Creating Intentional Summer Communities

Many people have an intentional community that brings them joy and sustenance. It might be a fiddle camp, quilting retreat or one of the of the many other options out there. It is intentional, you will only sign up for fiddle camp if you play or love the fiddle. And there is community, a community that shares your values and interests. That intentional community gathers each year. The bonds are strong even though people often see each other during that one week because of their shared interest and time spent together.

Central East Region Summer Institute Logo

CERSI (Central East Region Summer Institute) has been an intentional UU community for over 40 years. It started in the Ohio Meadville District (OMD), known as Summer Institute. The very same year another group in the Mid Atlantic area of our country started having a weeklong intergenerational intentional community, UUMAC (UU MidAtlantic Community). For 40 years both camps have run successful programs the 2nd week in July. Hundreds of UUs have participated in these intentional communities.

UUMAC, Unitarian Universalist Mid-Atlantic Community with a chalice logo

With the UUA’s consolidation of districts into regions, OMD Summer Institute needed to change their name so in 2018 the community voted to become CERSI (Central East Region Summer Institute). CERSI moved to a more central location in the region at PennWest University, in California PA in 2022. Last year around 300 UUs made the journey to CERSI. At the same time UUMAC held their camp at DeSales University. Both camps were happy to welcome people back in person after two years of only being online. Both intentional communities were back after a pandemic shutdown but now were running a multi platform so they could be more accessible to everyone!

The call is coming from inside the house: Preemptive radical inclusion and practices for witness, self examination and change. Central East Region 2023 Summer Institute. Image of a rotary dial phone.

However, UUMAC found out in September that their host, DeSales was unable to host anymore. UUMAC leadership reached out to CERSI leadership, and the two communities soon discovered how similar they were. Dancing, music, and tie-dye are just as important components as UU worship, meaningful discussions, and fun for all ages at both camps. CERSI leadership invited UUMAC to join us this year at CERSI and many people have already registered.

Have you ever attended CERSI or UUMAC? Have you heard a lot about but have never given it a try? Why not give CERSI 2023 a try? The CERSI planning team is working with UUMAC members alongside to bring the UUMAC magic as well as the CERSI magic to the community.

Children, youth and adults are excited to spend a week together attending workshops, attending theme talks with CB Beal, or just hanging out in hammock village. There are programs for children, youth and young adults and adults. There are many opportunities to make connections at this intentional community. Registration goes up June 1st so register today. Scholarships are available and applications are due May 31st.

A once a year gathering of like-minded individuals can be life changing. CERSI has been described as an all-inclusive vacation for the family where children can grow, and everyone can be nurtured. Please join us.

About the Author

Central East Region Summer Institute

The yearly summer camp held at PennWest (formerly University of California), California, PA by the former Ohio-Meadville District and continued by the Central East Region. Learn more at

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