We hope that everyone is doing well and had a great end to their summer! It seems like our week on Star happened so long ago but hopefully you all can bring peaceful feelings of rocking on the porch of Oceanic with you on your next adventures. Our newsletter this month includes and an island recap, information about our week change, and staff blurbs! We are so excited to have already started working with our staff on plans for an amazing week in 2016, plus a whole year of YES engagements and events, so stay tuned. Sending lots of love!
Bianca & Taylor
Our week on island this year was filled with so much positivity, fantastic sunrises and sunsets, and an amazing group of people. A big thank you to our amazing chair, Emily, and all of staff that made the week run so smoothly. There were 15 new shoalers on island this year! We were very happy to see everyone being so welcoming and open and all shoalers come together to bond throughout the week.
Some of our wonderful worships lead by John included ghost stories on east rock, singing the two part barge song, belief sharing, and of course, grokking on the front lawn. During our workshops slots, we had romance on the lawn, pillow talk, spiritual play, art barn, and Shamanism, among others. Social action with Shaya went well and our guest speaker Justine did an awesome workshop on Enneagrams! The Pels beat us at softball again but our amazing coaches, Remy and Noah, kept the team's spirits high and looking forward to next year's game.
We shared our week with NHW and ISHRA for the last time this year (read more about the week change below). Thursday afternoon was our inter-gen worship that held the theme of friendship. Poems and stories were shared, songs were sung, and a few tears were shed. Though we are all very excited about the possibilities to come with our changes, we will miss our dear friends from NHW!
Our week was filled with meaningful conversations and joyous laughter, all of which we have our conferees to thank! We hope that everyone will come back next year to continue to make more memories, new friends, and exciting experiences to last a lifetime.
Joe Watts informed the staff of our conference earlier this year that we would be changing weeks after our 2015 conference. The reason for this change is because a conference that left the island a few years ago is coming back and it needs its own week due to its number of conferees. Unfortunately, our conference being smaller in size, meant that it was easier for us to move weeks so that every conference could still have their time on the island. So starting next year, we will be sharing the island with the Star Gathering 2 (SG2) conference! The dates for next year are August 6-13th and we will most likely be the second week of August from now on. For conferees that have attended our conference at least one year and have a birthday between our usual last week in June and our new week, we will be allowing them to come an extra year when they are 23, if they choose, since they would be losing a year with this change.
Joe Watts invited Emily and ourselves back to Star to meet with the leadership of SG2 while they were on island this year. The board and Chair were very excited to talk to us about how we can collaborate together and make the week next year incredible for everyone! SG2 is a family conference and they have a high school youth group of 7 kids that are lead by two adults. The board of SG2 still has to officiallly vote on the idea, but their youth will most likely be joining our conference next year which would make programming easier for them and we would still be able to use all of our traditional spaces!
We are very confident that this new pairing of conferences is going to work out well. Of course this next year will be transitional- we may have to make some compromises or change our schedule a little bit, however we have been communicating with the SG2 Chair and youth group and are very excited about some of the ideas that we are working on! Let us know if you have any questions or concerns
And now, presenting our 2016 Staff Lineup! Please enjoy our staff-elected superlatives and information on what we're excited for this coming year!
YES 2016 Staff
Bianca Giolitto - Most likely to escape to a herd of wild horses
Bianca is from West Hartford CT. This will be her 6th year on island, and she will be the Co-Chair this year with Taylor. She is happy to have such an awesome staff and can't wait for an amazing week next year!
Taylor Travers- Most likely to be soaking up some sun
Taylor is from Arlington, MA. This year will be her 6th year on island, and she will be the Co-Chair this year with Bianca. She is very excited to work with staff on fundraising and outreach initiatives year-round, and to facilitate another transformative and engaging week on island.
Julia Dudley-Kramer - Most likely to sell her organs for art supplies
Julia is from Reading, MA. This will be her 5th year on island and her first year on staff, serving as Registrar. This year on island will be all about relaxing, making art, and telling you all to pay your bills!
Sara Carter- Most likely to be hanging with the babes(ies)
Sara is from Whitman MA and will be this years Programming Director. This is her 3rd year coming to YES. She is so excited to be a part of staff this year and help make this new week a easy transition and try and make sure everyone has a amazing powerful time on island.
Ty Atkin - Most likely to get his face stuck like that
Ty is from Cambridge, MA. This will be his 6th (and final!) year with YES and this year he is the Chaplain Coordinator! Ty is looking forward to literally everything this year. You might think this is an exaggeration but it’s not. He’s ecstatic.
Jeremy Colebrook-Soucie - Most likely to blow your dang mind
Jeremy lives in North Reading, colloquially referred to as “North Dirty Ding”, and has been going to YES for 4 years. This year, he is the Activities Coordinator. He’s really excited about getting to know the SG2 conference and making the transition to our new week go as seamlessly as possible!
Emily Ferguson- Most likely to be rocking chairs
Emily is from Reading MA and will be spending this year as Chair Emeritus. This will be her 7th and final year on the island with the YES conference. She is so excited to be a part of this transition into a new week and to help keep this conference as magical as it’s always been.
Craig Hildreth- Most likely Nicholas Cage
Craig is from Reading, MA, and this coming year will be his 2nd year on Star. He will be serving alongside Lillie as a New Shoaler Liaison this year. He is excited to usher in this year’s new shoalers and help them make connections to the island.
Michael Costello- Most likely to whip his hair back and forth
Michael grew up in Newton, MA, and will be returning for his 4th year on Star. As this year’s Social Action Coordinator, Michael is excited to be bringing Social Justice discussions into a more prominent space.
Remy Lovell- Most likely a werewolf
Remy lives in Scituate, MA. This will be his 5th year on island, and his first year on staff as Worship Coordinator. He's very excited to develop worships that provide powerful experiences for as many people as possible!
Lillie Santo- Most likely to steal your soul with her camera
Lillie is from Reading MA and will be enjoying her 6th year on-island. She will be serving alongside Craig as New Shoaler Liaison this year, and also as our Conference Historian. Lillie is very excited to teach our new shoalers all about the history of the island and our conference, and of course, tell a few spooky Star ghost stories!
Noah Lukens- Most likely to brighten your day with a hug
Noah is from East Greenwich Rhode Island. This will be his 5th year on island, and he will be the Family Group Leader Coordinator this year. Noah is very excited to create fun and memorable activities for family groups to bond over during the week.
Kieran Tiere-Thomas - Most likely to :D ^.^ o.o
Kieran is lives in Needham, MA, and this coming year will be their 4th on island. Kieran is Fairy Godmother this year and is looking forward watching the Perseid meteor shower with all the new Shoalers!