Breaking News...

Confirmations are being sent out...
...along with the Confirmation Edition of the SWIM Nuuws. If you have provided an email address, Jerry Elsenrath, our registrar, will email you. Otherwise, your confirmation will arrive by mail. (Registration forms that are after December 15th might not get confirmations emailed/mailed. Please call or email Jerry to confirm.

Online promo video and photo album are now available.
You'll find photos of friends set to the music of Pete Leary's "Florida Yodel ('I think of Florida')". . .

Go to

DVD and VHS tape versions of the promo video are available upon request from Vonnie Hicks.

Aerial Map available
For anyone who ever wanted to see SWIM from above: here is aerial photography of Owaissa Bauer Campground.

Each adult participant will only need to work one (1) volunteer shift.
When reviewing your registration form, we'll try to match you with the one volunteer job that fits your schedule best. We're all volunteers at S.W.I.M.! And this year, the staff have volunteered extra, beyond the 30 to 300 hours they usually do. This year's staff have volunteered to run the Information Desk and to cover Serendipity Sales on New Year's Eve. We're also adding three staff to the kitchen to reduce the volunteer shifts needed. (If you know anyone who wants to attend SWIM for free, this is the deal! Volunteering for kitchen staff waives registration, room, and food fees in exchange for about 30 to 35 hours of kitchen work.)

Now volunteers for meal shifts only set up the dining room tables, serve food during the meal, and wipe the tables after each meal (about 3 hours). As we did last year, volunteers for Serendipity Sales (during evening events & dancing) set up, serve, collect money for, and put away beverages and food during evening programs (about 4 hours). Volunteers for Serendipity Clean-up clear tables and sweep and mop the dining hall floors after evening programs (after about 1am; it's a shorter shift, but a little more physical and for those who tend to be up late anyway).

Volunteer Shifts (Black Type) as of 12/8/03
Every adult participant now works 1 volunteer job to help keep fees low.
Volunteer Jobs & Times Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed
Breakfast 7am – 10am   B1 Teens B3 B4 B5
Lunch 11:30am – 2:30pm   L1 L3 L4 L5
Dinner 4:30pm – 7:30pm D0 D1 D3 D4 D5
Serendipity 9pm – 1am S0 S1 S2 S3 S4 S5
Serendipity Cleanup 1am+ C0 C1 C2 C3 C4 C5
Info Desk 9am – 12:30pm   M1 M2 M3 M4 M5
Info Desk 12:30 – 4:30pm   A1 A2 A3 A4 A5
Info Desk 4:30pm – 8pm E0 E1 E2 E3 E4 E5
New Staff This Year
Kitchen Deity & Manager: Ray Ring (a phenominal cook)
Kitchen Deity: Dorothy Menadier (returning SWIMer & professional caterer)
Serendipity Food: Bill Loomis (one of the original SWIM gourmet cooks)
Serendipity Sales: Cas Baskin (a certified expert in the field)
Beach Day/Fonkey Time: Stacy Colella (last year's Serendipity Sales Queen)
Campfire Goddess: Diane Neville (last year's unofficial Fire Goddess)
Young Adult Coordinator: Jim Weber (from SUUSI Medians Program)
Workshop Coordinator: Candy Gale &
Registrar: Jerry Elsenrath (Jerry & Candy met at SWIM and got married here!)

Download it all NOW!
Community Responsibilities
Volunteering at SWIM
What to Bring
SWIM Store
SWIM Auction
Other Accommodations
Health Concerns

Download 2003 Brochure & Registration Forms

You can download our latest brochure and registration forms!

To download these files on a Windows® computer using Internet Explorer, just right-click on the following links and select "Download Link To Disk". To download these files on a Macintosh® computer using Internet Explorer, control-click on the following links and select "Download Link To Disk". Using Netscape®, right-click for Windows® or control-click for Macintosh® the links below, select "Save this link as..." and then select "Source" under "Format" in the Save dialog box.

These files are saved in Adobe Acrobat format, and can be read by Adobe's free Acrobat Reader products, version 3.0 and higher.

SWIM 2003 Brochure (with updated forms) (the whole enchalada, including Registration Forms): (about 605K)

SWIM 2003 Registration Forms (updated 12/08/03) (plus information on Costs and a chart of all Workshops and Outdoor Adventures): (about 165K)


If it's your first SWIM, you'll be tempted to sign up for trips and workshops in every timeslot. Resist!
    SWIM is full of spontaneous excursions, conversations, and late-night revelry. For your first SWIM, try to limit yourself to 5 or 6 workshops and/or trips so you can relax. You're on vacation, after all.

Community Responsibilities

The volunteers on SWIM's staff who make this week possible welcome you to South Florida to join our intentional community. Our camp can be fragile, both physically and spiritually, so we have some basic guidelines for our behavior:
    Owaissa Bauer is an oasis of calm and beauty in a large metropolitan area - we keep it that way by controlling waste and lessening impact on our surroundings.
    In addition to everyone's volunteer jobs, we also need volunteers to assist with transportation to many of our activities. We ask that only safe, well-rested, and insured drivers volunteer, and that no driver consume alcohol or anything else that may impair driving.
    Because we are an intergenerational community we all serve as surrogate parents when necessary, but parents must remember that they are responsible for their children outside of the regular youth programming times.

We all volunteer at SWIM...

We are an ALL-VOLUNTEER organization. Every participant volunteers at least three hours. This reduces the cost of SWIM for everyone by about $150 and helps to build our treasured sense of community at SWIM. Staff member do receive a discount off SWIM's registration fee, but please remember that they are volunteers, too!*
    All non-staff participants volunteer for three shifts serving food and beverages, doing set-up and clean-up, overseeing the Info table, and helping with the New Year's Eve festivities. All volunteer jobs are a chance to socialize while getting the work done. When you register, you'll see a place to indicate your volunteer preferences on the registration form. This year the kitchen jobs have been reduced in "length of time" (even though it does not look that way on the form). For meals on Sunday, we are in the excellent hands of our teen volunteers.
    We will do our best to give you the jobs you ask for on a first-come basis. The Sup VolSup will also work to assign you a variety of tasks, if possible. Of course, you can also volunteer for any job that you see that needs to be done during the week. There's no restriction to the number of helpful things you can do. Also, there's no restriction to the number of hugs of thanks we will give.
    * We will have two paid, professional Cooks overseeing the kitchen. Director, Teen, Youth, and Kitchen Staff usually receive a Food credit. Board members who are not on staff receive no discount. Staff pay for trips and workshop (except for ones they lead) and pay all expenses related to attending SWIM.


For all of SWIM participants ages 3 and up, we have a Registration Fee and a Room Fee (which includes a fee for daytime use of the facility) -- plus a Food Fee for those eating at camp, which is almost everybody. A few Workshops and most Outdoor Adventures also have fees related to the expenses of individual activities. Optionally, there are area motels where you will find slightly more civilized accommodations, including your very own bathroom, but you will miss some of the excitement and joy of our community life. Our delicious meals may be purchased individually by those not sleeping on-site ($5 for breakfast, $10 for lunch, $15 for dinner, half-price for those ages 18 and under). Meat and vegetarian options are always available. And the food is really good and really satisfying.

Registration Fee (includes non-fee program expenses and overhead)

 Age  Before Dec. 1   After Dec. 1 ($20 late fee) 
 3 - 12  $40  $60
 13 - 18  $60  $80
 FT Student 19+   $80  $100
 19+  $110  $130

    This Registration Fee includes programs, campfire, worship, Serendipity, and New Year's Eve celebration. Participants are expected to register for and participate in the entire week in order to share our intentional community.
    SWIM is an intentional community and unregistered persons may not participate in our program. People who are not registered may not be at Owaissa Bauer during SWIM. After December 26th no new registrations will be accepted. This means that if you will arrive late, such as the morning of the 27th, you must send your registration in advance. If you have a question about this you may call Vonnie Hicks, SWIM's Director.
    The only exception to the full registration fee is that unregistered friends may attend our New Year's Eve celebration for a fee of $35. This is not a fee for food and drink. This fee only covers SWIM overhead for the evening and a light snack while available. It's our way to open SWIM up to friends and family who might have conflicting commitments this year but want a taste of SWIM for next year!

Room Fee (includes daytime facilities use)

 Accommodations   Due at SWIM! 
 Ages 3+ Sleeping On-Site   $70 
 Ages 3+ Sleeping Off-Site   $40 

    The Room Fee for those sleeping on-site includes either a tent site or a bed in one of our dormitories, plus the use of our bathhouse and parking in a large lot away from the camping area. Both forms of lodging are assigned on a first come, first served basis. For safety and peace no cars are allowed in the camping area after late afternoon, December 26th.
    The dormitories consist of six buildings, each divided into two areas, and each of these with a more private room which is normally reserved for staff. Each of the larger rooms has ten cots. We are an intergenerational community, but we recognize that people tend to form closer friendships with others of similar age, so we do consider this when assigning space in our dormitories. If you have a number of people who would like to stay in one area, please contact Jerry Elsenrath and explain your needs.
    Our camping area is limited and fills quickly, so be sure to send your registration early to get the accommodations you prefer. Up to eighty participants may camp in tents or small RVs along drives at the rear of camp. They pay all of the same fees as those who stay in the dorms. No electricity and no hookups are provided. RVs may not leave these sites after the evening of December 26th through New Years Eve, and no cars may be parked in the camping areas.

Food Fee (for 18 meals in our dining hall)

 Age   Due at SWIM! 
 3 - 5   $10 
 6 - 12   $30 
 13 - 18   $60 
 19+   $120 

    The Food Fee covers three wonderful meals a day, starting with dinner on December 26th and ending with an extra late night snack on New Year's Eve. A pick-up breakfast of bagels with leftovers, coffee, and juice is available on New Year's morning. All of our food is prepared at camp by our wonderful staff of cooks with the assistance of participant-volunteers.
    As noted above, our delicious meals may be purchased individually by those not sleeping on-site ($5 for breakfast, $10 for lunch, $15 for dinner, half-price for those ages 18 and under). Meat and vegetarian options are always available. And the food is really good and really satisfying.


The first $25 of the registration fee is non-refundable. Refunds of the remainder are available if notice of cancellation is sent to the registrar before December 1st. Fees for Outdoor Adventures are refundable until the close of registration on December 26th. After that refunds will be given only for trips which were canceled due to lack of attendance or poor weather or trips for which SWIM has incurred no expenses (e.g., sailing trips incur expenses so there are no refund for late cancellations).

What to Bring

First, remember that our accommodations, both dorms and camping area, are rustic. There are no electrical hookups for tents, but dorms do have outlets. The beds will never be called "soft" thanks to the addition of sheet metal to the cots a few years back, so you will want extra padding to put under or over the thin mattress supplied by the campground - at least a sleeping pad. Better is a 3-foot wide, 7-foot tall sheet of 6" foam or your own small day bed or inflatable mattress. A good night's sleep, when you choose to sleep, is the key to a great time at SWIM.
    You will need your own bed linens - sleeping bag, sheets, blanket - and towels and washcloths. Other items that may add to your comfort are mosquito repellent, sunscreen, a bathing suit, casual clothing that can get wet and be layered as the weather changes, something fun to wear out to dinner or on New Years Eve, a folding chair, a light if you stay in the dorm, a flashlight for our unlit paths, your own toiletries in something you can carry back and forth to the bathhouse, and other things such as cameras, games, cards, musical instruments, sports equipment, books, etc. for fun. Space is somewhat limited, however, so leave the kitchen sink at home! Also leave Fido and Fluff at home - the only animals allowed are seeing eye dogs and the local wildlife.
    To meet the requirements of Florida state law, parents must provide car seats for children ages three and under participating in youth programs or off-site activities.

Attention Swim Shoppers

The SWIM Store will be located in the dining hall and open daily. We'll have a variety of items likely to be forgotten when packing or lost in the bath house.
    Although SWIM 2003 T-Shirts (based on brochure cover art) will be available in limited quantities, please pre-order when you register to guarantee availability.
    Hand-Crafted Items created by SWIM artisans will also be sold at the SWIM Store. You will have the opportunity to select beautiful and unique items. If you want to sell anything, please contact Mary Ann Somervill (contact info inside front cover). SWIM receives 20% of the sales.
    Thrift Shop Boutique is back by popular demand. No time to visit thrift shops in the area? Not to worry, as we bring the thrift shop to you. You are invited to bring used garments to sell, as well as to stop and shop. Please put clothes on hangers and tag them with price and your name. SWIM will benefit by getting 20% of the price.

3rd Annual Auction

Tuesday evening! Hosted by our own Mark Evans, this popular fundraiser, along with a spirit of volunteerism, will help us keep SWIM alive and reasonably priced. If you've got the goods or services to wow the audience, here's your golden opportunity to put them on parade for a great cause!

Other Accommodations

4th Annual Motel SWIM
Two motels next to each other on U.S. 1 (South Dixie Highway) in Homestead provide alternative housing experiences. The Ramada Inn, 305-247-7020, and Inn of Homestead (used last year), 305-248-2121, provide two levels of price and service. Anyone who wants to stay at one of these motels must make their own arrangements using a credit card. These rooms will fill early with the holiday rush, so call early! SWIM will help arrange some kind of van service or carpooling between the two motels and camp Owaissa Bauer for car-free participants. Off-site sleepers save only $30 on Space Fee (what SWIM saves).
RV Rentals
In the past, a few families have arrived in rented RVs, which worked well for them. We just had to do a little finagling to run power to the RVs (since Owaissa Bauer has no RV hook ups). Even without power, RVs provide a touch of luxury.
    If you need nicer accommodations than our bunkhouse cabins provide, you can rent an RV that accommodates 4-6 people in style for about $900 to $1,500 for 7 nights from national or local RV rental companies.
    There is no discount for sleepers in RVs parked on site. Participants have found reasonably priced RV camps in the SWIM area with more facilities. Contact Jerry Elsenrath for suggestions.


Camp Owaissa Bauer is generally flat, and buildings, including bathrooms, are reasonably accessible for elderly and disabled persons. Offsite trips require transportation by standard vans or private vehicle and are thus subject to some limitations in accessibility. Offsite destinations vary considerably in the level of accessibility. If you are physically challenged but want to participate in SWIM, please contact Vonnie Hicks for advice and help with planning by email at or at 919-834-9049.

Health Concerns

SWIM makes every reasonable effort to provide a physically healthy and safe environment, and we have a number of our staff familiar with basic first aid. We have on our volunteer staff a first aid and safety coordinator who addresses issues of site and program safety and basic first aid, but we are not a health care provider and must stress that we are not in a position to support on site someone with serious medical illness. We cannot supply nor prescribe medication (some over-the-counter medications and sunscreen may be available through the SWIM Store).
    There are hospitals and urgent care facilities in the area to which we can refer you if you are in need of such care, and we can transport you there if necessary. You must have your own insurance to cover such a contingency. Should you have asthma, serious allergies, or any chronic condition which might require emergency medication, please be sure that you have such medication with you and available on site and on trips, and that you have informed companions and trip leaders of the whereabouts and use of such medication in the event you are unable to do so.
    If you are a minor at SWIM with special medical needs, you must carry on your person and provide staff a copy of pages 2-4 of our registration forms showing your medical needs, insurance, contact information for your parent or legal guardian, and authorization for emergency medical treatment (see registration forms).
    Finally, we encourage you to use good common sense about pacing yourself, getting enough sleep, taking precautions with sun exposure, and drinking water. SWIM is most fun when you are healthy!