All Star I Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who owns Star Island?

The Star Island Corporation owns Star Island  is an independent affiliate organization of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the United Church of Christ (UCC). It is also a member of the Council of Unitarian Universalist Camps and Conferences (CU2C2). The Corporation can have up to 400 members, including people from all the conferences and former Pelicans or staff. Every year, new members are elected to the Star Island Corporation. For information on joining the Star Island Corporation, please see the Corporation and Membership section of its website.

Q. Who runs the island?

The Star Island Corporation runs the conference center, arranges for boat transportation, provides meals, hires Pelicans, runs open up, close up, and everything else that has to do with the island and buildings. The Corporation also is responsible for raising funds to ensure the ongoing health and vitality of the island (and therefore, its conferences). For information on donating please see the Donating section of the Star Island website.

Q. What are conferences?

Star Island conferences are gatherings that run from two to seven days. Each conference is self-administered, arranging for speakers, workshops, and childcare as well as registering participants. All Star I is one of these conferences. A complete list is available on the website.

Q. Who organizes and runs the conferences?

Some conferences are run by groups of volunteers who exist only to put on the conference; All Star I is one of these. Others are run by organizations that have other activities and purposes, such as the Isles of Shoals Historical and Research Association (ISHRA) Conference.

All Star I Conference chairs are chosen each year by the conference’s leadership (see below) and those chairs have direct responsibility for running the conference in a particular year. They are supported by our conference’s Executive Committee (see below) and by our entire conference community in running a successful conference year after year.

Q: How did All Star I start? How old is the conference?

All Star I began in 1946 when a group of folks who had previously attended youth and young adult conferences realized that they had ‘aged out’ of those conferences and wanted to find a way to bring their young families to Star and continue to enjoy the Isles of Shoals. Although a group of people initiated the All Star conference (back then there was only one All Star conference!) Fred and Ginny McGill were the first conference chairs, in 1946, and are generally thought of as the founding mother and father of our conference. Ironically, there was going to be an All Star Conference earlier than 1946, but World War II got in the way: the island was closed for several years during the war! When the Star Island Corporation re-opened the island, our conference began and so in 2011, we celebrate our conference’s sixty fifth year.

The overall structure of the conference then, and now, have lots of similarities; an excellent children’s program; a theme speaker, morning and evening chapel services, three meals a day served family style, sports and other activities in the late morning and mid-afternoon, and lots of time for relaxing. A second All Star conference (All Star II, which follows our conference in the Star Island summer schedule) was begun in 1957. In the mid-1960’s another family week, called Life on a Star, was added (it’s held in August each year). And in the early 1970’s, a second Life on a Star conference was added.

All these conferences are fundamentally Unitarian Universalist in religious affiliation (but open to all faiths); two other family conferences, Star Gathering I and II, with associated youth conferences running concurrently, occur in mid-August and are affiliated with the United Church of Christ.

Q. Are there written by-laws?

The Star Island Corporation has written by-laws, which are online at www.starisland.org.

The All Star I conference’s by-laws are found here.

Q. What are the criteria for selecting conference chairs?

In order to keep All Star I strong, we seek people who have leadership ability, have a commitment to All Star I and its community and family values, have stepped up to volunteer for a variety of positions and felt good about that work, and who might actually like the idea of organizing the most important vacation of the year for 270 other people.

Each year during All Star I, the Governance Committee meets primarily to choose the individuals will become future chairs. Nominations from the conference at large are warmly encouraged – at any time – and can be directed to the current conference chairs or to any member of the conference’s Executive committee.

In 2002, the conference’s former chairs, which are the conference’s overall governing body, decided to elect not only chairs for the coming year, but for the coming two years. This began a practice which has served us well, allowing the chairs for two years hence to be announced at a banquet night, and allowing the ‘future chairs’ to shadow the chairs for the immediate next year.

Q. What are the chairs’ responsibilities?

The chairs choose the speakers, assign volunteer jobs, and have overall responsibility for envisioning and running a successful Star Island conference, and for overseeing evaluation of the week when it concludes. They have a budget to fund the conference, and the chairs are also responsible for making sure that the conference stays within its budget. The immediate past chairs play an important role in mentoring the next year’s chairs; former chairs all share the role of supporting current and named future chairs.

Q. Who helps them?

We all do — past chairs and all Shoalers on the island! Ideally, every adult has a volunteer job, so we are all part of the team. People are encouraged to participate, and – in the spirit of community – to say ‘yes’ when asked to do something by the chairs.

Q. When does the Governance Committee meet?

The Governance Committee meets twice a year – generally on Sunday afternoon during All Star I and during the late October or early November, off-island in Connecticut. At the fall meeting, which is open to the All Star I community for observation and comment, the major ongoing business of the conference is conducted, the prior year’s conference is evaluated, and the next year’s conference is discussed.

Q. Who are the past chairs?

The past chairs, their speakers and the topics are listed under the Previous Years section of this website.

Q. How are conferees selected?

Our conference has an admission policy which is periodically revisited by the former chairs. Please review the admissions policy. Some of the guiding principles of it are:

* All individuals must apply by the March 10th deadline to be considered for admission.

* While we no longer encourage individuals and families who are part of the All Star One family to periodically take a voluntary year off from attending the conference, we do give lower priority to those applicants who have attended the greatest number of years in a row. In this way, we can accommodate more individuals and families who consider All Star One their spiritual summer home. We do hope that all who are interested in attending our conference will apply.

* Conference attendance as a member of the Children’s Staff or as Children’s Staff Coordinator does not count as either a year of attendance nor as a year of non-attendance. Past Chairs will be admitted the year after they are Chairs without regard to how many consecutive years they have attended the conference.

* For the good of the conference and at their discretion, the current Chairs may admit up to fifteen applicants who, for whatever reason, would not otherwise be admitted.

Q. How are volunteer positions filled?

Each year, the chairs use their own judgment in asking individuals to fill volunteer positions. The evaluations of volunteer jobs are examined, and the chairs generally follow a mix of asking those who have enjoyed volunteer positions to continue while inviting others to take on a position they’ve never held to see what new ideas might be brought to the position.

Q. Must I volunteer?

We’ve talked at All Star I about our sense of the conference as both a ‘beloved community’ and a village. In that spirit, we seek to support one another and extend help as part of the community. While we recognize that individual circumstances arise from time to time which might make participation in an activity or taking the lead in a position difficult, we hope that all who attend All Star I will be enthusiastic about volunteering to help the conference and the chairs.

Q. Who can I talk to if I want to be a chair?

Fill out the Do You Want to Be a Chair form and send it to the current chairs or fill out a copy during the conference. You can also talk to any past chair; most particularly, feel free to speak to the current chairs or any member of the Executive Committee, which is currently comprised of:  Tricia Coleman (convener), Bill Gimpel (Treasurer), Paul Jennings, Karen Mills, Pam Pierce, Jim Prochaska, Ben Soule, Cheryl-Anne Sturken, Ali Walton (registrar), and Louise Williams.

Q. Who can I talk to if I have other questions?

If you have a question about the particular conference while it’s underway (e.g., bed times, softball game, etc.,) please talk to the conference chairs. If you have a concern about other matters related to the conference week, you are also welcome to talk to the conference troubleshooters and/or members of the Healing and Reconciliation Committee, who are there to help remediate and solve problems. If you have a question or concern about the All Star I conference, its policies or practices, or you have an idea or thought about the conference going forward, please talk to a member of the conference Executive Committee. Remember, too, that the Executive Committee has an email address through which you can communicate: as1comment@yahoo.com.


The Star Island Corporation is an independent affiliate organization of the UUA (www.uua.org) and the United Church of Christ (www.ucc.org) although many
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