If You Knew SUUSI Like I know SUUSI

by Joanne Dingus


After three years, I guess you could say, we have created a summer tradition. In mid July, my family and I load up the car and drive five hours out to Radford University to attend SUUSI, the Southeast Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute.  In the scheme of things, we are still considered “nuubies.” There are some people who have attended SUUSI every summer for 40 years.

So what is SUUSI? It is a week long, UU summer camp for people of all ages. During the days, people attend worship and workshops. There is a huge variety of workshops available anything from Goddess yoga to Rum tasting. And each day offers a selection of nature trips, hiking or paddling through nearby landscapes.

At night, there is always an evening worship with guest ministers followed by a concert hour with performances by professional musicians.  After that, you can choose more music at Cabaret or dance time at Cache or Serendipity. There is also a coffee house available for those who prefer a quiet conversation or a board game with new friends.

There are many opportunities to volunteer. I chose to work with 7 and 8 year olds this year. I planned a variety of games and activities to share with the kids each morning and then helped with the pre-scheduled activities in the afternoons. I worked on a team with 2 other age group leaders, 7 volunteers and 36 kids. We had a great week! In return for volunteering full time I was able to attend SUUSI for free (registration, room and board.)

We all lived in dorm rooms. Jerry lived in the teen dorm and had special activities into the wee hours of the evening. He also got to perform in School of Rock, a rock band for teens and young adults. Jaimie lived in the young adult dorm and volunteered with 9 and 10 year olds all week. I was in an adult dorm nearby.

UUFP made quite a showing at SUUSI this year. There were 10 of us altogether.  Lauren Furey, Caroline and Lochlan Fureymoore, Tret Fure, Allison Black, Aaron Hansley, Vickie Anderson, Jaimie, Jerry and Joanne Dingus. It was great to spend time with everyone at meals or other events.

So if you think you might like to know SUUSI like I know SUUSI feel free to ask any of us questions and check out the SUUSI website at SUUSI.org. The theme for next year’s SUUSI is Beloved Community held July 20-26, 2014 at Radford University.

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