Jun 06, 2016 at 05:05 PM

Eliot Spring 2016 Newsletter

By Eliot Institute
Eliot Spring 2016 Newsletter
President's Letter

Hello Fellow Campers

As this is my first Eliot newsletter article, let me tell you a little about myself. I live in Nanaimo, BC with my wife Beth McLin. We have three children and two grandchildren, all of whom have attended camp at some point. Beth and I have been coming every year since 2001 when Lynn Sabourin informed us in no uncertain terms that we must attend for the sake of us and our children. We are so glad we did! I’m an August regular, sometimes Winter, and this year I’m eager to attend July for the
first time.

I’m excited to serve on the Eliot Board. My year being President Elect allowed me to become aquainted with how the board functions and to get to know the amazing people who serve on the board and on the committees that support the work of Eliot. There is a lot of work behind the scenes that goes into ensuring the camps continue to run smoothly.

Strategic Planning:

During the January and April board meetings, along with regular camp business, the board worked on a strategic plan. Under the excellent facilitation of Treasurer Terri Schmiesing, we came up with the broad theme of “Wider and Deeper” – “Wider” as in reaching a wider audience of UUs, both geographically by reaching more congregations, and economically by increasing the economic diversity of those who attend camp and “Deeper” as in deeper programing for both youth and adults.

We came up with three strategic objectives to support the overall theme and spent time between the meetings refining the objectives and potential measurements and milestones. Key in every discussion was keeping to Eliot values and making sure we could actually achieve them.

As an example of keeping things achievable, for serving more UUs (“Wider”), we decided to focus on making Creative Arts as successful as possible rather than trying to start a new summer camp now. The other two ideas we are trying out include enhanced programming and expanding camper geographic and economic diversity. Many details are still to be worked out including a communication plan to inform people of the ideas and to gather feedback.

President's Message - Spring 2016

I also want to thank The Fund Raising Committee, as their work is critical in helping us move forward keeping future Eliot experiences vibrant. We are committed to keeping camp rates as low as possible and extra fund raising moneys allow your board to try things out without raising camper rates.

You can expect more on these initiatives in the months to come. We welcome your ideas and energy.

Don Gayton
President, Eliot Board of Directors

Administrator's Corner

Is there anything better than a Pacific Northwest spring after a dreary, wet winter? Why, yes there is! A summer Eliot experience at Seabeck! We currently have no wait list for July Eliot, a medium wait list for August Eliot, and no wait list for Creative Arts Eliot. Sign up for your favorite camp, and I’ll do my best to get you in. As things ramp up for the summer season, I’m eagerly anticipating seeing old friends, meeting new friends, and learning to play the ukulele. That’s right, I’ll be in the ukulele workshop during Creative Arts Eliot -- maybe you want to join me? Or would you rather write or paint or sing or do photography or make beer! Come share the intimate vibe of our newest Eliot camp.

How does all this magical Eliot stuff happen? It takes a dedicated, hard-working board, and once again it’s my honor to work with these talented individuals. It’s like a duck on the lake -- all smooth gliding on the surface, and furious peddling below. The Eliot Board meets three times a year -- spring, fall, and our annual weekend retreat at Seabeck each January where the torch is passed from outgoing to incoming board members. Between these meetings, our board members are chairing or serving on the important committees that do the heavy lifting of creating our beloved intentional community. Is your interest piqued? These are our committees: Can-Am (which focuses on trans-border issues), Children’s, Communications/Marketing, Creative Arts Program, Finance, Fund Raising, Nominating, Program, Safety, Technology, and Youth. In addition, the Registration and Room Assignment Advisory Group assists me when I need extra brain power to solve a problem. If you think you might like to serve on one of these committees, please talk with the board representative at the camp you attend, or contact me to discuss the possibilities.

Want to do something more concrete? Our spring and fall board meetings, held in a variety of locations -- mostly Seattle or Portland, but sometimes Vancouver BC or Eugene -- are catered by wonderful Elioteers. Don Morgan is our go-to guy in the Seattle area, and Marcia Waugh takes charge in Portland. But if they aren’t available, or we meet elsewhere, then it’s panic time for me -- yikes, my board members need to eat and they need a constant infusion of caffeine! If you’d like to be on-call to provide a light breakfast, a soup/salad/sandwich spread for lunch, and copious amounts of coffee, please let me know. I’d love to be able to call on you.

And here’s a shout-out to Samaya Oakley and Lynn Sabourin, who, every two or three years, travel down from BC to Seabeck to clean out and re-inventory the storage closet at Seabeck. Yes, we gather and toss out the dreck and sharpen pencils and test markers and clean toys and locate lost items and become one with storage bins and labelers. Seabeck kindly allows us to spend the night for this two day affair. Thanks so much Samaya and Lynn for your behind the scenes work!

Registration for summer camps and Winter Eliot (best way EVER to bring in the New Year) is online at www.eliotinstitute.org. Click on the big blue button to register, and you’re on your way!

Eliot Institute Logo
Bev Hesterberg

See you at camp,
Bev Hesterberg 

[email protected]

Can-Am Report

Finding a site for an Eliot camp in Canada continues to elude us. Our hope with Sorrento has faded and it seems unlikely that we will find something in the near future.

At the retreat in January the board decided to focus its efforts on supporting our fledgling camp, Creative Arts Eliot. This is a smaller camp (as was our Canadian Naramata) and it is two days shorter than July or August Eliots which translate into a less expensive camp. This may be helpful for Canadians dealing with a lower-valued dollar.

The Can-Am Committee will continue to give feedback to the board for Canadian issues. We still hope to find a suitable camp in Canada one day.

Liz Goodger

Liz Goodger
Can-Am Committee Chair

Note From Our Treasurer

Hello Elioteers!

The Eliot Institute remains in excellent financial shape. Our operating revenue and costs continue to track to budget, which includes Eliot Institute’s annual $10,000 donation to Seabeck. Our Scholarship Fund is available to assist eligible campers who might need a little help to pay for camp, thanks to your generous contributions.

We are also working with our fundraising committee to raise money to support our long term strategic objectives. These objectives will take more resources than our annual operating budget can manage, but we believe they are worthy goals that will pay off in the long run. If you have any questions, please email me or attend the Eliot Information Meeting at your next camp. I wish you a great camp experience!

Terri Schmiesing

Terri Schmiesing
Eliot Treasurer

Leadership Development

This committee works to nurture leadership in our camps and our organization. Comprised of Elioteers from each camp, the LDC helps the Deans fill staff positions, find committee chairs to populate committees, and help campers find their way into leadership roles they are interested in.

Please continue to make your interest in volunteering known. The “Making Eliot Awesome” surveys and the volunteer sheets from camps have been consolidated into an Excel spreadsheet, which is referenced by the board, the committees, and camp deans to fill committee vacancies and camp staffs.

If you have questions or comments, please contact the LDC team through the Eliot Administrator at [email protected].

Eliot Spring 2016 Newsletter

Karen Stratton
LDC Chair


We continue to move into the digital age! Summer Elioteers have, by now, received their summer 2016 camp invoices and Camper Registration forms via email. We hope you will take advantage of this efficient system for registering and tuition payment. Assuming no major problems, Eliot will use this system for all camps moving forward.

This committee continues to grow, but we could always use more folks! If you are interested in helping to create these newsletters, or come up with creative and innovative ways to get the word out about the Eliot experience, especially at Creative Arts Eliot, this is the place to be. Please let me know of your interest through the administrator at [email protected].

The Eliot community is richer when it includes members from all economic situations. Funds are available to support this through a designated fund maintained by our Board of Directors. If you are considering coming to Eliot but find cost a barrier, please reach out to us so that we can work together. The Fund helps campers of all ages and all family sizes, first-timers and repeat visitors. Please contact the administrator at [email protected] for more information.

Job Rabinowitz

Job Rabinowitz
your VP Marketing/Communications

Eliot's Eagle

Sees a little, knows a little, tells a little …


…Cele (Haasken) Wagner, daughter of Diane Brooke and Mike Haasken, got married to John Wagner on December 28 in San Diego. Their New Year’s Eve was undoubtedly spectacular!

…Eliot’s nestlings are poppin’ out all over! Debbie Gorenstein and Rick Pope became grandparents when daughter Sarah Pope had baby Sylvie at the end of November.

…Beating Sylvie to the finish line was Bennett Wootten, son of Erika Mayall Wootten and Chuck Wootten, born November 1, 2015. Bennett’s grandma is Anne Mayall. Bennett’s first Eliot is coming up this August.

Steve Porten reports that he and Shann Weston will soon be grandparents. We won’t see this new tyke this summer, but be on the lookout in 2017.


…Not to be outdone, the July Eliot family also has a brand new eaglet. Welcome Rose Alexandra Kaye, born March 11. Her parents are Mason Kaye and Julianna Howland. Proud grandparents are Debbie and Ted Kaye, and of course, there are all sorts of uncles, aunties, and cousins…

Cindy Leitner retired on December 31 from her position as Administrator for Liberal Religious Educators Association. Many thanks for her service to UUs across the continent.

Judy Tomassene and Charlie Carter are headed to Europe in early June for a month. They’ll be taking their 14th Rick Steves tour, this time in Portugal.

…Congratulations to Brad Lawrence & Tobie Langsam on their upcoming nuptials on July 3, 2016. Their honeymoon is guaranteed to include fireworks! August Elioteers will be able to congratulate them in person during August Eliot. The groom’s parents are Bruce Lawrence and Barbara MacLeod.

Pauline Kenneally sends this update on her recovery from heart surgery last fall: I’d like to say thanks to all of you who offered love and support at that time, it’s so special knowing we belong to a loving community of people most of whom we see for one week a year - that is amazing. Roger and I will be looking forward to seeing you all in August

…The Eagle always writes this column with a tiny cloud of anxiety resting over her head. Whose news has she missed? She knows she’s forgotten a juicy bit of gossip that she tucked away in her brain, but forgot to write down. She hates leaving anyone out and apologizes in advance for any omissions.

Enlighten the Eagle:send your bit of high-flyin’ news to [email protected] for publication in our next newsletter

Eliot Donations
Give Big

Last year Eliot joined with Seabeck Conference Center and over 1200 other non-profits in a one-day fund-raiser called GiveBIG. In 2015, Eliot raised $3000 through the event, even though we got a late start in organizing our campaign and were learning as we went how it worked. As a result, Eliot Institute has had a listing on The Seattle Foundation website all year and we were able to get an earlier start organizing our 2016 campaign. This year, the entire Eliot Fund-raising Committee and several board members pledged over $3000 in matching funds to encourage Elioteers to step forward with increased participation. We are pleased to announce that we met our goal of at least $6000 in total donations this year. In fact, when all the matching funds are collected, the total is expected to be over $7000! The average donation of the 32 families who donated through the GiveBIG website was $134. A huge thank you to all who supported this effort. This year’s donations target the completion and implementation of the strategic plan the Eliot Board is currently working on. We are grateful to The Seattle Foundation for administering this program and for providing an easy way for us to receive and process online donations.

The May 3, 2016 campaign, from midnight to midnight, was The Seattle Foundation’s sixth annual GiveBIG. The Seattle Foundation exceeded its goal of raising $20 MILLION for local non-profits.

Despite the ultimate success of the 2016 GiveBIG campaign, there were some glitches that were beyond the control of Eliot and The Seattle Foundation. The Seattle Foundation, along with many other community funds across the country, used a new fund-raising system that broke down early in the day. The processing system was not functioning properly for many hours. This was a heartbreaking experience for the many organizations that count this event as a major part of their fund-raising. Fortunately, the software was eventually fixed and the campaign was extended an additional 24 hours. Cooperative local media helped publicize the extended deadline and generous donors responded with sufficient donations that both Eliot’s goal and The Seattle Foundation’s goal were met.

Program Committee Report

The Program Committee is made up of campers from the US and Canada, and we are regularly contacting and recruiting our morning theme speaker candidates! We try to plan way ahead, and are always open to new suggestions.

Please send us your suggestions for either areas of interest or specific speaker names. Your recommendation can be sent directly to our Eliot Registrar at [email protected].

Thank you!

Cristi Bishop

Cristi Bishop
Program Committee Chair

Be All that You Can Be

If you love Eliot (like we love Eliot), why not give Creative Arts Eliot a try? You’ll experience that same, great Eliot community we all value and many of the same camp traditions -- with a fun, creative theme. And right now, there’s no wait list!

Elioteers can now enjoy Creative Arts Eliot 2016 in addition to other Eliots. Please see the attached flyer to read about the various mini-camps available at this year’s session, August 13-18: painting, photography, writing, vocal music, ukulele, and craft beer-making. For more details, see the CAE flyer later in this newsletter.

Keep those old traditions, start some new ones, and get those creative juices flowing!

Email the Eliot Registrar at [email protected] with any questions, and we hope to see you there!

Eliot Election 2016

The Nominating Committee of the Eliot Board is pleased to reveal the following slate of candidates to be voted on this summer. Our Eliot bylaws require that the slate is completed by May 1 of each year. It is our practice to announce it to campers through the spring newsletter. Voting takes place at summer camps and ballots will be mailed to attendees of Winter Eliot 2016-2017, who are not registered for a camp this summer. None of the candidates are running against each other. In summer, you will be voting by acclamation on the slate as a whole.

Our candidate for the Nominating Committee takes office in October 2016, and candidates for the Board take office in January 2017. Deep appreciation goes to the Nominating Committee for their work, and also to the candidates for offering to step up to this three-year commitment.

Samaya Oakley

Samaya Oakley
Nominating Committee Chair

Nominating Committee Member:

Paul Blackburn

Paul Blackburn and his family have been July Elioteers since 2003; their daughters are now Young Adult and Youth. He served on the Eliot Board of Directors for seven years and is the Mayor of Hood River, OR


Elisa Wells for President Elect:

Elisa Wells

Elisa has been attending Eliot Institute with her husband, Seth Moran, and kids, Shannon (18) and Sarah (16), since 2008. She loves the welcoming, intentional community of Eliot and both she and Seth have enjoyed watching their kids come of age in Eliot’s vibrant children’s and youth programs. Elisa and Seth have been on staff as music coordinators several times and were Deans for July Eliot in 2015. Elisa is particularly delighted that Eliot provided the motivation for her to drag her clarinet out of the closet and start playing again. As a lifelong Unitarian, Elisa is also active in church leadership at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Vancouver. She has participated on the Committee on Ministry, RE Advisory Committee, and Families in Service Team and currently serves on the Ministerial Search Committee. Elisa’s work as a public health specialist on women’s reproductive health has given her many opportunities to lead projects and facilitate positive change. She is honored to be asked to serve the Eliot community.

Sacha Wassick for Board Member:

Sacha Wassick

Sacha Wassick has been happily attending Eliot Institute camps for over 15 years. She regularly attends August Eliot and has been a teacher in the children’s program and Co-Water-Front Director. Being part of the Eliot community has enriched her life in so many ways, providing friendships and experiences that can not be found anywhere else. Sacha grew up attending the North Shore Unitarian Church, attending the wonderful children’s program, OWL and youth group. She is now volunteering as a youth advisor for the NSUC youth group, enjoying giving back to the community that gave her so much. Her parents attend the Comox Valley Unitarian Fellowship and she has attended a number of their services. She is really looking forward to being part of the Eliot board and contributing to a community that has given so much joy to her life.

Joan Sandberg for Board Member:

Joan Sandber

Joan Sandberg - I’ve been coming to Eliot with my family since 1999, and this unique intentional community has had a major impact on my life. The friendships I’ve made and the growth I’ve experienced continue to enrich my life. It’s a unique and magical experience, but the magic doesn’t just happen. Many committed and talented volunteers have taken leadership positions to ensure that Eliot Institute maintains its mission and vision. I’m honored to have the opportunity to be nominated for the Eliot Board. Some of my past Eliot experiences include being a member of the Safety Committee, the First Aid Coordinator, and a small group facilitator. I was part of the team that conceived of and created the First Aid Cart for the Inn. I tend to volunteer wherever help is needed and love helping with all parts of tie-dye. I’m a retired radiologist, was an RN prior to medical school, and currently volunteer for hospice in Portland. My hobbies and interests include gardening, photography, poetry, playing mahjong, and delving into new creative pursuits in this next chapter of my life. I’ve had a lifelong passion for learning, not only for personal growth, but also to gain new knowledge and understanding of the world, and hopefully to help make the world a better place.

Creative Arts
Creative Arts Eliot
Eliot Spring 2016 Newsletter
Posted in Eliot Newsletters.

Eliot News

==> So much fun, I appreciated the children's program and the variety of events for campers. I especially appreciated the Salish Sea outing, The Last Night Festival activities, the opportunities for making and sharing music, and the existence of a central gathering place for Happy Hour. The whole thing was a really great experience for my daughter and me. Thank you so much!!!
First Time Camper from Washington.