Parents of young children should take the opportunity to meet other parents of young children in the Family Dorm at 9pm, Friday, December 26th, during the scheduled "Meet Your Cabinmates" time on the first evening of SWIM.
Families with young children are generally assigned to the Family Dorm, which provides families the opportunity to arrange bed times, share and coordinate late-night childcare, and possibly hire needy teen babysitters during times when parents are not able to be present outside of the youth programs schedule. Although SWIM does not provide specific programming for youth under the age of 3, there are usually people willing to volunteer to provide a childcare break for parents of very young children.
By the way, to meet the requirements of Florida state law, parents must provide car seats for children ages three and under in SWIM youth programs or off-site activities.
Youth Program (Ages 3-12)
Parents and guardians MUST ATTEND a brief orientation at 7pm, December 26th, in the Crafts Room. Feel free to contact Sue Baskin, Hannalies Bosman, or Mark Weathers, Youth Coordinators, with any questions. SWIM's youth staff are adult UUs with experience working in UU camps and youth programs across the continent.
Programming for the youngest of our SWIM community is a flexible combination of play, art, hugs, adventure, music, food, stories, games, and swimming. The group will gather every morning for the day's opening and then will be divided into like-age groups for many activities and mixed-age groups for some fun, whole-group experiences. Scheduled programming is from 9am to noon and then from 1:30 to 5:30pm. We will have at least one field trip and a possible overnight outside for some groups. Evening program may be added for some age groups a few nights during the week. The 12 and 13 year-olds will have a special coming of age celebration at the end of the week. Final planning depends on the number and ages of the participants, so please register early. All youth are invited to participate in the special activities including Children's Worship and Beach Day.
Have we mentioned that parents must provide car seats for children ages three and under participating in youth programs or off-site activities to satisfy Florida state law?
Teen Program (Ages 13-18)
Teens ages 13-18* may choose to be part of the SWIM Teen Program, which means sleeping in the Teen Dorm and participating in Teen Program activities.
* If you are 18, you may choose to be involved in either the Young Adult Program or the Teen Program, but not both at the same time.
Participants and their parents/guardians MUST ATTEND the mandatory orientation in the Teen Dorm at 9:30 PM, Friday December 26th. Cash-strapped teens who would like to babysit for young families should stop by the Family Dorm at 9:00 PM the first evening of SWIM, just before the mandatory Teen Program meeting. If you have any questions about the Teen Program, feel free to contact the staff before SWIM.
The SWIM teen experience is like none other you can imagine. We promote an attitude of absolute acceptance and ridiculous fun with everything we do. Be prepared to unravel from the outside world to a place where you can be your crazy, beautiful self with no holds barred. The teen program is a safe, supportive environment geared toward YOUR empowerment. So bring ideas, books, thoughts, games, activities to share, musical instruments, ideas for discussions, and all your input about how to make this a more fun and exciting experience. We'll be having a meeting on Friday to go over the schedule and brainstorm about any possible changes. Here's what we've planned so far:
Saturday: We'll be chillin at SWIM, making homemade clothes, shoes, you name it at our DIY Digs workshop, then we'll go sailing out under the stars.
Sunday: Volunteer Day! We'll be pitching in the kitchen and leaving the option open to go to King Mango Strut, a wacky parade in Miami's Coconut Grove, and then stretching our minds at a symposium that night.
Monday: We'll be kickin it at the Beach with the rest of SWIM and having our own Blue Hawaii party for all to join in. That night when we get back we'll do our traditional teen worship and then dance into the night at Serendipity.
Tuesday: Get ready to creatively gorge yourselves on Sushi Sculpture, the ultimate in fresh, delicious food. Then at night we'll go out to canoe by twilight.
Wednesday: We'll be thrift shopping and preparing to dance like mad at SWIM's totally fantastic New Year's Party.
Feel free to sign up for other workshops and outdoor adventures, but bring an alarm clock if you're planning on waking up early. As always, it is very important to be prepared! Be sure to bring $30-$45 to pay for the Teen Night Canoe and Teen Sailing trips (and possible "spontaneous" Hot Tubbing trip) plus spending money for thrift shopping and milkshakes. Keep in mind that SWIM is a rustic environment by bringing tons of bedding, pillows, flashlights, sunscreen, toiletries, warm and cool clothing, bathing suit, and a clean towel or two. Also bring dancing clothes, costumes, worship materials, Frisbees, musical instruments, songbooks, candles, old clothes and bike tires for DIY Digs, knitting and crocheting supplies, skit ideas, supplies for dressing in drag, and any other fun and legal activity you can think of. We'll be going thrift shopping and out to get milkshakes, so be sure to bring some spending money. It's a good idea to leave fragile or valuable things at home because we tend to get piled on top of one another. Also remember that SWIM is a community, so don't bring any behavior that would be destructive.
Note: The Teen Program schedule is subject to change (and probably will), but who cares? It's always a great time.
While it is not a major focus of our program, our teen experience usually includes an off-site, clothing-optional activity. This activity is led in the context of discussions on body-image issues in society at large and encourages a positive experience of one's body in a non-sexual setting within the atmosphere of respect and acceptance we promote within the program as a whole.
The Teen Program is guided by the UU principles and youth empowerment, and affirms people of every race, class, sexuality, gender, religion, and ability.
Young Adults (Ages 18-28+)
Interested young adults will meet for an orientation in the Young Adult Dorm at 10pm, Friday, December 26th. Contact Vonnnie Hicks, the Director of SWIM, if you have any questions.
Some years ago, due to concern about preferential treatment in an intergenerational community, SWIM's Board decided to stop staffing a young adult program. Although well-intentioned, this change was perceived as a rejection of a grassroots program with YRUU/LRY heritage created by young adults for young adults. In our desire to build a cohesive intergenerational community, the Board has revisited this issue and recognized that decision was not a good one. When we deliberately stopped supporting age-focused programs for young adults, we lost a vibrant aspect of our community. We apologize.
Starting last year, our Board of Trustees (about half of whom are young adults) recommitted to building a vibrant Young Adult community, providing staff and dorm space to be filled first with young adults ages 18-28, then with folks ages 29-35 as space allows. Young Adults will collectively plan special trips and gatherings (as may any other groups of SWIM participants), and will function on an age-focused rather than age-exclusive basis at the discretion of the Young Adult Coordinator.
All plans are open to changes once we get to SWIM. There will be "spontaneous" late-night young adult trips like night-swims at the beach and hot tubbing, mixed in with SWIM's regular fair of intergenerational trips. For your spiritual/personal growth needs, we'll do a reality check the first evening of SWIM for any additional activities or workshops that we might want to arrange. Our schedule will be figured out this first night of SWIM. Feel free to sign up for any workshops or trips that interest you, since most of what we'll do will be outside of workshop and outdoor adventure times. In years past, our unofficial housing was labeled "Noisy Adult" and was quite cluttered with many of us up late every night, so feel free to pick "Quiet Adult" on your registration if you're a light (or grumpy) sleeper preferring non-YA housing.