In This Issue:
Board of Trustees
Linda Sterner, 
Board Chair
Jim Becker,  Recording Secretary
Lem Arnold,  Corporate Secretary 
Rob Marcy,  Financial Advisor 
Kathleen Anderson
Eunice Benton
Chris Breivogel
Rev. Chris Buice 
Kit Hamblen
David Hudson
Peter Kandis
Jay Kiskel
Rev. Sherman Logan Jr.
Mani Subramanian 
Erin Thompson
Cathlean Utzig
Mountain Programs Calendar

March 25 - 27

April 4 - 7
Southern Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association ( SEUUMA)

April 22 - 24 
Gay Spirit Visions (GSV)

May 11 - 15
UU WomenSpirit

May 22 - 27

May 27 - 29
July 11 - 15
Liberal Religious
Educators Association (LREDA)

July 24 - August 1
October 2 - 7
October 19 - 23

November 14 -17
Southern Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (SEUUMA)

November 22 - 27
2016 MountainCamp Schedule

Beginning Camp (6-8) 
June 19-June 25 

Elementary I (9-11) 
June 12-June 18 

Elementary II (9-11) 
June 12-June 25 

Intermediate I (11-13) 
June 26-July 2

Intermediate II (11-13) 
June 26-July 9

Sr. High I (14-17) 
July 10-16 

Sr. High II (14-17) 
July 10-23

Explorers (12-14)
July 10-23

Outdoor Skills & Adventure (14-17)
June 26-July 9

June 19-July 23

Counselors in Training
June 12-July 23

MountainCamp: A UU Summer Experience!

  • Hike and swim on the Highlands Plateau
  • Sing, dance, and celebrate life
  • Learn, laugh, have fun!
  • Create art, music, crafts and games
  • Play, explore, expand your horizons
  • Make new friends and new memories!
Why Camp is Great for Children
If you've been to camp, you're not surprised to hear about the benefits of summer camp.
But if you didn't go to camp as a child, you may not realize just how good the experience is for children. Here is a list of the most important reasons to send your kids to camp.
At camp,children:
10. Spend their day being physically active
9. Experience success and become more confident
8. Gain resiliency
7. Explore new interest 
6. Develop life-long skills
5. Grow more independent
4. Have free time for unstructured play
3. Learn social skills
2. Reconnect with nature
1. Make true friends
See? Camp is great!
A Snapshot of a Typical Day at MountainCamp

There is a lot of energy that goes into a day at MountainCamp.
  • 8:00-Breakfast
  • Wake up, enjoy your most important meal of the day!
  • 9:00-Cabin Inspection
  • Work with your cabin mates to make your home away from home sparkle!
  • 9:30-Morning Circle a MountainCamp Tradition.
  • 10:00-12:00 Workshops & Trips
  • Choose your workshops. Just a few are
  • Gross Science, Nerd, Spy, Friendship Bracelets, Pottery, Canoeing, Arts & Crafts and Many More! Each camper chooses one of the Mountain Trips each week, which include hiking,swimming and field trips to local galleries, events and educational services.
  • 12:00-Lunch
  • 1:15-Free Activities
  • Choose from Field games, lake play, hikes or arts & crafts.
  • 3:30-Reflection
  • A time to unwind and reflect on your day by listening to calming music,stories or a short session of yoga.
  • 4:00-5:00-Siesta
  • Quiet time in the cabins, take that much needed nap, catch up on your read or write your letters to home.
  • 5:15-Dinner
  • Eat up on our scrumptious selections from the Mountain Kitchen!
  • 6:45-Evening Programs
  • Always fun, always action packed. Just a few of the programs and games that go on are: Casino Night, Fort Building, Story Telling with David Novak, Appalachian Folk Music with Lee Knight, Campfires & Cabin Presents. Also, we can't forget to mention the end of camp dance! Dress up, be silly and have fun!
  • 8:00- Vespers
  • It's the end of the day and we like to come together as a community. During vespers we plan activities that bring out the best in ourselves and each other.
  • 8:30 Family Council
  • get to know your cabin mates deeper with counselor led activities that allows lifetime bonds to be made with your MountainCamp family.
  • 9:15- Lights out!

MountainCamp Scholarship
Please help us enable more children to benefit from MountainCamp.

Thanks to an anonymous donation of $5,000 we are closer to reaching our goal of $15,000 to assist campers in financial need for camp this summer. We are now $7,000 from reaching our goal. Donate today to help a camper attend camp this summer.
Are you a family in need of a scholarship?
  • Up to 50% of the camp fee may be awarded. There is a limit of one session per camper. 
  • Tuition scholarship forms must be submitted to MountainCamp prior to March 31st.  Visit our website for more information.
Planning a Congregational Retreat

Several first time retreat planners have requested information on planning a Congregational retreat at The Mountain. Our thanks to Larry Wheeler and Nancy Heath of the UU Congregation of Asheville for sharing their experiences in a step by step manner.
  • Select a date with your Minister, DRE, President and Music Director. (Try to come up with two dates that will work for all)
  • Call The Mountain Sales and Marketing department to see your date choices are available. Your contact person is Nancy Plate and she can be reached at 828 526 5838 ext. 250 or by emailing [email protected]
  • Identify a detail-oriented person who will step up and serve as retreat coordinator. That person is responsible for signing our booking agreement and will be the point of contact.
  • Determine if you want to handle registration through the church office or if you want to use The Mountain's on-line registration system (our recommendation).
  • Carefully plan your promotion via your newsletter, your website, your bulletin board and The Mountain's website. Begin as early as possible with a "save the date" article followed by monthly information as you build the retreat. The Mountain can design and post a flyer, schedule and registration link right on our website's calendar page for you.
  • Developing the Program- Our standard weekend format includes 6 meals, starting with dinner Friday evening at 7 PM (preceded by Social Hour from 6 - 7 PM); ending with lunch on Sunday at Noon.
  • Saturday typically has Morning Circle, workshops and a hike embedded into the schedule. The coordinator will need to recruit the right people to lead these activities.
  • If your retreat group includes families with children then you will need to organize children's activities and/or child care. 
  • Sunday usually features a Worship Service. The Mountain has pianos and hymnals.

During your last meal you will be asked to fill out a short survey of your overall experience.Please take the time to fill it out as it is a training tool for staff.

March 25, 2016

Greetings From Ted Wisniewski,
 Executive Director

I can hardly believe that it is already the end of March and things are really ramping up on top of Little Scaly. We ended the 2015 retreat season in December with Breathing Heart Sangha and opened the 2016 season with Gay Spirit Visions, 
Americorps followed by two Youth CONS as well as Ontario Cycling Group,who in March returned for their second year,. The inside of the Tree House was painted by our friends from the Piedmont Congregation. Their synergy moved The Mountain out of its winter mode giving us the jump-start 
needed to clean up, fix up and sign up for our 2016 programs.
I know I am a bit biased, but our annual Mountain programs just keep getting stronger.  Easter / Work weekend, Appalachian Spring, Homecoming, MountainCamp Intergenerational Week and SUFFI provide wonderful options for all ages and interests.. We are currently busy taking registrations, securing talent and finalizing programming.  Don't miss out!  
All of our programs are special, but our Youth Programs are so important to our mission, not only to the future of The Mountain but to the future of our society. If you have ever been an advisor, PAL, or participant you know first hand what an enlightening experience it can be. Kids find themselves in an emotionally safe environment where they can share and explore their ever changing world.  

The magic that happens needs to be seen and felt firsthand. My written words will not give it the justice it deserves. I can, however, tell you a personal story illustrating the positive power of our programs. Many of you know my four year old son, Daniel. During the Elementary CON this spring he experienced the organic love that grows here. It was Saturday night, I was looking forward to an early night, but Daniel had his heart set on participating in the coffee house. I told him that if he got Megan's permission to participate, we would go. Well that was all Daniel needed. Within the hour I was sitting in the Tree House anxious about what he might say.  I overheard him tell someone that he was going to sing a creepy song. Later, his name was called; he stood silently on stage for a moment, introduced himself and started. It was a mixture of Jack the Pumpkin King and Hobby Kids, but 100% Daniel. I honestly didn't know whether to cringe, laugh or just be proud. When he was done, like all the coffee houses before, everyone cheered and applauded. Daniel walked off the stage happy and proud. He was touched by the pure positivity that The Mountain offers. I know this because a few performers later when a young lady sang, she returned to her seat only to burst out with an emotional thank you. Daniel turned and told her that her song was beautiful. This positive, play it forward mentality and reinforcement happens throughout the day during our youth programs. It allows kids to challenge their fears and shape their perspectives. To try their best as many times as it takes to discover what they love. That is the fiber of our Youth and Mountain programs. It is why I am so disappointed that the Youth Con numbers have been down. 
The beckoning question: What needs to be done so more kids can experience this sanctuary?. The best answers always start with asking ourselves: What can I do to make a difference? As the Executive Director I need to figure out ways, make the time, and allocate the money to get myself and Mountain staff in front of parents and kids. I need to inspire our staff, our Mountain Movers and Mountain Stewards. I need to ensure that our staff  provides the information, flyers, and the tools to every Mountain cheerleader in order to get the word out on the best kept secret in southern Appalachia.      
What can you do? Each of you have time, treasure and talents. Share them with us and for us. 
  • Share your stories
  • Inspire a parent to become a youth adviser
  • Set up a Mountain table in the foyer of your congregation
  • Have a Mountain Sunday
  • Plan a retreat
  • Donate and volunteer.

Every action no matter the size makes a difference to our success.   


Ted Wisniewski     
Mountain Matters
Endowment Fund News
Beverly Cree
Mountain Stewardship includes the  Annual Campaign, providing for current operations and basic maintenance. The Endowment Fund, another piece of Stewardship, is an opportunity to commit the resources you have worked for throughout your life to provide for the long-term viability of our beloved Mountain for future generations.
We are very appreciative of Mountain members,both  "Visionaries" and "Transformers" who have  included the Endowment Fund in estate plans - from $1,000 to $2 million. Please consider including the Fund in your estate plans.

Plan to join us for Mountain Homecoming during Memorial weekend to enjoy this special place and connect with Mountain friends. During the Annual Meeting and the following   Endowment Fund hosted social hour, more information will be provided.
Please talk with Endowment Fund Board members about how you can be involved or email [email protected]
Appalachian Spring 2016
May 22 - 27
The first European settlers in our Highland Plateau of the Appalachian Mountains brought artful and useful skills including  Toy Making, Woodworking, Gardening and Crafts.  Join us to re-discover your inherited talents and carry home your handiwork for "show and tell".
Improve your Ballad Singing, Storytelling, & Outdoors Skills.
The daily schedule will include many sessions, drop-in, all day, morning, afternoon, etc.  You arrange your week to your interests and desires!
Hiking Daily: Easy or Moderate on nearby Cherokee Trails and local excursions.
Evening Performances include: 2 Concerts, Games, Dance & Storytelling
Sign up at Get $25 discount for early registration.
4, 5 and 6 day packages priced at $370, $465, & $560, respectively.
Coordinators: Phil Sterner ( [email protected]and Guerry McConnell ( [email protected] )
Renewed Feeling of Community.
Your Soul Surging & Soaring!!!

Homecoming Weekend
May 27 - 30

May 27 - 30

Join u s for The Mountain's Annual Homecoming Weekend. This Memorial Day tradition is an inter-generational 3-night weekend full of fun and family with a little bit of work mixed in. Enjoy hiking, games,  music, bonfire and more. The Mountain Board of Trustees gathers on thi s special weekend for the Spring Quarterly Board Meeting when the 2015 Annual Report is presented to Trustees and Members  on Saturday  afternoon. 
Family Friendly Program Prices:
4 day/3 Night Package
  • Adult: $280
  • Youth 8 - 17: $105
  • Children 0 - 7: FREE!
Commuters Welcome! $50 for 3 meals and programming.
No Cost to Attend the Annual Meeting ($15.00 lunch if not paying commuter rate).

 Family Camp and 80's MountainCamp Reunion
July 24 - 31

A Camp for families and friends of all ages to come together to enjoy MountainCamp activities. Grandparents, parents, and children are all welcome!   

Did you work or attend MountainCamp in the 80's? This year we are having an 80's MountainCamp Reunion during the weekend of Family Camp! Register today, spaces fill fast!!
Activities include: workshops, crafts, music, singing, hiking, campfires, storytelling.

Plenty of time for relaxation and reflection and making memories that last a lifetime. 

7-Day Per Person: Adult $526; Youth and Teens (7-17) $245

5-Day Per Person: Adult $376; Youth & Teens (7-17) $175

Weekend Package: Adults $150; Youth & Teens (7-17) $70
Children under 6 years of age-no charge 
SUUFI 2016
October 2-7, 2016

Southern Unitarian Universalist Fall Institute
The Mountain
Highlands, NC

Please keep us fit physically and mentally. Those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humor. Play energizes us and enlivens eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities." Stuart Brown, MD 

You are invited  on a creative quest to better understand how, at this stage of life, we  play.

Come for a colorful autumn week as we explore
Creative Play
in the form of  games, art, conversations, stories and life-styles, all while expanding  your comfort zone in the safe haven of The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center.

"The  playing adult steps sideward into another reality"...
Erik H Erikson

David Novak,award-winning UU storyteller who started the Disney Institute, is a Key Presenter, weaving his creative skills with ours to "bring out the best in us."  

Mindy Simmons well-known musician from SUUSI and Florida  
brings her playful approach to music inspiring us to sing, dance, hoot, and enjoy ourselves and each other.

Other Presenters, also accomplished in their creative and exploration skills, will beckon us to break our chains, bust out of our boxes, and venture into playfulness!

Typical of SUUFI, the schedule balances Mind and Body. Short morning sessions link to week-long endeavor in hands-on, thought provoking, and heart-felt pursuits. Solitude and sharing characterize this week-long retreat. Community emerges as insights deepen.

"It is a happy talent to know how to play."
 Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sign up at
$25 discount for early registration before August 1
4 Day $375
5 Day $465
6 Day $560
November 23 - 27
Let us worry about the cooking and cleaning this year.
 Enjoy a relaxing Thanksgiving with your Mountain Family.

Make your reservations now
This weekend is always a SELL-OUT!

Meet our Garden Interns
Introducing Sukhin Chawla
I am from India where I began my first career as a broadcast journalist delivering news/current affairs, and shows on special interest topics that were broadcast throughout India.

I also write articles for various international magazines, journals and blog.
More recently I have worked with the USDA as a Botany intern. The majority of my work consisted of riparian vegetation monitoring: plant species presence, cover estimation by species within Daubenmire frames, ground cover, tree dbh assessments. In addition, I surveyed native seeds, assembled-dissembled weather stations, white bark pine surveys, livestock range assessments and collected and weighed plant biomass.
My project emphasis at The Mountain is finding a US Farmer's market for Millets, which is my Master Thesis Project at Kansas   State University where I am pursuing Master of Agricultural business course online.
I am excited to be here as I find networking and connecting to diverse people very important in the globalized world. We need to be more acceptable, open and positive learning things from every culture.
Introducing Lee Tipton
I grew up in Tuscaloosa, AL and graduated last year from the University of Alabama with a Bachelors degree in Art with a concentration in painting.
While in school I worked part time at a paint-your-own-pottery shop called All Fired Up, as well as at a criminal defense attorney's office. My most recent job was a part time job as a barista in the local Barnes & Noble café which allowed me more time to work on my art and prepare for graduate school.

I learned about The Mountain through a friend. He informed me of a position that was opening as a gardening intern and I immediately thought that would be a great experience for me during my hiatus from school. The opportunity to work outside and learn the invaluable skill of gardening was one that I could not pass up.

My main goals for my work on The Mountain are to learn as much as I can about organic gardening while also providing a helpful hand throughout the spring and summer. While attempting to achieve both of those goals I am hoping that I will be given the opportunity to learn more about myself, as this is my first year away from home as well as my first year out of school.

I am hoping to find out more about what I value during my time at The Mountain, however, I believe the most important thing in life is to live your life to the fullest and to remain open to all positive learning experiences.
Introducing Rin Willocks
I was born in Atlanta, GA but raised in Nashville, TN. My previous jobs include being a bookseller, carnival worker, plant care associate, camp counselor, carpenter, and roller derby coach. I am a Wilderness First Responder and some of my hobbies include rugby, roller derby, poetry, baking, and writing. I went to school at Warren Wilson College majoring in Outdoor Leadership.

I have loved the Mountain since I first participated in a program in 2012. I keep coming back because of the supportive community and spiritual healing this place has to offer.

I would like to further my knowledge in gardening and also do my best to give back to this community that has done so much for me.

Being at peace with oneself and finding happiness are important to me.
The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center | 828 526 5838 | [email protected] |
3872 Dillard Road
P.O. Box 1299
Highlands, NC 28741