Report: UniStar

Camp UniStar Foundation

Report to the MidAmerica Region of the UUA for 2021

After a non-existent 2020 season, Camp UniStar opened its arms to its Energizer Bunny Management Committee on Memorial Day 2021, and shortly thereafter, to its creative staff and faithful campers. Little did we know how important it was to have time together again on Star Island and remind ourselves of the importance of being at camp.

The pandemic was never far from the minds of staff and campers and was brought to the forefront of concern on only one occasion. In-depth mitigation measures (e.g., limited group sizes, additional outdoor dining and activity options, masking) were practiced summer long and likely contributed to the lack of transmission at camp. Due to all these measures camp activities remained uninterrupted. It was a hats-off moment for the Health and Safety Committee, staff, and campers.

The summer hosted 338 campers over the course of nine 6-day family weeks. A typical camp season will bring around 600 campers to the island. In 2021 we created smaller household pods to ensure social distancing within the cabins. Additionally, we did not hold our usual two youth weeks.

While there was no formal programming, much was done to further the camp vision: Cherishing the Island, Belonging at Camp, Inspiring Action in the World. A video about Line 3 was screened every week, stimulating discussion among audience members. Former Camp Director Ben Joselyn visited camp during his break from being on the front lines of Line 3 protests. The totem poles were retired with proper ceremony and with the endorsement of the artist’s daughter, Holly Weaver. Staff discussed with campers the topic of micro-aggressions to better understand and eliminate them.

The summer lived up to its recipe for fun, relaxation, and beauty. Of course, the most fun to be had was concocted during the more informal Children’s Program, with a pinch of Youth (12-18-year old) ribaldry. Eight-year old Ivy said that the best part of the week was raiding the cardboard dumpster for medieval outfit construction materials (to which liberal amounts of duct tape were applied). Sunsets never failed to attract campers and were again the photographers’ favorite. Staff kept everyone up-to-date about camp through a weekly Camp Nugget, which was distributed via email to our mailing list. It was a delightful glimpse to life on the island.

The Consent and Culture Task Force and anti-racism group continued their work, bringing issues for discussion throughout the year to the Management Committee and Board of Directors. This work will be a continued focus for the organization in 2022.

We are looking forward to a return to a full camp season in 2022.