Early Afternoon Workshops (1:30– 3:00)

Children’s Choir

Spencer Marfy

The Children’s Choir meets 12:45 to 1:30 daily. School aged Children 6th grade and under are welcome to drop by to join and share their voices with the SI community.

Spencer has been involved in many prestigious choirs, has taken conducting lessons, and is currently in a band. Spencer recently directed a show choir for middle and high school students in Ohio. He has fond memories of being in the children’s choir with Joe Shafer and is excited to teach a new generation those great songs and help carry on the tradition.

Mud Puddle Writing

Jane Dirks

Join us to write to creative, fun prompts, and share your writing (only if you choose to) in a supportive, thoughtful community. Let your imagination run free on the page, and learn to listen and provide helpful feedback to other writers. We call it Mud Puddle Writing, because it feels like playing with your friends in a big mud puddle—of words!  Available Online

Participants should bring: A Writing implement and paper or a notebook

Jane has been facilitating prompt-writing groups for several years, and since 2020, offering one every month on zoom. She has attended and designed workshops at Summer Institute since 1993.

Body Art

McKenna Stevens

Join us as we find ways to decorate ourselves! In every culture there have been explorations into how our appearances define us as well as the desire to change that appearance. Come play with different mediums, from hair dye to henna to tattoos and nail polish. It’s a wonderful way to relax on a summer afternoon.

McKenna has being coming to Summer Institute for many years and is excited to be leading Body Art. She has worked Youth Workshops and child care in the past, and she has a creative streak that she can’t wait to bring to Summer Institute Body Art.

Art in the Afternoon

Natalie Isvarin-Love

An art supply-filled table will be available to create fun and memories! Each day there will be focal project (such as making a mini-book, card making, wine cork bulletin board, magnets) but there will be plenty of supplies and goodies that only need your imagination to turn them into treasures.

Natalie has been a quilter/fiber artist for over 30 years and also creates books using fabric, handmade papers, ephemera and found items. She loves sharing her creative discoveries and talents with others when not squirreled away in her attic studio.

Participants should bring: Their imagination and desire to create. All supplies will be provided.


Becky Zimmerman

The Summer Institute choir brings adventure and panache to morning worship each Sunday – lend us your voice!

Participants should bring: A Black 3 ring binder.

Becky has worked with groups from pre-K through older adults as a Music Therapist.  She has been a singer, guitarist, choir member, soloist and/or section leader since age 12. At Cedarhurst, she has co-directed the choir for the past 8 years, and is currently serving as a music coordinator for our Zoom services. Becky has helped plan & provide music for public vigils, social justice events, women’s retreats, and more.

Resistance Songs: Music for the Revolution

Elliot and Claire Pullen

This is a workshop for the people – young and old, all instruments and voices. Come gather round, wherever you roam. Bring your guitars, banjos, harmonicas, washboards, turkey basters, voices. We’ll explore protest music from Yankee Doodle and Dylan to Guthrie and Greenday – and everything in between. From California to the New York Islands, Americans have always used music as a rallying cry. Let’s gather in that spirit and lift up our voices together. A change is gonna come y’all.

Participants should bring: Instruments, voices

Elliot is a musician/singer/songwriter, from Pittsburgh with a focus in folk music.

Claire  is an artist/illustrator/activist from Pittsburgh and has been a musician since the age of 7.

Tie Dye – Now featured both early and late afternoon! (2:00-4:00)

Lexi Hayman-Staples and Torie Thorne

At Summer Institute, Tie Dye is a time honored tradition. If you haven’t tie dyed with us yet, this is YOUR year!!! There are tie dyers of all experience/skill levels – from first timers to those who create elaborate designs. Everyone is welcome!

T-Shirts, sweatpants, pillow cases, stained clothing, canvas shoes… the sky is the limit. Questions on how to tie or dye?  Just ask Lexi or Torie! Many white or light items will accept dye but mostly or all cotton fabrics work best.

The last dye will begin 15 minutes before the workshop ends, to ensure there are enough volunteers to help everyone. Limit of 3 items per person.

Participants should bring: One to three garments. 80% cotton or higher. 

Lexi is an artist and lifelong UU and is so excited to get back to that SI Magic. This SI enthusiast has enjoyed working with campers of all ages to create stylish Tie Dye for many years.

Torie is a talented creator of many things and has the “eye to dye”, just check out her sweet duds… she wears lots of her creations. SI is a place where she feels relaxed, recharged and at home.