A typical day at SI

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. In the morning, you get a chance to listen to them. Later in the afternoon, there is a chance to go deeper with a follow up discussion.

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 the brochure each year. If you want to see what we have offered in the past, check out the brochures on our history page.

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.

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.

Adult programming starts after the children are in bed. You can request to be put in the dorm with other families. Families often arrange to share nighttime duties so that you can take turns enjoying the evening programming and the pub. Evening programming can include a contra dance, performance by Hal Walker, and Small Ensembles performances. 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.

There is a cooperative childcare arrangement for those parents who wish to share nighttime supervision of their children throughout the week of Summer Institute. The co-op makes it easier for parents to enjoy all the late evening activities that SI has to offer. The childcare co-op is open to all families of children who are participating in the Children’s Morning program. The childcare co-op provides parents with approximately 15 hours of shared supervision for their children in the late evening program slot after Vespers. In return, each parent typically contributes approximately 3 hours of supervision. Parents or guardians wishing to participate in the co-op should check the childcare co-op housing option on the registration form. Again, you must indicate your preference on the registration form by checking ” yes.”

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.

Seminars

After the adult theme talk, it’s time to head off to morning seminars. These vary year to year, depending upon proposals. Anything from theological discussion, making art, dancing, yoga, or watching film clips. If the mood strikes you, you can also just sit under a tree and read a good book.

Specific morning seminars are always detailed in the online brochure, shortly before registration opens.

The Pub (21+)

From 9:30 PM onward, adults gather at the Pub 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.

In compliance with state laws, no alcohol is permitted to be brought into the Pub or removed from the space.