UU Camps & Conferences
As Unitarian Universalists. we often find ourselves wishing we could live in a world that more closely reflects our values. We want more of what we share within the walls of our congregation to exist outside the walls. Many of us dedicate our lives to creating small pockets of community that reflect our values.
It can come as a surprise to many Unitarian Universalists that there is already an established network of such communities throughout the United States and Canada. It’s our Unitarian Universalist Camp and Conference Centers. And they have formed an alliance to help spread the word, the Unitarian Universalist Alliance of Camp and Conference Centers (UUACCC).
Looking for a low-cost vacation for the family with opportunities to meet others in the larger UU community? Looking for a camping experience for children where you can be sure the other children will share your religious-liberal values? Looking to expand the mind or pursue a favorite hobby? Look no further than our literature rack or the Web for UU Camps and Conferences all across the country.
Many "conferences" meet at colleges and universities for one week during the summer, and attendees usually stay in dorms and eat in cafeterias. Two popular one in our area are SUUSI and UUMAC.
- SUUSI usually has a good representation from UUFHC members, and many return year after year. SUUSI is one of the larger conferences, and offers a large variety of workshops and nature activities, along with stellar children, teen and young adult groups. Since the Conference takes place at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA and is close to the mountains, you can find caving, climbing, nature hikes and water activities nearby, or stay on campus for dozens of workshops on almost all conceivable areas of interest. There are community worship times and night activities.
- UUMAC is a smaller, cohesive community serving the Joseph Priestley and Metro New York districts, which makes it a good choice for those who want to network with others from nearby congregations. This year UUMAC is at DeSales University near Bethlehem, PA, July 18-24. UUMAC is also family-oriented and offers various worship times, famous UU theme speakers, morning workshops and a choice of off-campus excursions each afternoon. Evenings offer family activities and
night-owls for adults. And the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, also on campus during UUMAC offers both a children’s play and a Shakespeare theater opportunity. Look for the blue brochure on the literature rack.
- Star Island, in the Isles of Shoals off the New England Coast offers attendees the choice of spending time in peaceful solitude among the windswept cliffs, wildflower-laden paths, historic buildings and cemeteries or engaging in conversation and activities with fellow conferees. There are summer conferences for adults, teens, families, as well as theme conferences on the arts, science, and religion. A highlight each year is the annual Religious Education conference from July 10-17. Look for the white brochure.
If you're looking for a camping experience or a retreat in the wilds, there are many UU options for children and adults.
- Unirondack in the Adirondacks at Lowville, NY offers weeks for family canoeing, youth canoeing, traditional camping experience for elementary, middle school and high school youth, and family camp weeks from July 4 through September 3. There are also some adult programs. Facilities include rustic cabins, a dining hall, art shop, shower house and a new health center. Unirondack states that its mission is to inspire people to explore responsible roles in the web of life through physical mental and spiritual challenges and strives to be a safe and welcoming camp. See the ecru brochure in the pamphlet rack.
- Rowe Camp and Conference Center in Massachusetts is set at the slope of a mountain at the edge of a village with forest, waterfall and quiet reflecting ponds. Rowe offers a traditional summer camping experience for young people, junior high age, high school students, and even a "transitions" camp especially for 11-12 year olds, as well as camping experiences for women, men, and the gay, bi-sexual and transgender community. But Rowe offers workshops all year round, usually for an extended week-end, which engenders spiritual growth and development. A few of the many upcoming workshops include workshops on writing, healing, getting organized in your life, and on love. Here you can study with noted experts and countercultural legends such as Wavy Gravy and Patch Adams. Look for the yellow summer brochure for Rowe Camp.
These are just a few of the closest opportunities, but UU Camps and Conferences take place across the continent. Visit the UU Camps and Conferences website, www.cu2c2.org, for a full list or check the UU World for other opportunities.