Your day begins when you want it to. No one is forcing you to get out of bed. SI’s day begins as early as 7am, when the dining hall opens for breakfast.
At 8:15, our morning service begins. Services are performed by ministers and lay leaders from around the district, giving you a chance to see techniques and hear sermons that you’ve never heard before. Music is supplied by our SI Chorus, which, if you like, you can join.
It’s from the morning services that your children, those younger than middle school, take off for RE, where they’ll be taught by some of the finest teachers our district has to offer, and will make friends that can last a lifetime. The Youth (middle and high school) have their own programming in the morning, so you don’t have to worry about them.
After morning services comes the Theme Speaker, an outsider who comes in to speak to our gathering. Frequently they are UUs, but not always. We’ve had, for example, rabbis and Buddhist leaders, as well as storytellers and deeply spiritual college professors. You get a chance to listen to them and, later in the afternoon, ask questions and talk back to them.
By 10:30 or so it’s time for your Morning Seminar. This is a class that you get to sign up for when you register. It runs the entire week, and is designed to scratch a particular itch you might have. They fall into three categories, with lots of crossover: the intellectual/spiritual (dealing with Unitarian Universalist issues, historical matters, things around you, or social justice), the physical (yoga, tai chi, dancing, or exercising), and the creative (working with polymer clay, collages, keeping a journal, and other). Not everything is offered every year, so take a look at our website. You can see what we’ve offered, and what we’re n ow offering.
After lunch, the programs are divided into two types. First we offer intergenerational programs, including tie dying, body art and other crafts, as well as organized play and other things that would tempt both the young and old. After this Session 2, is more age specific, and can feature things from board games, poetry, Ultimate Frisbee, Dungeons and Dragons, and beer tasting. Again, not everything is offered every year.
During the afternoon is also the time to sign up for and rehearse with the Choir, the Folk Orchestra, and the other musical groups that perform during the week. There’s even a Children’s Choir, which meets right after lunch.
Starting in 2016, we’re offering pop-ups, impromptu classes covering whatever a facilitator would like them to.
Of course, if you want to, there’s always the Nap Workshop, which is very popular, at least among the adults. You have a dorm room for this.
After dinner, the evening is divided into two sessions, separated by Vespers around 8. The first session is intergenerational, and includes concerts, dances, a Monte Carlo night, and PEEK!, a UU card game where everyone is a winner.
Vespers is the evening service. Three of them are performed by our ministerial staff, one is done by the Youth, and one by the Young Adults.
Afterwards, when the children are in bed (you can request to be in a dorm with childcare), more adult things are scheduled, such as the Small Ensembles music shows. There’s an adult dance, and, if you’d rather, there’s a pub you can attend, where you can socialize or sing while enjoying an adult beverage.
Plus, anytime during the day, you can get together with the other UUs and socialize, and a party could spontaneously break out.
Add to this the amenities offered by the town and school of Oberlin (there’s a theatre festival while we’re there, plus restaurants and bars surrounding us), and Summer Institute becomes a wondrous vacation, full of enlightenment, enchantment, and just plain, good old fashioned fun. Join us, you may become hooked for life.