What’s SI all about?

  • Community – Gathering with other UUs from around the region for fellowship, fun, time away from the everyday world.
  • Family – CERSI provides the perfect balance of family time and age-specific activities.  There is plenty for everyone, regardless of age, ability, or interest.
  • Making it what you want/need – For adults, participation is NOT required.  Really. You are encouraged to engage in what feeds your soul, whether it’s music, intellectual endeavors, one-on-one connections, socializing, meeting new people, gathering with old friends, or spending time alone.  You do what you need to do and make it the week you want/need.
  • Worship – Morning worship and evening vespers are offered (and optional) every day and provide time for quiet reflection, singing, and introspection.
  • Music – Did we mention music?  There are ample opportunities to play, sing and dance, both in organized groups and informal jam sessions. Bring your instrument!
  • Fun – However you define fun, you can probably find it at CERSI!

What’s a typical day at CERSI like?

  • We invite you to read about a typical day at SI, but here’s the short version (keeping mind that nothing is required for adults or children)
    • Wake up when you want.  Have breakfast on your own or in the cafeteria.
    • Worship
    • Children go to RE, youth go to youth programming (find out more about RE, youth)
    • Morning seminars – you sign up for one seminar that lasts the whole week, building on itself each morning, see “morning seminars” below for more information.
    • Children and youth programming concludes – children join their families, youth may choose to gather with other youth
    • Lunch
    • Early and late afternoon workshops – come and go as you like, many are intergenerational, visit a new workshop each day or stop by a few or stay at the same one all week
    • Dinner
    • Evening activities – usually intergenerational, include movie and ice cream, dance, carnival night, huge card game, casual socializing
    • Late night activities – the Pub is open in the late night hours for socializing, music, and trivia
  • Youth (grades 7-12) are an important of the CERSI community!  The Youth Panel offers morning programming planned by the youth and specific to the needs/interests of youth.  Youth are encouraged to participate in afternoon workshops and evening events as well.

How much does CERSI cost?

  • Use our cost estimator to get an idea of what a week at CERSI would cost for you or your family.
  • While we feel the cost of SI is reasonable considering what’s included (a week’s worth of housing, food, programming, worship, child care, and spontaneous fun), we know that it can be a burden for some folks. Here are two ways to lessen the cost:
    • Job/Campership:  While workshifts take care of many of the smaller tasks at SI, there are also many jobs that require more time, expertise, or commitment: leading a workshop or seminar, providing religious education or child care, being a nurse or golf-cart driver.  Applications for these positions generally become available in December and are due at the beginning of February, but  unfilled positions will stay open until they are filled. Applications that are accepted come with a campership – a financial thank you that is applied toward the cost of SI. While most jobs are best suited for returning campers, there are a few that are appropriate for first-timers.
    • Scholarships:  Our community also raises funds for individuals and families that are in need of financial assistance.  Scholarship applications are due no later than May 31.

How do I register for CERSI?

What do I need to do/know before I start signing up?

  • During registration you will asked to choose your preferred housing, preferred wing (e.g., “family friendly,” “quiet zone,” “early birds”) a meal plan, a morning workshop (adults only).
    • Housing:  We stay in PennWest student housing.  You choose between a shared dorm room or a single dorm room. All rooms have a private bathroom and air conditioning. Up to two children can sleep on the floor of your dorm room. See Youth below for more info about folks in grades 10-12.
    • Meal Plans:  Choices include 0-3 meals/day.  All meals are cafeteria-style with gluten-friendly, vegetarian, and vegan options, with ingredients clearly listed.  All dorms have shared ‘kitchens’ with refrigerators and microwaves should you choose to prepare all/some meals on your own.
    • Morning Seminars:  Week-long seminars are offered for adults and young adults from 10:30-12 each day.  These courses may be intellectual, spiritual, creative, physical or a combination of those.  The content builds from day to day, with participants attending the same seminar all week.
    • Community Workshift:  It takes all of us to make the CERSI magic happen so we ask all adults and young adults to sign up for a workshift.  These are generally short commitments once during the week and may involve setting up or taking down an activity, helping people at the cafeteria, assisting with the children’s talent show, working in the bookshop, or something similar.  Most require little specialized skill or knowledge and are a great way to get involved. You’ll get a link to the workshift sign-up sometime in May.

How does CERSI support first timers?

  • Before CERSI even begins, our first-timer liaison should contact you. They are available to answer your questions.
  • We hope to have a few “pre-CERSI” meet-ups, probably over Zoom, to answer questions and give newcomers the opportunity to meet others.
  • You can ask questions of the wider CERSI community on our official Facebook group.  It’s also a great place to hear what’s going on and start to get to know some folks. There is also an official Facebook page where announcements are posted.
  • At registration, tours are offered for first timers. A veteran camper will show you around the campus, walk you through the schedule, and answer your questions.
  • Early in the week, at lunch and dinner, you can find a “first timers” table. We’d love to get to know you and answer any questions you may have!
  • Yes, it can be a bit overwhelming. Folks wearing bandanas are in leadership and should be able to answer questions or point you in the right direction. Or ask anyone for assistance, we’re all in this together.

I’ve registered. Now what? What can I expect when I arrive?

  • Yay!  You’ll need to think a little bit about packing for CERSI.  You can find some great advice here.
  • Please try to arrive during registration between 12:00 and 5:00. This gives you a chance to settle in and take a tour before the opening ceremony at 7:00 on Sunday. Meals start with dinner on Sunday – there is no Sunday lunch provided.
  • As you register, you’ll get your dorm key, nametag, meal swipe card, map, schedule, workshift assignment, t-shirts (if you paid for one when you registered online), wristbands (required by PennWest so they know that you belong on campus), parking info, and everything else you’ll need.  Plus there will be people who would love to answer your questions!
  • First timers tours are offered between 1:30 and 3 pm, leaving from registration.  If you are bringing children, you will also want to attend the open house for RE parents from 4-5 pm.
  • The registration folks will tell you where to park near your dorm, and volunteers will be at the dorm to help you unload.
  • Dinner is at 5 so once you’re settled you’re welcome to meet your dorm neighbors, explore the campus, or sit under a tree with a book.
  • Opening ceremony is at 7 pm.

I’ve heard about the CERSI Magic? Where can I find some?

  • Use people’s nametags as conversation starters – ask about their home church, how long they’ve been coming, what’s their “not-to-be-missed” thing at CERSI?
  • Try to sit with someone you don’t know at some meals – someone you were in a workshop with, sat next to at worship, walked with, anyone.  People really are very welcoming!
  • Don’t try to do everything! Pick a couple things that seem most appealing, take time to nap/spend time alone, or do whatever it is you need to do to recharge.

I know it will have to end sometime. How do things wrap up on Saturday?

  • Closing ceremony is from 10:00-11:00 on Saturday morning.  Many folks do their packing up beforehand if they need to hit the road. You should be out of your room before 12 noon.
  • To check out of your room you will return linens (if rented) and your room key to the front desk of your dorm.
  • At the closing ceremony, we’ll say thank you and goodbye to some folks who are cycling off of leadership, we’ll sing, we’ll see an amazing slide show of the week, and we’ll start looking forward to next year
  • Many of the youth enjoy the Hugapillar (just what it sounds like – a long line of youth hugging each other goodbye) outside of the youth dorm.  This can take awhile…. 🙂

Where do I find out more? Who can answer my questions about….

  • If you need general information try our website.
    • Use the drop-down tabs along the top to find what you’re looking for, or just wander around and see what you find.
    • Here are some common places to look:
  • You can ask questions of the wider CERSI community (what to pack, how to choose a workshop) on our official Facebook group.  It’s also a great place to hear what’s going on and start to get to know some folks. There is also an official Facebook page where announcements are posted.
  • Registration, workshift, religious education and youth questions should be directed to these folks.