Board of Trustee News

Linda Sterner,
Board Chair

I have just returned home from The Mountain after having attending our Annual Homecoming weekend.  It was as wonderful as always.  The annual membership meeting was a highlight for me.  The Tree House was filled with loyal members, many of whom were sitting in our brand new comfortable chairs for the first time.  The chairs, which were made locally using sustainable manufacturing practices, were a gift from our Mountain Endowment Board. The Endowment Board also hosted a lovely reception immediately after the meeting.  An anonymous benefactor provided a delicious and beautifully catered hors d'oeuvres and wine buffet in lieu of our traditional social time. 
The theme (unplanned) of the day turned out to be "Gratitude".  From the opening words by former Mountain camper turned camp staffer, Loren Teachey, to the closing report by our new Development Director, Laurel Amabile, each board or staff member who stood up to speak expressed sincere gratitude to those present and those only with us in spirit who have shaped and sustained our beloved Mountain.

It was with gratitude, respect and a little sadness that we said goodbye to 4 board members this weekend. Though their terms have ended as board members, we know they will be around The Mountain as guests and volunteers for years to come.

Lem Arnold  has served as an elected trustee for two terms, a total of six years.  
Lem has provided very valuable insight as this board has transitioned from emergency-mode 
to sustain-and-grow-mode.  Lem also has a gift for capturing the physical beauty of this space 
with his photography.  His photos often remind us to enjoy the simple pleasure of just being on 
The Mountain, in addition to working hard for it's future. 

Mani Subramanian has served on the Board since 2012.  As part of the Institutional Advancement Team,Mani played a key role in ensuring that The Mountain hadsuccessful Annual Campaigns each year.  Mani also knows the power of The Mountain community to influence change. He is the co-founder of the Mountain Mover campaign, which has helped to ensure The Mountain has a voice far beyond it's physical campus. 

Eunice Benton has served on the Board since 2012.  She is the other co-founder of the Mountain Mover campaign.  Her relationship with the UU community has played a very important role in helping The Mountain family tree to maintain its 
UU roots and extend new branches to the UU community.  Eunice's success in establishing a Nominating Committee that includes non-Board members, is just one example of her passion to make sure The Mountain and it's boards are in good health. 
Chris Breivogel has stepped out from the Board of Trustees but remains with us in the position of recording secretary.
The meeting was preceded by lots of fun and entertaining activities. Friday and Saturday evening were organized by our Program Director, Megan Quattelbaum.  The Board of Trustees conducted necessary business in open sessions held in the Commons on Saturday and Sunday morning. Saturday evening was packed with great activities and Sunday morning included a traditional service in the Memorial Garden and worship in the Great Room led by Rev. Ernie Mills.
Additionally, the Trustees hosted an afternoon session each day where we invited attending  members present to describe their vision for The Mountain in the coming years. Input from these Strategic Planning meetings (aka Fabulous Future Forums)will be combined with plans the Board outlined during our last two board meetings.  In June we will share a preliminary plan with the full membership via email and gather even more feedback.  Hopefully by our meeting in August, the board will have gathered enough input from members and staff to create and publish a Strategic Plan.  Shepherding this process is a Strategic Planning Committee comprised of both board and non-board Mountain members.  We are still looking for a few more committee members.  If you have interest and a willingness to be on the committee, please contact me asap at [email protected]. Most of the work will be done via teleconferences and email during the summer.
As I said during the Annual Meeting, I am extremely grateful to all of you for allowing me to serve The Mountain.  I look forward to another fantastic year and hope to see each of you at The Mountain soon.

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
The Mountain's 2015 Annual Report
The Mountain's Board of Trustees and Staff are proud to present the 2015 Annual Report. 
To read the full report, click here.
Mountain Programs Calendar

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 (ages 6-8) 
June 19-June 25 

Elementary I (ages 9-11) 
June 12-June 18 

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

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

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

Sr. High I (ages 14-17) 
July 10-16 

Sr. High II (ages 14-17) 
July 10-23

Explorers (ages 12-14)
July 10-23

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

June 19-July 23

Counselors in Training
June 12-July 23

Development News

From Laurel Amabile, The Mountain's 
Development Director

It feels so wonderful to be back at The Mountain in my new role as Development Director!
As in any new role, I know it will take some time to get to know each of you and the families that are a part of the Mountain Community, especially after being away from the area for ten years.
Fortunately, there are a great many people still active in Mountain leadership and programs with whom I am eager to reconnect. If you and I have not yet met, I look forward to seeing you and getting to know you in the weeks and months to come. Ted, the Mountain staff, and Board leaders have been very welcoming, helping to orient me to current operations, people, and programs.
Springtime is a busy time in our Mountain Development Office. It is a true pleasure to be working with Alexandria Willocks, who manages our donor database and communications, and Dave Hudson who leads the Institutional Advancement and Mountain Stewards teams.

By now you should have received communications about our 2016 annual funding appeal. We are fortunate to have such loyal and generous members, guests, and volunteers whom we hear from year in and year out. Thank you so very much for your involvement and support!

We are in the midst of boosting our scholarship support for all children and youth who would like to come to a MountainCamp this summer, but need a scholarship to make it happen. About $9,700 has already been donated, and we must raise another $4,000 to meet the scholarship requests we are receiving from camper families. One new and exciting way we are raising MountainCamp scholarships is through social media and Faithify, a UU online crowd-funding program. Our funding campaign on Faithify is called "Give Kids a MountainCamp Experience This Summer!" I hope you will join me in supporting this worthy project by making a pledge online at between now and June 24th, when the campaign ends.
There are several ways I will be focusing my work to strengthen our Mountain Community and engage our donors in positive and affirming ways. I will be supporting the work of the Mountain Movers program, which reaches out into the UU congregations in the region to share news of this special place and its programs. I will be communicating in person with those coming to The Mountain, and with everyone in our community via our website, Facebook page, and electronic news updates and giving opportunities on an ongoing basis.
I will be working with our new team of Mountain Stewards to reach out to over 150 of our loyal donors in the coming weeks. We want to express appreciation on behalf of The Mountain for your support and are eager to hear your stories abo ut your Mountain experiences and ideas for its future. Please do keep  in touch-I'd love to hear from you!
With Gratitude and Best Wishes,
[email protected]
phone: 828-526-5838 ext. 254

Be a Part of The Mountain Legacy
The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center exists today because of the amazing generosity and commitment of our founding members and donors on whose vision and legacy we build today.

If The Mountain has touched your life or the lives of your family members in meaningful and transforming ways, you can pass the Legacy of The Mountain on to future generations by making a planned gift.

For example, it may work for you to make a bequest in your will, make The Mountain the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or retirement fund, or specify a percentage of your estate. Making a legacy gift doesn't need to be overly complicated, but does need planning in advance.
One great way UU donors can make a planned gift to The Mountain is through the Unitarian Universalist Association's Umbrella Giving Program. Our Development Director can help connect you with this and other planned giving resources.  Contact Laurel Amabile, Development Director, [email protected] or (828) 526-5838.
You, or Your Congregations Can Give a Child A MountainCamp Experience This Summer
At The Mountain we believe that all kids benefit from a great camp experience. For over 35 years, MountainCamp has provided great camp experiences for hundreds of young UUs. Between now and June 24th, we have the opportunity to help at least eight children and youth to get to MountainCamp who may not otherwise be able to participate. Our goal is to raise $3,800 to supplement scholarship funds already generously donated, to meet the growing needs this summer.
Support MountainCamp Scholarships through Faithify by making your online contribution today!
FAITHIFY is a crowd-funding program inspired by Unitarian Universalist principles and values with a goal of inspiring a culture of innovation in and beyond congregations. Faithify helps to ignite creative new ministries and programs that make a difference in people's lives and communities. This is The Mountain's first time in using Faithify, and you can help make this campaign successful-THANK YOU!

Welcome New Staff 
Welcome Chef Madison "Matt" Wright IV
I am so happy to be your new Chef at The Mountain. I was born in Athens, GA but raised all over NC, SC, and GA, moving many times as a child. I often came to Highlands on weekends and summers and grew up appreciating the natural beauty around me and felt a deep connection to this land and the bounty it provides.  I emerged from adolescence having discovered my true passion was working with this beautiful force of nature to nurture people through preparing food. Initially I was fascinated with baking and worked in an apprenticeship specializing in gluten-free products. For the past several years I worked as the sous-chef at The Ugly Dog Pub in Highlands and will be forever grateful the opportunities and experience I was given there. My cooking focuses on nutrition and medicine through food and a respect for ingredients.
I chose to come work at The Mountain for the opportunity to work with good, like-minded people. I couldn't agree more with The Mountain's core values and mission. I hope I make a lasting contribution here fostering a future of peace, acceptance and love.
My professional goaI is to work with The Mountain to have a greater positive impact on future generations through educating, inspiring, and instilling an appreciation for Mother Nature. Food is the best medicine and I believe that it is a crucial piece on our path to cultural healing and growth.
Family, Friends, and Food are important ingredients of a good life. I believe we can all succeed in our quests for happiness if we work together, not against each other. Of course, we work together better with happy tummies.
Welcome Building & Grounds Director
Russell Hunnewell

The oldest boy of five children I was born in a small town in Maine. I was instilled with an early sense of responsibility as I was expected to care for my siblings . My summer jobs were working at my grandmothers restaurant and on the tour boats in Portland Harbour. I went to College at San Francisco State University where I Majored in Hotel Mgt. and Buisiness.

For 20 yearts I travelled in the hotel business working for either Hyatt or Westin Resorts in  Hawaii, California, Boston, Nantucket.  For the last 20 years I have had my own very succesful building and contracting business in Atlanta. 

I am a life- long Unitarian, as well as a Life Member of The Mountain where for the past 23 years I have served from time to time as a volunteer.

My goal is to spend the next 4 years working on The Mountain and to  retire at 63 to rural Maine to be with my family. The Mountain has been a place of joy and retreat for me for many years. and I look forward to giving back something of myself  to this most special place 

Mountain Staffers
Joe Will Field & Lee  Tipton
Mr. & Mrs. Joe Will Field
Married May 22, 2016 in Greensboro, Alabama
with Mountain Staff attending
Many Hands Peace Farm
New Regular at
Highlands Farmer's Market
By Sukhin Chawla, Farm Intern  

Chirping birds, clear blue sky and a sunny May 1st day. W hat more could you ask for The Mountain's debut of participating as a vendor at the Highlands Farmer's Market? After the harvest was prepared for the big day, the interns and Farm Manager packed the jeep and went to town. There was excitement and pride in setting up the tent and stall display to show off our fresh produce and mountain items. 
The Highlands Farmers Market is committed to offering fresh, produce and goods including; freshly baked breads, flowers, handmade gifts, ready to eat foods and so much more. We were proud to be a part of it and the  community response is overwhelming!  
Our first Farmer's Market with Bill Hagemann and Suhkin Chawla (not pictured)

The Many Hands Peace Farm has been offering fresh food to feed our guests for years,however, this summer is different as Many Hand Peace Farm has successfully displayed the farm produce,sold, and made a profit at the Highland's Farmer's Market.  The purpose is not only to sell farm's produce but also strengthen the networking among the community of Highlands.  
 For the past month, our staff  has been selling fresh eggs, violas, cut flowers, raspberry tea, immune tea, lettuce mix, red mustard, raspberry plants, strawberry plants, walking sticks and mountain books.  As the Mountain's name has become branded in the Market, the garden team has already made hundreds of dollars selling food and non-food items. The raspberry teas made by intern Rin Willocks have been very popular. The raspberry plants, lettuce mix, and eggs have also sold well. We have also found a customer demand for live  herb plants and we are responding by making those available for purchase.
Bill talking with customers about The Mountain and Many Hands Peace Farm
As the growing season transitions, there will be more harvest such as strawberries, melons, squash, beans, cut flowers, herbs, pumpkins, tomatoes, etc. 
If you are in Highlands, come check us out! The Market opens every Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm. Enjoy the company of local vendors and farmers along with your family and friends as it is the best place to be on Saturday mornings in Highlands.
Meet Mountain Intern & Tea Maker Extraordinaire Rin Willocks
Farm intern, Rin Willocks, has been making herbal teas as part of her personal project for the farming internship. She has specialized with two kinds.  One is a raspberry leaf tea that is high in iron, magnesium, and potassium. This kind of tea is especially good for women but can also be beneficial for men as well. The second variety is an immunity boosting tea made from dandelion leaves yarrow, usnea, and hemlock leaves (collected from fallen limbs). This concoction is full of vitamins as well antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

All the plants used in the teas come directly from the Mountain's very own, Many Hands Peace Farm. The tea has been a big hit at both the camp store and the local farmer's market in Highlands. The tea is new addition to the farm's effort to expand their revenue potential and is already showing significant promise.

Some might wonder what the process is behind making this tea? The herbs are harvested, washed, and laid out to dry. Sometimes this drying process is helped along with a conventional oven kept at a low temperature and the door slightly ajar. After this, the tea is ready for bagging.  All od rhw bagging is done by hand, and then is ready for sale. With the popularity in American consumption of tea on the rise, this is an exciting new venture for the expanding Many Hand's Peace Farm. 
UP  on The Mountain
Pink Lady's Slipper
Cypripedium acaule
Lady Slippers growing near the Tower. Photo credit: Mark Gramlich
Pink Lady's Slipper is an interesting wildflower in the Orchid Family. They are endangered in some areas because they take a long time to grow, and because people collect them.
This plant has only two leaves . They are green and branch out from the center of the plant. A single flower stalk also grows from the center.

The deep pink flower , which many people say looks like a slipper, grows about three inches long. Unlike most flowers you see, this flower is closed tightly except for a small opening in the front.

Pink Lady's Slippers grow in shady forests under pine trees, oaks, Red Maple, and Sweetgum. Some other plants that grow alongside them include Greenbrier and Sassafras.
Pink Lady's Slipper is a food source for several insects and White-tailed Deer.
Mountain Executive, Ted Wisniewski
I would like to start my segment by saying Thank You.  As many of you know it was the Thursday night before the Annual Meeting last year that my mother passed.  Your emotional, spiritual and professional support gave me strength and peace during a challenging time.  For that I am thankful.

Every year Queen Elizabeth gives a Christmas greeting; in this past year's speech she stated "It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness"*.  There are many who lit The Mountain's candles. They did not curse the darkness five years ago; they transformed it, with their strength, their confidence and their faith allowing us to be meeting today in this sacred place.

These past five years, have been five years of emotion, introspect, connection,and healing. So, for the lives that were saved because you lit the candle, for those who found their heart because you lit the candle, and for those who found their home- because you lit the candle. I say thank you.

Most of you know I spent two decades working with youth - during that time it was always easy to take a dysfunctional group and bring them out of chaos - the challenge was taking them from fair to good and good to great. That's where we find ourselves today- at times we are good, at times fair but we are striving for greatness.

Striving to be great is hard and we've had our ups and downs. The following is a short list of the steps we took this past year, 
  • Made our budget and paid all 2015 bills with 2015 money
  • Strides in our infrastructure- Lodge- ropes course- hand rails
  • Building winter and spring business
  • Our quality of service to groups - Guests feeling a sense of family
  • Giving youth & adults a safe nurturing place to gather
  • Strong volunteer effort with over 150 volunteers
  • Revamped website
  • MountainCamp staff being involved with Mountain retreat programs
  • Debt free - only two annuities left
Going forward - these are the benchmarks that I am looking to accomplish in 2016
  • Lodge - replacing Great Room and Library windows and resurfacing Sally's deck
  • Bank account - savings that cover 3 months of bills
  • Staff stability - competitive wages
  • Consistency in our delivery and quality of service
In closing, there is an old saying - that says "anything that is true - lasts" The Mountain has lasted because what we do here, and  what is taught here is true.  
Today's society can be a dark and challenging place, so it's natural to fear what we don't know or understand. To navigate a path through the darkness often takes guidance. 
The Mountain provides that guidance lighting the path and lighting the candle is something I believe we do so well. We've done it the past 37 years and with your support we continue to light the candle tod ay and for the future.
Thank you
*"It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness" has a long history. Although the modern use of the quote is attributed to Adlai Stevenson, who used it in a UN address about Eleanor Roosevelt in 1962, it appears it could come from The Christophers, a men's mission group that began in 1945 or may be an old Chinese proverb. 

Theodore D. Wisniewski
Executive Director 

Meet Newly Elected Board of Trustees
Nathalie Bigord  is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett in Lawrenceville, GA, where she has found her spiritual home since moving from New York to Georgia in 2007. She has served on the Board of Trustees, chaired several committees, and has been an active member of the Social Justice Committee and Welcoming Congregation Task Force. She has also served on the district level as a member of the Mid-South District Board, been a small group facilitator at SUULE (Southern UU Leadership Experience), is currently serving on the  Southern Region Elders Development Team,  and with much enthusiasm is looking forward to be being a part of the Mountain Retreat & Learning Center Board of Trustees.
Rev. Julie Kain is a graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry  and competed a doctorate of ministry with a focus on racial justice education in 2015. She has been the parish minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pensacola, Florida since 2006. She has been part of the leadership of organizations in the Pensacola area, including the NW Florida PFLAG Chapter, the Faith-Based Poverty Solutions Team and the Interfaith Housing Coalition. Prior to that she served two UU congregations in California and was a member of the Eno River UU congregation in Durham, NC. She has served on the UUA Mid-South District Board. Julie has been on the staff of Leadership School and has participated in workshops and events at The Mountain several times in recent years and is delighted to join the leadership of The Mountain! 
Gail Sphar is a longtime leader in the Southern Region of the UUA and its predecessor, the Mid-South District, of which she was a board member and President. Her professional
career was in Human Resources and Administration. Today she is a Southern Region Healthy Congregations Consultant and has facilitated board retreats, staff start-ups, organizational structuring sessions and Congregational Presidents Convocations. She has also served as a facilitator for the Southern UU Leadership Experience (SUULE) at The Mountain. 

Gail and her husband are members of First UU Church of Nashville, TN, where Gail serves as chair of the Leadership Development Committee, is a member of the Committee for the Larger Faith, and a worship associate. Gail served two years as a non-board member of The Mountain's Nominating Committee and has been impressed with the remarkable work that has been done to revitalize and strengthen The Mountain, both physically and organizationally. She is honored to be nominated for a board position and looks forward to serving this exceptional place for Unitarian Universalists.
In Memoriam
Roger D. Johnson
Life time Mountain Supporter

Roger D. Johnson, JR, 
85, of Atlanta, passed away on April 22 after a short battle with heart failure. 

Roger, the son of Roger Johnson, Sr. and Margaret Hall Johnson, was born in Richmond, VA.  After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School, he attended Dartmouth College and The University of Virginia where he obtained his Ph.D. in mathematics.

He married Jean Ellen Strauss in June 1955.  They relocated to Atlanta in 1956 where he became a professor of advanced mathematics at Georgia Tech and taught for 38 years before retiring in 1994.  After his retirement, Roger and Jean were able to do a fair amount of traveling.  Most dear to Roger were his annual summer trips to his ancestral home in Boscawen, NH. 

Roger was a lifelong Unitarian.  As a prominent member and Eco pioneer of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta (UUCA) and Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation (NWUUC), he was one of the key founders of the environmental outdoors group Ens & Outs associated with UUCA that still introduces members to the beautiful and diverse environment of Georgia and adjacent southeastern states.  Because of Roger, Ens & Outs joined, donated to and worked for environmental groups protecting Atlanta's and Georgia's mountains and parks.  Roger focused especially on Georgia water sources through his membership in the Georgia Water Coalition.

Until he passed away, Roger actively communicated important environmental news to the Ens & Outs members and themembers of Earth Ministry, the active Earth care team of NWUUC.   As a member of NWUUC, Roger was not only a member of Earth Ministry but also very involved with the Northwest Endowment Committee.

After 60 years of marriage, Roger is survived by his wife, Jean Johnson.  He also leaves behind his two daughters: Eleanor H Johnson (Walter Knights) and Helen J Staniewicz (Gregory Staniewicz).  Also left to cherish his memory are his two granddaughters Ashley Estes (Andrew Estes) and Natalie Staniewicz, his grandson Nicholas Staniewicz, and great granddaughter Estella Estes.   Roger was preceded in death by his son Alan E. Johnson (Nicole Johnson).

A memorial service for Roger was held Sunday, May 15th at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to "The Mountain" (Highlands, NC), The Nature Conservancy, Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation or Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta.
 Family Camp and 80's MountainCamp Reunion
July 24 - 31

A Camp for families and friends of all ages to come together and 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, 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 
Southern Unitarian Universalist Fall Institute
October 2-7, 2016

Keynote Sessions
Serving as this year's SUUFI co-coordinator
 is David Novack, award-winning presenter
Phil Sterner
SUUFI Co-Coordinat
and storyteller who embodies the word."creative". David, a UU from Asheville, NC, with recent appearances in Poland and stateside, is an original contributor to Disney Institute, David brings articulate, insightful observations and recollections to beguile and enlighten all.

Opening Night:            
"That's A Good Idea!"  Coyote Creation Story and Activity to get us primed for a week of creative play.
Monday Morning:        
"Playing With, Playing Against and Playing Along."  
A look at the schema of playing together.
Tuesday Morning:       
"Puzzling Play:Fitting the Pieces Together". An exploration
of puzzles and pieces from Tangrams to Collage.
Wednesday Morning:  
"Virtual Play: the Worlds We Create On Screen And Off".
Consideration of video games.

Thursday Morning:      "
Toying Around: Toys and Toying for Creativity and Problem-Solving."

Friday Morning:           
"Party Time: The World of Parlor Games and The Social Side of Play."

Mindy Simmons, active Music Minister for UU Church of Sarasota (FL) and perennial star performer at SUUSI, brings her light personality, rich songwriting, compassion, and talent to our 5th Annual SUUFI event.  She'll do an evening performance intermesh with David Novak's program elements,and lead workshops listed below. More about her 6 CDs on website: 

Workshop Descriptions
Strum Fun: Beginning Dulcimer  
Bill & Margaret Kleiber    
Begin playing Old Time music with the hosts of weekly dulcimer jams in Asheville, who bring their informal,supportive approach to SUUFI. They believe everyone can learn to play the dulcimer!  No background is necessary! Please try to bring your own (or borrow/rent) dulcimer. If you cannot get access to a dulcimer, enroll and let us know.  Material Cost: $3 for 12-tune music book. Optional and highly recommended to extend learning at home: $11 for Margaret Wright's first level CD available in the SUUFIMart. The Old Time approach says: "Just join the circle. All are welcome. Play for fun!"
Drumming Inspired!                                   
Lee Westbrock   
Get the feeling, get the sound, be moved, and grow your confidence in drumming with our group! Novices learn from others to impact the sound and output,as we develop with Lee's fine teaching skills to entrance ourselves and neighbors with the compelling beat of many drums among our personal collections and The Mountain's.  Lee has taught drumming for years and loves to help others learn more, so...back by strong 2015 reviews, this hour and week-long workshop will attract many participants who might (!) entertain us on Thursday.
Creating Meaningful Worship          
Karen Maidment & John Richards
  • Is meaningful worship limited to Sunday mornings?
  • Want to support your Home Congregation by providing meaningful Sunday Worship?
  • Want to make the World a better place "one sermon at a time?" 
Your coaches provide a supportive and nonjudgmental setting, plus some resources for your group to succeed in creating an impressive service at SUUFI. Both novice and experienced are strongly encouraged to participate--empowered to share personal inspirations and build spiritual community in the process. Your small group will benefit from John and Karen's 1st service, coaching and resources,then create and do1 of 3 services for fellow participants. Group planning occur at lunch, dinner, and other times.  Informally coached, each group formulates how to share what touches your inner soul, be it song, poem or life story. Perhaps you'll share a musical talent or materials from home or be inspired by Nature's majesty, This helps you perfect sharing your beliefs, creating meaningful experiences, and delivering inspiration and renewal.
Collage Exploration          
Beverly Cree                           
Collage is art made by combining materials such as photographs, paper, fabric, clippings, words, fragments of an envelope or document, ribbon, buttons, etc. onto a backing.  It may be playful, inspirational, a message, simple or complex-whatever you choose.  The 1st session will include collage samples, collage materials available, the process of collage creating, and we will start the collage process.  Additional sessions are for more in-depth work on individual collages--which may also be done anytime other than the workshop. We recommend you bring personal items to add a very special touch-photos, clippings, paper or fabric scraps, theater tickets, etc., though many materials will be available.Come to have fun & explore unlimited possibilities!
Carve Pumpkins into Art...!          
Neal Andreae                             
Paint and carve pumpkins provided (or bring your own special ones), using materials, tools, and patterns provided. Master Carver Neal is clever, detailed, and imaginative! You'll be inspired to create and display your work.Take home and show off your artistry--and/or help us create a "Pumpkin Page" photo collage.  Workshop Cost: $4.
Writing the Sacred Journey - Creative Endeavor of Spiritual Growth
Dr. Bob Deyle
Each of us has a story of inherent worth. Each of us is a mirror of eternity and a window on truth. In this workshop you will engage in the creative process of writing towards what we will become, from where we have been, and where we are today. Drawing from Elizabeth Andrew's Writing the Sacred Journey: The Art and Practice of Spiritual Memoir, and experience with a long-running small group at the UU Church of Tallahassee, Bob will introduce the spiritual practice of writing memoir. We will write to a variety of prompts and share our writings with each other in a safe and trusting environment of mutual search for truth and meaning. Time will be provided for writing and sharing during each session. No experience necessary - we approach writing as a vehicle.
Beads & Crafts                                            
Sharon Beecher
Come play with Sharon's beads and other materials as we create our stories. Sharon has accumulated small things to play with for over 25 years and shares skills and "stuff" at SUUSI for 10+ years! She'll help you create bead and wire figures for your piece, as you find items to represent your treasures, goals, experiences, etc. in the shapes, textures and colors of the materials.  All materials and tools will be provided. Bring from home your "stuff" to personalize your design. No previous beadwork or artistic experience is needed.  Release your creative inner storyteller and playful artist. Have fun.  Perhaps choose to describe what's represented in your creation.
Serious Discussion of Serious Topics 4 the Hard-Headed Humanists Among Us  
Dr. Charlie West                                                                
"Socrates Café®" Monday, Tuesday and Thursday (2-4pm)
Open and uninhibited discussion of diverse topics democratically chosen by the participants.  A playful approach to handle lack of detailed planning.  Come join us with your favorite issue in mind.

"Science and Spirituality"   Wednesday (2-4pm)
Facilitated and wide-open discussion on this topic.
C harlie West (retired professor of business management) loves thoughtful exchanges on controversial topics. He moderates with skill, compassion and vigor--including broad knowledge of human history and current events, plus a confidence in human attributes to enable progress.
Hikes and Excursion   
Dr. Doris Gove and Dick Fencl
Want physical activity?  We've got you covered!  One day to Glen Falls, a 2 to 4-mile hike with picturesque outlooks and moderate to strenuous insertion depending on the extent you choose.  The Highlands Nature Center--perfect anytime or if we must dodge rain-offers exhibits inside, associated gardens and a nature trail with labeled flora.  The Bascom Arts Center or other local highlights will be selected by your leader depending on group interest and other factors.  Stretch those legs, learn the area, enjoy Nature's wonders.  Local UU experts will lead these hikes.
Playing with Ancestors                           
Linda Sterner
No, not digging up graves!  Instead, you'll track your roots 
using readily available resources to learn connections to 
your predecessors.  You may be surprised or proud (or uncomfortable) by what you learn-which is part of the fun! 
Linda will show you how to start, various resources available, and possible outcomes.  Perhaps you'll share your findings 
with others or start a new hobby?  Linda discovered her 
"best puzzle yet" in tracking her lineage as she's spent
 days with total focus finding her personal history, 
discovering family slave owners, and migration patterns.  
As you rediscover your family, you may wonder about your legacy.
F ix or Throw that Android                     
Linda Sterner
Losing control of your equipment?  Tired of it controlling you?  This is intended to offer tips and solutions by troubleshooting issues on your devices.  Bring them, along with specific issues which you can show your leader. Linda Sterner brings a high-tech and high-touch approach, along with 30 years of IT experience, to address your situation and find remedies.  Puzzle-solver by nature and people helper, she'll find easy solutions or point you to equipment-specific experts.
Make a Walking Stick             
Ted Wisniewski                                 
In a few days, with guidance, you will create a durable, attractive and personalized keepsake.  Select from strong staffs and design it to your needs,artfully.  Finish with sanding and sealant.  Ted breaks from his Executive Director role at The Mountain by playing with his kids and whittling walking sticks.  He collects dead wood, artfully sculpts with images, and seals with many protective coats. Just show up. We'll have all you need to create a showpiece, useful for you or as a gift. Make a 2nd to donate to The Mountain Store--always popular items.  Most of all, enjoy a personalized walking stick,your new friend.
M usic with Mindy Simmons                                             
You'll love her in concert!  You'll learn leading your workshop.  It'll be fun and you'll learn lots.  Come to either or both of these workshops:
Mindy Simmons brings her fun- loving nature for all of us to enjoy her music and her compassionate, thoughtful approach to life in her songwriting.  She leads multiple arenas: UU churches, Unity Churches, and our UU Summer Institute.  If you want fun, hang out with Mindy!

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 

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

$25 discount for early registration before August 1
4 Day $375
5 Day $465
6 Day $560
November 23 - 27
Save the Date for Thanksgiving 2016
Make reservations early. It is always a sell-out.

The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center | 828 526 5838 | [email protected] |
3872 Dillard Road
P.O. Box 1299
Highlands, NC 28741