Hand drawn Chalice Camp banner strung between two trees

Chalice Camp

Unitarian Universalist Day Camp

Chalice camp is a fun and meaningful week-long summer day camp for 1st through 6th graders. It deepens our Bay Area youth’s understanding of themselves and Unitarian Universalists values while expanding their knowledge and capacity to be articulate about the faith. The activities during the week include energetic daily worship, games, drama, art, community building and community service based on curriculum developed by religious educators of our faith.
“It’s a blessing you were born and it matters what you do,
what you know about God is a piece of the truth,
let the beauty you love be what you do,
and you don’t have to do it alone”
REGISTER

2023 Locations

East Bay

Dates: 06.26.23 thru 06.30.23
Hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm M-F
Extended Care: 8:30 to 5:30 pm M-F

UU of Marin

Dates: 06.19.23 thru 06.23.23
Hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm M-F
Extended Care: 8:30am to 5:30pm M-F
Have questions? Send us an email:
[email protected]
UU children holding hands
Camper standing in front of audience of other campers telling a story

Curriculum Overview

There are two weeks of Chalice Camp Curriculum - Chalice Camp I: History and Identity and Chalice Camp II: Identity and Justice. Each follow the same educational styles, but follow different content. Learn more about each of them below.

I: History and Identity

Our history and identity curriculum moves through four theological statements – it’s a blessing we were born, it matters what we do with our lives, what each of us knows about God is a peace of the truth, and we don’t have to do it alone. Our goal in creating Chalice Camp I is to highlight kernels of our religious heritage and theological turning points in our history that make us who we are today. We bring alive our history in a fun and engaging way that helps children understand our unique religious perspective. Campers explore and experience UU identity, history, and values through energetic worship, games, drama, art, and community building.

II: Identity and Justice

Chalice Camp II encourages campers to explore the root causes of systemic racism and develop a religiously grounded approach to countering racism and building a just community. This curriculum is more challenging and can make some children and parents feel uncomfortable, part of white privilege is not learning about this history. Children do lose some innocence when they come to know the history of our country, which created the systemic racism we see today. As a religious movement we aim to build a beloved community which we believe can only happen when we become actively anti-racist, anti-oppressive and inclusive. We believe ALL of our children need to understand where racism comes from, how it affects everyone around us and why it is so important that we all work against it. In doing so, we can become the change we want to see in the world. Furthermore, campers will come to understand that racism is a human created structure, which we have the power to influence.

Background

The idea for Chalice Camp was born in a conversation around the kitchen table. Former directors Rev. Sheri Prud’homme and Author and Religious Educator Laila Ibrahim were struggling with how the children in their church could have deeper connections with one another, deeper understandings of themselves as Unitarian Universalists, greater knowledge of our history and more capacity to be articulate about our faith. They realized that within a week-long camp, children could be able to create relationships and explore subject matter in a way that is simply not possible in our traditional weekly Sunday School model. In one 40-hour week at camp, there is nearly as much time with children as in an entire church year of 55 minute Sunday mornings. They decided to create Chalice Camp and make it easily replicable! That was made possible with a generous grant from the Fund for Unitarian Universalism and sponsorship by the Pacific Central District of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Camp Details

Chalice Camp is designed for kids entering 1st through entering 6th grades. We find the camp works well with three or four circle groups, each led by a counselor. The groups are by age and range in size from 4 – 12 kids. Much of the curricular content, therefore, happens in groups of a similar age.

High school youth work as camp counselors that cultivate safe spaces for children to learn and grow. Middle school students are counselors in training and assist with snack, art and groups. Camps offers an important leadership development opportunity.

We aim to be an inclusive community by recognizing that all children come to camp with diverse backgrounds and therefore different needs.

The model for the camp is a financially self-sustaining one that includes a stipend for the director or directors. This prevents burn-out and allows the camp to continue over many years, creating a tradition that children and youth anticipate year after year. Unfortunately due to COVID-19 we had to take a break for a few years for the safety of our staff and campers. However, in 2022 we were able to make a comeback and led our 18th year of Chalice Camp in Oakland, California! We are excited to continue this tradition of Chalice Camp in 2023 and beyond.

We are also happy to say that Chalice Camp has grown all over the Bay, with new camps in Marin, Santa Rosa and Sacramento. Chalice Camp is an important part of creating community for our UU youth. We're ecstatic that camp has grown and evolved to create space for this community all over California and beyond. 

We believe that Chalice Camp and religious education is as important as soccer camp or horse camp, and by charging market rate, we convey that to the parents. However, we also understand that each family has their own financial considerations, and therefore we do provide scholarships on a case-by-case basis.

Sample Day

A day at Chalice camp is a hoot
9:15am
Circle groups
10:00am
Worship
10:30am
Group activities
12:00pm
Lunch
1:00pm
Group activities
4:30pm
Circle groups
5:00pm
Pickup
Please note: there will be a special all camp potluck, to which all families are invited on Thursday evening at 5:30 pm.  We hope to see you there!

Leadership

Our East Bay Chalice Camp leadership consists of Sara Leyser and Marcus Leifert. Learn about them more below.
Woman smiling in portrait. Black and white, medium format

Sara Leyser

Co-Director
Sara Leyser (she/her) is a through and through Chalice Camp kid! Having attending Chalice Camp since kindergarten, she has grown from a camper to now a director. She has just recently graduated from Tulane University with an bachelors degree in the Psychology of Early Childhood Education. Her home church is the First Unitarian Church of Oakland and she is very excited to be helping to nurture the UU youth in the Bay Area!
[email protected]
Man smiling in portrait

Rev. Marcus Liefert

Co-Director
Rev. Marcus Liefert (he/him) was one of the inaugural Chalice Camp counselors as a high schooler. His passion for building playful and nourishing community is at its peak when the joy of summer camp and the values of Unitarian Universalism collide. He serves as Developmental Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marin and is thrilled to support Unitarian Universalism thriving in the Bay Area by helping to lead Chalice Camp this year.
[email protected]