2023 Program Weeks



June 10-17  |  Helping Hands Week  |  JoAnne Berkenkamp, Bob Friedman, Kat Little, Stuart Maxwell,  and Steve Schreurs 

DISCOUNT: Reduced fees this week, plus additional discounts for young adults age 18-35. Helping Hands Week campers may register for just a portion of the week and may also register for a second program week this summer.

We’ll have plenty of projects for campers of all ages and abilities with no experience needed. Project teams may include painting, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, grounds keeping, and lots of cabin/camp spiffing up. Team leaders will offer guidance and instructions as we work together. The major objective this year is a comprehensive spruce-up program for our cabin/lodge fixtures and furnishings. Depending on our camper skill levels this week, we’d also like to replace the old roofing over several cabin bedrooms and update the electrical wiring in Cabin 5. Join us for the week and try something new!

Although there are no formal youth or children’s programs, enthusiastic young workers are welcome. Mornings are spent on camp projects while afternoons provide time for hiking, swimming, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, bird watching or just relaxing. Join the UniStar family for Helping Hands 2023 to participate in projects that will benefit camp in the decades to come while making friends and great memories you can cherish forever!


June 24-28 (half week, Sat. to Wed.)  |  Singing for Everyone   Ann Kay

Come have fun making music in a different way each day—no past musical training needed! Why? Because singing and moving enhance our vitality, health, wellbeing, brain development, achievement, and even longevity. We’ll sing songs and play singing games, improve our sense of beat and pitch (those who register will be sent information about downloading apps in advance on your smartphone). Learn the secret of why rounds work, experience an easy way to read music notation, perform conducting patterns, and write a rap, poem, or song. Optional: 10-minute private vocal coaching session.

Ann Kay, education coordinator for the nonprofit Rock ‘n’ Read Project, teaches courses for classroom teachers in how to use singing strategies to improve students’ reading, and has authored A Song a Day: Brain Prep for Pre-Readers. Ann is a retired elementary music teacher, choir director, and instructor of music teachers.

July 1-8   Bring on the Games  |  Jackie and Dave Smith

This week will be dedicated to community fun. Daily program meetings will offer participants the opportunity to learn and play their choice of indoor or outdoor games. Additional opportunities will come as campers gather throughout the day and into the evening to teach and share. We'll culminate the week with a camp-wide amazing race. Collaboration with youth and children's programs will offer opportunities for intergenerational fun.

Jackie and Dave Smith are educators in the Twin Cities who have attended UniStar since 2002, when they realized that other people enjoyed their toddler as much as they did. As the kids and the Smiths kept coming, the nights playing games in the lodge grew to be a highlight. They have led games programs at UniStar twice in recent years.


July 8-15  |  Stitch and Click: Hand-Sewing and Phone Photography   Kim Christensen and Dan Zimmermann

Visible mending is a blast from the past, a way of fixing and decorating favorite jeans and other clothing. We’ll revisit techniques from the ‘60s and learn new ones, starting with the creation of our own kits, including Sashiko thimble, needle case, and stitched bag to hold them. Then we will learn to stitch, embellish, and mend.  Bring a well-loved garment that needs some attention, or work with fabrics from Kim’s "archives." We will practice Sashiko stitching, boro mending, and magical stitches.

Camera-phones are amazing devices, and we rarely use even 10% of their capabilities.  We are going to learn *everything* about our camera phones while studying the basics of good photography.  This will give us the creative control we need to capture the beautiful imagery that pervades our lives.

Kim works at Lakes Makerie, a textile shop in Minneapolis. Dan has been an avocational photographer for 50 years and is excited to share what he's learned.

July 15-21 (shorter week, ends on Friday) |  Printmaking Exploration   Erin Boe

Have you always wanted to try printmaking? We'll explore relief and stencil printmaking, brainstorm and sketch our ideas, then carve designs into wood blocks and linoleum blocks. You'll learn how to mix paint, apply it to blocks with rollers, and create prints on paper or cards. We'll further explore printmaking by cutting designs from plastic to make stencils. Your handmade printing blocks and stencils can be brought home and used again and again! Those who register for this week will receive a list of materials to bring to camp.

Erin Boe is high school art teacher and freelance children’s illustrator. She holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from Augsburg University and a Bachelor's degree in Studio Arts from the University of Minnesota. She loves developing arts curriculum and has a special fondness for printmaking and comic arts!

July 22-29  |  Clean Energy and Climate Action   J. Drake and Patrick Hamilton

2022 saw—at last!—three historic huge climate change laws in the United States. We live in a magical moment: the tools for addressing climate change now in place are commensurate with the scale of the problem. Never has it been more necessary to act on climate change, and never has it been more possible for YOU to do so. This week’s program will provide the information you need to take advantage of the federal government's biggest-ever investments in clean energy and climate action. Our mornings will include true stories, lectures, Q & A sessions, and discussions and quizzes to reveal more good news you may not yet know about. Let's get busy together.

J. Drake Hamilton ("J.") has, for 27 years, led Minnesota to adopt numerous climate change actions that drive bold policy solutions to a just, prosperous, and resilient future. She is the senior director of science policy for Fresh Energy, the nonprofit at the center of dozens of partnerships and coalitions. At her first UniStar session, she was called to travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with President Obama; she returned to camp to report on her meeting. Patrick Hamilton is the Director of Climate Change, Energy & the Environment at the Science Museum of Minnesota. He is a fellow of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, a member of the advisory board to the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership, and of the advisory committee to America Is All In – a network of over 1,800 U.S. institutions committed to reducing U.S. emissions by at least 50% by 2030 through an all-of-society approach.


July 29-August 5  |  Spiritual Friendship  |  Rev. Alan Taylor

Drawing on the methodology of deep listening and spiritual direction (providing compassionate attention to another), Rev. Alan Taylor will provide an experiential exploration of being a spiritual companion to others. Levity and laughter will accompany the invitation to engage in this sacred journey. We will begin and end with a deep listening ritual in dyads. The sessions will offer an invitation for personal reflection about spiritual practice and significant human relation skills, including healthy self-disclosure, differing, immediacy, and owning. An opportunity for journaling and pointers for further reflection will be included.

Rev. Alan recently founded Love with Courage, a public multi-faith ministry providing spiritual direction and faith-based organizing in the Chicagoland area. He has served UU Congregations for 24 years, most recently 18 years at Unity Temple in Oak Park. He is a graduate of Pomona College and Starr King School for the Ministry. His public ministry advocates the cultivation of spiritual practice and an ever-widening relational network to bring forth not only individual but community transformation.

August 5-12  |  Dance and Yoga: Express Yourself!  |  Sarah Hauss

This program will be a beginner-level workshop including yoga and somatics-infused modern dance. The class will be rooted in an exploration of the basic fundamentals of dance forms, including: Body, Action, Space, Time and Energy (BASTE), and will include a fundamental introduction to composition (choreography), improvisation, performance,  and dance appreciation. All are welcome! We will meet you at your individual comfort level and help you find a personal connection to your expressive body, mind, and spirit!

Sarah Hauss is a choreographer, dancer, presenter, and teacher who has been living and working in the Twin Cities for over 30 years. She is a visiting assistant professor of Dance at Gustavus Adolphus College and is a licensed K-12 dance educator. She also teaches at Ballare Teatro Performing Arts Center in Minneapolis and has been a yoga instructor at the St Paul Yoga Center since 2002.


August 15-19  |  Why is That Funny  |  Dave Walbridge

Ever wondered why something is funny? Or what makes us laugh?

Come and explore the world of appreciating and writing comedy. Each day we'll look at a different aspect of the craft; jokes, routines, writing tools and how humor may lead us to the truth. A great class for writers, non writers, comedy fans and teenagers. Bring a notebook and a joke to share.

Dave Walbridge writes books, scripts and jokes in St. Paul. He even has a touring circus show -- The Big Fun Show! Dave is currently a ghostwriter, and is at the stage of his career he calls "consulting."


August 19-26 (Adults-only week)  |  Create a Nature Journal  |  Deb Mowry

Make a journal to record your experiences with nature. The week is about enjoying nature and improving your observation skills of nature through writing, making quick simple sketches, and note-taking. Journaling your nature experience will lead to increased curiosity and closer observation. You will notice seasonal changes earlier; understand interactions in nature; see more colors in, for example, a bird feather; look at patterns and numbers in nature; ask questions, and enjoy the outdoors more. Topics might include: nature journaling, observing color, comparing and contrasting, and adding words and poetry to your entry. 

Deb Mowry is a member of the Rochester MN UU church.  A native of southern Iowa, she became a certified master naturalist in Nebraska before moving to Rochester to be closer to family. Now retired, Deb enjoys exploring the parks and nature in Minnesota. She has been nature journaling for ten years and has taught nature journaling for 6 years.