4:45.

  • Children’s Choir

    Joe Schaffer

    The Children’s Choir meets 12:45 to 1:30 in the church sanctuary. School aged Children 6th grade and under are welcome to drop by to join.

  • Duct Tape

    Sara Beech

    Today’s Duct Tape has many more uses than just a tool in your toolbox. We will be creating your master pieces out of all kinds of colors and patterns. The focus of the workshop will be on the construction of beach/grocery bags, pull string backpacks, wallets and so much more. If you would like to make grocery bags, you should bring two rolls of tape in different colors or patterns.

  • Body Art

    Deb Widner

    What could be more mindfully meditative than creating a multicolored chalice which winds around your ankle? Or a beaded hair wrap in your best friend’s (or your daughter’s or dad’s) flowing locks? Join us under the trees for a peaceful afternoon of world music and body decoration.

  • It’s Game Time

    Claire Galpern and Danny Galpern

    Come learn about all kinds of outside group games to play! We will be learning and playing games that help groups get connected, have a lot of fun with each other and play hard together. We will be playing old classics and learn lots of new games. All ages welcome.

  • Tie-Dye and Un-Dye

    Nicole Hayman and Lexi Staples

    Tie Dye at Summer Institute is an absolute must. This intergenerational workshop is great for all skill levels, while being designed with beginners in mind. Join us for this fun and colorful project! Pick a pattern, freestyle dye, or un-dye a darker clothing item! Let your creativity flow with little rules or regulations! Limit two items per camper please!

  • Poetry for a Summer Day

    Dean Hazelton

    This is a workshop in reading and appreciating poetry. We will read aloud and talk about poetry on a variety of subjects from different times and poetic traditions. Some possible topics are nature; love, lust and loss; poetry by Rumi, mystical poetry and poems about poetry.

  • Play with Me

    Colleen Thoele

    This workshop is for taking a few moments to stop rushing and just play. Each day a new activity will be introduced that is designed for small children through older adults to enjoy together. Drop in and spend some time creating, connecting and playing. Create a sidewalk paint mural, paint your own SI rocks and take home a treasure box of your week at SI.

  • Chalice Jewelry

    Evelyn Sobczak

    During this workshop we will make UU chalice jewelry using various materials including shrinky dink, sculpey, beads and wire. In addition to jewelry you will be able to make wearable art, ornaments, and magnets. There will be something for all ages and abilities. Participants should bring their own chalice ideas, shark teeth (makes good chalices in sculpey), shells, beads, and lots of smiles!

Late Afternoon Workshops (3:15—4:45)

  • Ultimate Frisbee

    Connor McCrystal and Ryan Haker

    Ultimate Frisbee is one of the most popular workshops at SI with over 40 participants taking part on most days. Connor and Ryan have been playing at SI since they were 10 years old and keep coming back because they love the truly intergenerational aspect of the workshop. Participants will need athletic attire, a water bottle, and sunscreen.

  • Community Drum Circle

    Rebekah Benner

    Make a joyful noise in a free-form conversation with percussion, suitable for all ages!
    This will be a gently-led drum circle, some basic lessons, a few simple songs; with an emphasis on learning to use our musical “voices” in a group conversation! Some rattles, bells, and small drums will be available; but, if you have percussion toys to share, please bring them along!

  • Dungeons and Dragons

    John Bores and Reid Parsons

    This workshop is open to everyone in middle school and older. Dungeons and Dragons is a table-top fantasy role-playing game. The leader of the group runs a campaign, or story, for the participants, acting as their eyes and ears into the world. Dice, pencils and paper serve as the mechanics of the universe, keeping track of the player’s abilities and influencing the outcome of events.

  • Socrates Café

    J ane Dirks

    Socrates believed that all people had something to contribute to human thought and understanding. That’s why he took his philosophy “to the streets,” engaging those he met with his famous questions. In his book “Socrates Café,” philosopher Christopher Phillips develops a technique to get the practice of philosophy out of the Ivory Tower and back into the public square. Using Phillips’ methods, we will generate A Big Question every afternoon, and tackle it through lively and open discussion. Anyone with a brain (or even half!) is welcome! Participants should bring a notebook, if they would like to record thoughts or comments, but nothing is required.

  • Integration of Dance, Yoga and Tai Chi

    Nassim Mir

    In this workshop we will learn a combination of free form dance, yoga and Tai Chi accompanied with international music. Participants should bring a yoga mat, men should wear comfortable clothes, and women clothes that flow & a light scarf.

  • Sacred Song Circle

    Saunis Parsons

    Want to avoid the early crush of people waiting in line for dinner? Instead, come join us for 30 joyful minutes of spiritual and spirited singing in community with the Sacred Song Circle. This group meets from 5:00 till 5:30 every day and is open to everyone regardless of age, singing experience or musical expertise. Sacred songs come from a variety of sources and are songs with a positive message or theme like peace, love, community, and care for the earth. Bring water to wet your whistle. No need to sign up. The more the merrier!

  • Hogwarts

    Wendy Mann, Todd Packer, Special appearances by Kent Hogwarts professors, Prefects from the Kent Hogwarts David, Merlin and others..

    With guest wizards and prefects from far and wide, new activities joining old favorites, songs galore and magical fun, it will be a special Hogwarts this year. We invite you to join us on the Quest for the Invisible Chalice. We look forward to good times and as we pursue how UU principles and Hogwarts practices can help kids have fun while discovering the invisible and learning to use light for good.

    Daily activities include:


    • singing the Hogwarts’ House songs as well as some re­purposed tunes
    • ­

    • an art, craft or experiment relating to the theme of the invisible chalice
    • ­

    • physical activities to build confidence and community
    • ­

    • and, of course, Quidditch Practice

    Special events during the week include:


    • The Sorting Hat announces your house (on Tuesday with a special announcer)
    • ­

    • Making special House banners
    • ­

    • Special visit from none other than Professor Dazzleswift!

    Participants: please bring a wand (or a stick) to be decorated, a cloak or large black button down shirt that can be cut to size. (we will have limited extras)

    Children 5 and under: please bring a parent or guardian! (recommended age is 5 and older)

    Prefects please bring your singing voices to help and lead your house song!

    • Also in the Afternoon:
      Pat Lorei – Folk Orchestra
      Hal Walker – Choir
      Theme Talk Back


      Each evening’s events are planned to engage, entertain and provide relaxation for campers of all ages:

      Evening Programs

      A  CD release concert with Hal Walker/ You, You and Me

      Contra Dance

      Hymn Sing

      Small Ensembles

      Youth Coffee House

      Children’s Talent Show



      Euchre Night

      Monte Carlo


      The Pub

      From 9:30 PM onward, adults gather there to socialize, share a pub beverage, make music, play games and make new friends while reconnecting with old ones. It’s a great place to relax and hang out when the day’s events are over. This is a great time for families to utilize the Childcare Co-op. In compliance with state laws, no alcohol is permitted to be brought into the Pub or removed from the space.

      Monte Carlo Night

      This casino style event is family friendly and includes games for every age and skill level. Favorites such as Texas Hold-Em and Rock-Paper-Scissors will return alongside a variety of competitive wagering games. Win enough Nathan Money to claim a classy prize or relax with refreshments from our snack bar.

      Your first $500 Nathan Bucks will be free.

      All donations & proceeds will benefit the scholarship fund.


      A Summer Institute Tradition that defies description. If you have never encountered a PEEK experience, brace yourself for the perfect UU game. It’s a loud, fun, and quick card game for everyone, no matter what age. Everyone leaves a winner, with a prize and a smile. For veteran PEEK players, the management hopes that you will once again gladly contribute a PEEK prize for the festivities.