Chair’s Letter

The temperature outside is in the thirties, a veritable heat wave compared to the last month. It’s supposed to snow tomorrow, which is absurd. Punxatawny Phil not only saw his shadow back in February, but I think he just saw it again. Let’s face it, winter looks like it is never going to end.

And yet, there is hope. The First Sign of Spring has been seen. No, not a singing robin. Not the Good Humor man. The real First Sign of Spring happened on April 1 – Summer Institute registration is open

Hope is what this year’s Summer Institute is about. Hope that, together, we can defeat the climate change that is threatening the world. Our Theme Speaker, Dr. David Orr, will be talking about what we can do. Many of our workshops will deal with this threat. Of course, other workshops will deal with other serious issues, such as Restorative Justice, and the legalization of marijuana. And some of the workshops are just for fun.

Your Summer Institute Planning Council has worked hard for the last few months pulling all of this together. We’ll continue to work hard, up until Closing Ceremonies on July 14. We hope that you’ll join us in working hard, because otherwise, SI can’t come together.

The event is made up of a thousand little jobs, all of which must be done by volunteers. That seems easy enough, but sometimes it doesn’t happen. Every time someone doesn’t make it to a work shift, there are problems. If the volunteer who runs the elevator at the dining hall doesn’t show up, then someone with mobility issues, who depends on that elevator, has trouble getting to where he or she is eating.

Then there are the newcomers. The SI experience can be confusing to someone who has never been here before. Old timers must step up and help them. And newcomers must be willing to ask for help if you need it. Everybody who attends SI must pull together, or it won’t work.

Excuse me, I think I was getting a little too serious there. Yes, SI is a group project, one that all of us, old timers and newbies alike, have to work at, but we should never lose sight of what the outcome of SI is supposed to be – SI is supposed to be fun!

So, have a great time, people.

Bruce Kent
SIPC 2018 Chair

Theme Speaker – David W. Orr

David W. Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor, Environmental Studies and Politics Emeritus and world-renowned environmentalist.

David is widely sought-after speaker and the author of eight books, including Dangerous Years: Climate Change, the Long Emergency, and the Way Forward (2016) and Hope is an Imperative (2010). He has a long track record of working tirelessly to create a sustainable, just and prosperous world. David helped launch the green campus movement in the 1980’s, and then came to Oberlin where he led the effort to design, fund, and build the Adam Joseph Lewis Center at Oberlin College, which was named one of “52 game-changing buildings of the past 170 years” by the editors of Building Design +Construction. More recently he helped to launch “The President’s Climate Action Project” to develop a one-hundred day climate plan for President Obama and spearheaded the effort that lead to the City of Oberlin’s carbon neutrality commitment and Climate Action Plan. David is a long-time member of the UCC First Church of Oberlin.

2018 Morning Seminars

  • 1 – Get F.L.Y.! (Fitter, Leaner, Younger)

    Christa Champion

    Would you like to regain your youthful daily energy levels? Do you want to feel better, move more easily, and get rid of some of those nagging aches and pains you’ve been carrying around lately? Wouldn’t it be nice to touch your toes again? If you need some motivation to get up off the couch and get active, then this workshop is for you! We will:
    1. Review the science behind the powerful anti­aging effects of exercise.
    2. Learn basic nutritional information to improve your everyday eating habits for better long ­term health.
    3. Practice simple and functional exercises that you can do without joining a gym, and that will improve your posture, strengthen your movements, and increase your flexibility, while simultaneously reducing joint pain.
    No prior experience or fitness level is needed, and we will not be doing killer workouts each morning (you can do those on your own in the afternoon!). We will spend a good part of each meeting learning & discussing concepts, and the remainder of the time learning & practicing various stretches and exercises. Participants should dress in loose comfortable clothing and be prepared for a little light exercise each day.

    Participants should bring: Wear loose comfortable clothing and sneakers. Bring a notebook and pen.

    Christa Champion is an athlete, an educator, and a life­long learner. For nearly thirty years she has been a physical educator and basketball coach at the collegiate and scholastic levels; she currently teaches PE and helps coach the track team at Concord Academy in Massachusetts. Champion holds a Master of Science degree in Exercise and Sport Studies from Smith College, and occasionally works as a private health and fitness consultant.

  • 2 – Zero Carbon Summer Institute!

    Bob Mitchell and Cindy Frantz

    Are you looking for the most effective ways to really make a difference on climate change? Do you wonder how important is it to buy a hybrid car, or turn down the thermostat, or stop eating meat? This workshop is for you! In the workshop, we will focus on the carbon footprint we produce during our week at Summer Institute. How can we reduce that footprint – or even make it zero?
    We will learn how to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions associated with our activities at SI. We will also learn how to apply that knowledge to understanding and reducing our carbon footprints at home during the rest of the year. Finally, the workshop will explore actions and policies we can support as citizens who are concerned about the growing impacts of climate change.

    Participants should bring: Their interest and curiosity

    Cindy Frantz is an environmental psychologist and activist who has taught at Oberlin College for 15 years. She belongs to the Oberlin Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and has attended Summer Institute every year since 2010.
    Bob Mitchell retired in 2014 following a physics and engineering career that ranged from high power lasers to robotic perception systems. For the past seven years, he has been researching climate change science, impacts and solutions. He belongs to the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh and has been attending SI with his family since 1998.

  • 3 – Thai Yoga Massage

    Lisa Thiel

    In this workshop we will learn…
    ­ Basic techniques of healthy touch and massage
    ­ Some traditional Thai Yoga Massage sequences
    ­ The art of being present with and for another
    ­ The importance of being both giver & receiver
    BYOP…or not (bring your own partner). Work with someone you know or we will pair up while there. Suitable for most as postures can be adapted to accommodate restrictions, but is best suited for those with at least a beginner’s exposure to yoga.

    (Thai Yoga Massage is a meditative massage that takes place on the floor with fully clothed participants. The giver assists the receiver’s yoga postures and applies some traditional massage techniques along with stretching the body and relieving tension in joints. It is practiced with full presence to establish an atmosphere of metta ­ the Buddhist term for compassion.)

    Participants should bring: Yoga mat and blanket; plus pillows or bolsters as needed to allow both comfortable sitting and lying down on the floor. Wear flexible yoga­ type clothing daily.

    Lisa A. Thiel E-­RYT500 has been practicing yoga and meditation for over 20 years and teaching for 12. She specializes in working therapeutically with those who have chronic conditions. Lisa is a bodyworker in the art­forms of Thai Yoga Massage, Thai Reflexology, and Jin Shin Jyutsu, and has over a thousand hours of training in yoga, philosophy, pranayama and meditation. Her passion is helping others develop a relationship with their own selves and inspiring self­ care practices for all stages of life.

  • 4 – Relaxing and Rejuvenating Yoga Retreat

    Maggie Comstock and Jeremy Brauning

    Ever wanted to learn Yoga? Already a practicing student? Just interested in what all the yoga folks are talking about? Great! Join certified yoga instructors Jeremy Brauning and Maggie Comstock for a calm and uplifting experience. In this workshop, they will explore the different styles of breathing, yoga poses, and guided imagery. This workshop encourages all ages and levels to experience the beautiful art that is yoga.

    Things participants should bring: Yoga mat, water, and smiling faces

    Jeremy Brauning and Maggie Comstock have been life­long UUs with a friendship that blossomed at SI two decades ago. They learned at a young age to be peaceful and kind to everyone and both love to be able to teach this through yoga.

  • 5 – Climate Change­­ Connecting through Collage

    Mary Schinhofen

    Many of us don’t think about the reality of climate change or its consequences. Our reactions are ambivalent, confusing, and often hidden. Designed as a way to connect with our emotions surrounding climate change, this course will afford an opportunity for participants to explore and express their feelings about the challenges we face in the future. For the first four days, we will work on two collages- ­­one expressing our hopes and one expressing our fears. On the fifth day, each of us will talk in class about the pieces we have produced, sharing our concerns and vision. With the consent of the artists, we will then put the pieces on display for the entire SI community to view.

    Participants should bring: An apron, scissors, old magazines or advertisements suitable for
    collage work, a stiff acrylic brush approximately 1″ wide for glue, a jar for water, and paper towels.

    Mary Schinhofen is a long­time member of First Unitarian Church in Pittsburgh, where she has led collage workshops as well as other art­ related courses. She is particularly fond of collage because of its impact and immediacy and believe that it is an art form particularly suited to the exploration of our inner selves and, because of its simplicity, accessible to everyone.

  • 6 – Mindful Connections

    Stephanie Romero

    Mindful Connections is a workshop that will help participants experience various mindfulness meditation techniques allowing them to build emotional intelligence skills, mindful communication techniques, and various resourcing and resiliency building skills. Participants will also explore the importance of developing self­ care strategies and practices, which will help to increase compassion for self and others.

    Participants should bring: Something to take notes with.

    Dr. Stephanie Romero has working to bring her mindfulness and meditative practices into her own personal and professional life for nearly 15 years. She now is the Executive Director of Awaken Pittsburgh where she brings mindfulness programs to helping professionals, educators and youth.

  • 7 – Restorative Justice Practice Skills for you, your church, and your life

    Kim Diana Connolly

    Restorative justice (or restorative practices) steps away from a traditional model of justice (involving punishment by authorities under set rules) and instead focuses harm that has been done to people and relationships. RJ creates a space were a harmful situation can be explored in a safe setting, where those who have been harmed are part of the process, and seeks restoration through inclusion and reintegration. RJ can happen alongside or in lieu of other processes. Restorative Justice practices have been embraced by many in UU faith as aligned with our principles and worthy of adoption in some form for our faith and our churches. In fact, RJ has been adopted as an approach by SI’s youth, and was explored in some depth as part of the 2017 SI experience. This workshop will open with some background on the RJ movement, including exploring some of the fundamental texts, then will move into active encounters including circling. It is designed for participants to take away new skills they can use in their own congregations, with their families, friends, and/or workplaces, and throughout their own lives.

    Participants should bring: Open hearts and something to take notes with if they want.

    Kim Diana Connolly teaches people to solve problems. By day, she is a law professor specializing in clinical law (where students work for real clients). By night, she is a single mom to two UU youths and an active church (through the UU Church of Amherst NY) and community volunteer. Kim is trained and in the process of certification as a restorative justice practitioner.

  • 8 – Art as a Form of Meditation

    Michele Tarsitano-­Amato

    As Utilitarian Universalists, we live out our principles within a “living tradition” of wisdom and spirituality, drawn from sources as diverse as science, poetry, scripture, and personal experience. – UUA website

    In 2017 we experienced Art as a form of Meditation that focused on the 7 principles. This year, let us focus on the 6 sources. What do we draw upon to live out our principles? As Rev. Kathleen Rolenz said, “Throughout history, we have moved to the rhythms of mystery and wonder, prophecy, wisdom, teachings from ancient and modern sources, and nature herself.” We will use Rev. Kathleen Rolenz book – Sources of our Faith, to guide each day’s art meditation.

    Art has power to connect to one’s inner self, and seeing that expression connects one individual to another. This is why art is so important at all stages of life, and is essential to the second half of our lives. The act of art making promotes wellness of mind and spirit. This 5 day workshop will provide participants a chance to reflect through art making on the UU 6 sources. Each day individuals will start with chalice lighting and a review of one of the sources. Participants will use the multimedia collage to reflect upon the source. The last 20 mins of each day will hold a reflection upon images and how they relate both the source and one’s inner spiritual journey. Join us for expressions of self through art.

    This program is a combination of my years of training as an art therapist and my UU spiritual journey. The goal of the group is to bring together an opportunity to explore self expression through the art making process and reflection upon that process. The subject of focus for the art self­ expression is the book by Rev Kathleen Rolenz – Sources of Our Faith.

    Art has the power to speak the unspoken.

    Participants should bring: Odds and ends art supplies they like to work with ­ fabric, yarn, gel pens, collage images, etc….

    Michele Tarsitano-­Amato, holds a Masters in Art/ Art Therapy from Ursuline College. She is an Art Therapist Registered ­ Board Certified. She has been a member of West Shore UU Congregation since 2002. Her passion is helping older adults with cognitive loss live their most resilient life.

  • 9 – Dazed and Confused? Conversations about the Legalization of Marijuana for Parents

    Karen Jepsen

    The structure of this workshop will center around 5 questions (1 each day) parents might consider to be important talking points when addressing the legalization of marijuana with their families. This is NOT a platform for political opinions or people who are interested in swaying the views of others. This is a safe space to have meaningful dialogue about questions and concerns as our local laws change and social norms are impacted.

    Karen Abel Jepsen is a parent of 2 teens and has worked in the substance abuse prevention field for 20 years. She has worked with elementary through high school aged students in primary prevention as well as court diversion interventions. She is passionate about helping young people and those who love and support them navigate difficult topics such as this.

  • 10 – Artistic Hand Embroidery

    Kim Homsher

    Design your own artful embroidery while learning stitches, design tips, pattern transfer techniques, and framing methods. With the knowledge of a few easy stitches you can create trendy, quirky, and heirloom pieces. We’ll explore lush color combinations, color blending, and fabric options. Join me for fresh perspectives on embroidery, hands on instruction, inspiration, and resources. Enjoy a little slow time as we practice this relaxing, centuries­ old meditative art.

    Participants should bring: Nothing.

    Kim has been embroidering since her aunt taught her Candlewicking and “Chicken Scratch” techniques over thirty years ago. Since then she’s explored and completed pieces in Blackwork, Drawn Thread, Ribbon Embroidery, Surface Embroidery, Knotwork, and Whitework.
    She’s currently having fun creating her own designs and “free­styling”, making it up as she goes.

  • 11 – Creating with Polymer Clay

    Christy Decker

    Explore your aesthetic and have fun with this remarkably versatile and easy ­to ­use medium. We will examine basic to advanced intermediate techniques ­ such as, millefiori, surface treatments, veneers, stamping, moulding, vessels, stenciling, creating faux natural materials, and inclusions ­ and their applications for decorative and functional artwork and adornment. In past years, we’ve made pens and pencils, buttons, light switch plate covers, beads, earrings, sculptures, chalices, brooches, pendants, candlesticks, and vessels ­ to name a few. I’d like this seminar to be a maker’s delight!

    Participants should bring: Polymer clay and extraneous supplies. Leader will email participants with details.

    Christy Decker is long time UU, teacher, SI’er, and a polymer clay enthusiast with 15+ years experience. She is keen to share the awesome possibilities of this medium. Christy believes in the dynamic relation between making art/personal expression and spiritual growth.

  • 12 – Right Here, Write Now

    Nancy Boutilier

    Join poet Nancy Boutilier for a writing workshop that will focus on generating new work. No prior experience is necessary! This will be a low ­stakes, high energy, process­ oriented workshop in which you will learn ways to tap into your natural creativity, be playful with language, and tell your stories. In addition to providing quiet time to write, each meeting will include examples and explanation, as well as step­ by ­step writing exercises or a general prompt. The workshop is appropriate for all levels, from complete beginner up to experienced writer. The workshop lean is toward poetry, but prose writers and even songwriters will find there’s words enough to go around. One of Nancy’s favorite motivational quotes is “An artist is someone who finishes things”—after taking Nancy’s workshop, you will go home an artist.

    Participants should bring: Participants should bring whatever they like to write with: pen or pencil, loose ­leaf paper, notepad, notebook, or journal. Laptops are also welcome, but there will not be a printer available. There will be daily handouts, so a pocket folder or 3 ­ring binder to keep papers organized might be useful.

    Nancy Boutilier has been leading formal and informal writing workshops on campuses and community centers for decades. She is the author of According to Her Contours and On the Eighth Day Adam Slept Alone, both from Black Sparrow Press and both finalists for the Lambda Literary Award in poetry. Nancy holds an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop. Her writings have appeared in a variety of magazines, newspapers, and journal, and most recently, Nancy’s poems have appeared in the LGBTQ literary journal “Bloom” and and the US Air Force Academy’s “War, Literature and the Arts.” She teaches at Concord Academy.

  • 13 – Men’s Groups in UU Congregation

    L.D. Moore

    A Community of Men, a guide to Men’s Programming in Unitarian Universalist Congregations will be the primary resource and source of information about forming a men’s group. The guide also presents basic principles for conducting men’s groups and will be discussed and used while facilitating actual group interactions. Other resources will be Rev. Tom Owen­-Towle’s books, A Circle of Men. Gatherings, small group ministry for men. And Moore and Gillette’s book on male Archetypes.

    Participants should bring: Themselves, their wonderings, openness to share and listen to themselves and each other.

    L.D. is a retired school psychologist who has experienced personal growth groups and trainings with the Living School, the Mankind Project. as well as facilitating the men’s group at the Oberlin UU Fellowship among others.

  • 14 – Good Vibrations ­ Healing Drum

    Rebekah Benner

    Share your voice through the drum. No experience needed. Drum rhythms and songs will be taught along with shamanic and trance drumming for personal introspection and self­ healing.

    Participants should bring: A pedestal type drum ­ ashiko, djembe, along with other drums, rattles, bells and percussion instruments. Blanket and small pillow, if you need them for laying on the ground during some journey drumming.

    Rebekah has been facilitating drum circles for over 25 years, for area communities, outreach shelters and health agencies. She is an Interfaith minister, on-­call chaplain to area hospitals and the Veteran’s Administration , founder of Terra Amma Spiritual Center in Akron, and uses crystal singing bowls in weekly sound vibrational healing sessions. She is also a member of the Ethical Metalsmith Guilde and creates adornments from recycled metals, fair trade beads and gems.

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

  • Children’s Choir

    Joe Schafer

    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.

  • Zentangle: Discover the Artist Within

    Judith Montgomery

    Zentangle® designs are repeated patterns that when combined, create beautiful art. You will be successful at Zentangle no matter how artistic think you are (or aren’t!) as each pattern is taught step by step.

    Tangling helps some people to focus on what they are hearing and it helps others to tune out what’s going on in their environment. As it can be very meditative, it can help one to calm and center. Looking at a finished piece of Zentangle art, one can feel a sense of accomplishment and awe AND creating Zentangle art can add a lot of fun to one’s life! Anyone can do it!

    Judy Montgomery is a retired school librarian who didn’t consider herself an artist until she took a Zentangle class from a friend. She attended her first Zentangle class in March of 2012 and loved it so much she went to Rhode Island in August 2012 to become a Certified Zentangle® Teacher (CZT)!

  • Folk Orchestra

    Pat Lorei

    For instrumentalists with some music reading experience (about middle school level, give or take). Folk orchestra will provide music for the adult vespers services during the week of SI, and possibly other performances as well. We try to “mix it up” for the benefit of the SI community and musicians by trying a variety of types of tunes: traditional folk, ethnic tunes, free form, jazz, and (not limited to) Beatles, to fit with the flow of the evening worship services. Music selection suggestions from participants are always appreciated and considered – and sometime used depending upon service themes and energy level of leader.

    Pat Lorei is a not-yet retired human services worker (Program Specialist, 28 years), SI Folk Orchestra leader (circa 20 years) and musician in “wedding band” The Mar-Vels and acoustic band Bus 17, as well as helping with tunes at the UU Congregation of Erie (PA).

    What participants should bring: Bring your musical instrument and a folding music stand if you have one. Pat will need to know if you have an instrument other than the usual C-Bb-Eb-bass clef notation, so he can write out the notation as needed.

  • Duck Tape

    Sara Beech

    At the Duck Tape workshop, you will be creating your masterpieces out of all kinds of patterns and colors. The workshop is on construction of pull string backpacks, beach bags, lunch bags, wallets and many more items. Duct Tape is not just a tool in your toolbox anymore.

    Sara Beech have been creating and fabricating all kinds of pieces out of Duct Tape for years, and has a vast knowledge of how to construct many things.

    Things participants should bring: We will supply duct tape in basic colors and patterns. If you would like to make grocery bags, you should bring two rolls of tape in different colors or patterns.

  • Art in the Afternoon

    Natalie Isvarin-­Love

    Let’s do some arts and crafts together. Everyday, materials will be provided to decorate your name tag, make prayer flags that can be strung together at the end of the week, and paint rocks. In addition, there will be a new project each day such as making cards and art with rubber stamps and dot paints, creating mini­banners, beading, decorating cloth bags and whatever else I come up with and find in my stash of art and craft supplies. We’ll just have fun creating and making friends!

    Natalie Isvarin-­Love is a fiber artist who also likes to dabble in book arts and journaling, watercolors and whatever else strikes her fancy. She is a member of First Unitarian Church of Cleveland in Shaker Heights and the mother of two very creative and artistic youth.

    Things participants should bring: Nothing, all supplies will be provided, unless there is something they want to share or incorporate in their projects.

  • Body Art

    Deb Cannon

    Humans have used many techniques and materials to beautify their bodies over the ages. Come enjoy a continued tradition at Summer Institute, as we play with temporary ways to decorate ourselves and each other. There will be temporary tattoos, hair color and many other fun things to play with.

    Deb Cannon is a long time SIer, this will be her third year running Body Art. She lives in Columbus where she runs a daycare and plays for a living.

  • Rocks of Love

    Susan Roscigno

    Spread the love by decorating rocks either to hide for others to find ­ or to keep for yourself. Many different types of materials will be available including paint and various painting tools, fabric, glue, stickers and glitter. Instructions, samples and ideas will be available but folks are encouraged to be creative and come up with their own patterns and designs.

    Susan has been active in her local rock painting/hiding group for about a year and has been crafting for most of her life. Some of Susan’s painted rocks were available at the SI Bookstore last summer.
    Things participants should bring: Clothes that they don’t mind getting paint on. Their own rocks (if they have them ­ but we’ll have plenty!)

  • Replenish the Earth and Subdue It: The Earth, The Environment and the Biblical Tradition

    Rev. Joan VanBecelaere

    The biblical prophetic tradition has had an enormously positive influence on the movement for environmental justice. At the same time, the bible has been used to justify a host of destructive policies, practices and perspectives that have put our earth in jeopardy. What are the roots of this conflict? We will look at how it has evolved throughout the centuries and shaped different views in our larger society.

    Mon: In the Beginning: Genesis and the creation of the world
    Tues: A Land of Milk and Honey: the Exodus tradition and the roots of environmental liberation theology
    Wed: Desolation in the Land: Isaiah, Jeremiah and the prophetic tradition
    Thurs: The Kingdom of Heaven: the parables of Jesus and the New Testament
    Fri: A New Heaven and a New Earth: apocalypse, end times and the environment

    Rev. Joan VanBecelaere is a UU minister and the Executive Director/Administrator of UU Justice Ohio. Through her work with UU Justice Ohio, she has expanded her knowledge of Climate Justice. She has a deep appreciation of the Hebrew bible and the progressive, liberative and justice elements found in the scripture tradition. She lives in Columbus OH with her spouse, Jerry Wagenman, and two lovely felines, named after Hebrew Bible prophets and kings.

  • Water Play

    Carolyn Stevens

  • Socrates Café

    Leo Nagorski

    Socrates Café is a movement that was started by Christopher Phillips, a philosophy professor who became disenchanted with the current state of philosophy. He wanted to take philosophy back to its roots when Socrates engaged in philosophical discussions with all classes of people in ancient Athens. Phillips, like Socrates, believed that philosophical thinking could be beneficial to individuals, the community, and the body politic. It can also be fun!

    We will discuss one big question every day, contributing our own unique perspectives. All you need is an open and curious mind and a desire to share your opinions. In other words, this is tailor made for UUs!

    Leo has attended more than 22 SIs. He has been a UU for 42 years. He was a member and facilitator for the Pittsburgh Socrates Café for 11 years.

Late Afternoon Workshops (3:15—4:45)

  • SI Choir

    Hal Walker & Vanessa Vesely
    This year promises to be the SI choir’s best year ever! Hal Walker has been busy writing, arranging and seeking SI friendly choir music. This is not you’re average church choir. This is SI choir 2018! We are ready to bring summer camp choral music to a whole new, fun dimension. All are welcome. “Unleash the Beauty! We are SI CHOIR 2018!”

    Music director at the UU church of Kent, Hal Walker returns to Summer Institute for his 21st year of music leadership. Hal’s true passion is melody, harmony, rhythm and building community through music. Vanessa Vesely is the accompanist at the Kent Church.

  • Coloring for Grown­Ups

    Gina Phillips
    Come spend a little time remembering how to color between the lines… or not, as you prefer. Coloring is the perfect artistic endeavor for those of us who don’t consider ourselves artistic, as well as for those who are. Choose a design page from flowers, mandalas, animals, abstract design, and other options. Then choose a a coloring utensil from colored pencils, gel pens, and markers, or any mix of these. I’ll put on some tunes and we’ll color like it’s 1984! (Or whenever you were in elementary school).

    Gina is a member of First Church in Columbus and realized a few years ago that although she doesn’t have an artistic bone in her body, she can add some color to something someone else drew and feel like a true artist.

  • World Wine Tasting Tour

    Amy Collins
    Each afternoon will begin with a brief wine tasting lesson, and then explore a different wine region of the world. Your wine guide will share information about specific growing areas while we sample a mix of whites, reds and a dessert wine to satisfy a variety of palettes.
    Participants will learn how to describe wine, and why they like the wines they do! We’ll enjoy wines from Australia, Europe, Africa, Argentina and Chile, as well as the U.S.

    Amy Collins has been a wine consultant with The Traveling Vineyard for about 12 years. She loves demystifying wine for those intimidated by it, and expanding the minds of those who are already fans. She’s been known to transform the occasional “common sewer to a connoisseur.” Wine glasses and Note Taking sheets will be provided.

    Things participants should bring: Open minds, a few bucks to toss in to the free will kitty to defray the cost of the wines, and optional wine­friendly munchies to share.

  • Mixology 101

    Jennifer May
    It’s five o’clock somewhere! Vintage and craft cocktails are making a comeback. Join Jennifer and Lois to learn how to make sophisticated libations that you can wow your friends with. Each day, a different aspect of cocktailing will be highlighted ­ from terminology and equipment to techniques, ingredients, and garnishes. A featured drink that demonstrates an aspect of the day’s discussion will be prepared (with help from participants) and sampled by all.

    Lois Weir and Jennifer May are foodies who love to garden, cook, entertain, host dinner parties, and drink. In their professional lives they are an engineer and a project manager, respectively; so expect the workshop to be both nerdy and well­ organized, as well as delicious.

    Things participants should bring: A thirst for knowledge of all things cocktail.

  • Theme Talk Back

    David Orr

  • Poetry for a Summer Day

    Dean Hazelton
    This is a workshop in reading poetry. We will read and discuss poems on a variety of subjects. Topics for 2018 have not been decided yet, but in the past we have discussed poems about love, nature, UU principles, social justice, and the meaning of life; by such poets as Emily Dickinson, WB Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Robert Frost, African American poets, Billy Collins, Mary Oliver and others.

    Dean isn’t an academic. He has long been an avid reader of poetry, and for the past 15 years or so he has facilitated a poetry reading circle at his home church, the UU Church of the South Hills in Pittsburgh. The Summer Institute poetry workshop grew out of that experience.

    Things participants should bring: Their imagination and curiosity.

  • Late Afternoon Fun

    Colleen Thoele

  • Sacred Song Circle

    Saunis Parsons
    Why stand in line for dinner at 5:00 when you could be singing in community? The Sacred Song Circle is open to everyone regardless of past singing experience or perceived expertise. It isn’t just for “good voices”. It’s an opportunity to sing easy songs with positive themes in community. Singing in community is good for your mental, spiritual and physical health and well­being. So come join us from 5:00 till 5:30 for 30 minutes of harmony. You’ll be glad you did.

    The Sacred Song Circle is led by Saunis Parsons from the UU Church of Kent. This is a spiritual practice she developed to encourage the benefits of singing in community. Saunis has been singing for her whole life and loves to share her passion with others. She really looks forward to leading the Sacred Song Circle at Summer Institute.

    What participants should bring: Water to wet your whistle.


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


Contra Dance
Monday evening is your chance to dance to old-time with music by David Strickler and friends. No partner or experience necessary. Contra dance is aerobic and social. Dancer-friendly instruction and calling by Susan English (

Hymn Sing

Small Ensembles
An evening of music made by YOU! Musically-inclined members of the SI community offer performances that are formal, fun, or downright wacky. Bring your instrument or your voice with you. The small ensembles coordinator will be soliciting your act near the beginning of the week. Sign up early!

Youth Coffee House
Performances offered by the talented members of the SI Youth Program. Everyone is invited to enjoy the show.

Children’s Talent Show
The children’s version of small ensembles. The coordinator of the show will be signing up acts early in the week.


Euchre Night

Ice Cream Social

Movie Night

All-Ages Dance

The Pub
From 9:30 PM onward, adults gather 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.

Monte Carnival 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.

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 groups and their own worship. These touch groups offer a variety of activities that range from trivia to music jams, discussions on broad topics to weird games and provide a daily opportunity for first-timers and old-timers alike to meet new people. Don’t forget to bring outdoor games and crazy clothes for Monte Carnival, 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 Deal” option available as well.

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

2018 Youth Theme Speakers – Eva Beal, Claire Galpern, India Harris

Youth can be a powerful force in fighting for the way they want things to be. Summer Institute enthusiasts Claire and Eva will be leading the youth program on youth activism and youth-led organizing. With racial justice and gender equality as the focus, they will equip the youth will tools for social change. As longtime SI attendees and veterans of the youth program, Claire and Eva will engage the youth in what promises to be a lively week complete with interactive activities and participatory games. They love UU youth ministry, youth power and social change and are excited to share that with you!

Eva is a youth organizer in Mark, Sweden, where she works with the local government to help create youth-friendly spaces and welcoming spaces for immigrant youth. She also organizes international youth exchanges and has a Masters in Peace and Development Studies from Linnaeus University in Sweden. Before moving to Sweden she was the youth group coordinator at First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh for two and a half years.

Claire leads trainings on youth leadership and racial justice for youth in the Central East region. She got involved in youth organizing as an CER youth and has been a community organizer with Philadelphia high school students fighting for social justice in Philly’s schools. She is currently working with airport food service workers who are fighting for their rights.

India lives in Brooklyn, NY serving full time as the Youth and Young Adult Program Coordinator for the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock. She is an organizer with the Audre Lorde Project, a LGBT community organizing center for people of color in New York City. Since 2009, she’s been involved in supporting membership development, leading community organizing trainings and campaign development.