All Star 2 Family Conference: The Intimate Universe – Stories of Connection and Context

July 8, 2017 to July 15, 2017

Family-friendly, creative, and diverse, All Star II is a week that can be as active or relaxing as you’d like it to be. Opportunities abound for both adults and children to make or enjoy music and art; dive into a game of baseball, volleyball, or tennis; explore the harbor by rowboat; investigate the island’s history or marine and bird life; play games; join together in the candle-lit stone chapel; take a morning polar bear dip or a yoga break; bring your talents to the stage on stunt night or at the musicale; watch the sunset at a music-laden marshmallow roast; listen to some engaging “talks on the rocks;” partake in the many All Star II traditions; or just settle into a porch rocker to talk with friends new and old or read a good book. There are few demands but many temptations, and even more opportunities to create the kind of lasting friendships that continually delight new Shoalers and keep old Shoalers coming back for years.

Theme of the Week

The Intimate Universe: Stories of Connection and Context, From the Lives of the Stars to Life Outside the Earth. So many people assume that the study of astronomy and the larger universe is the story of things that are far away from us, both in distance and in time. The universe began over 13 billion years ago; even the nearest stars are many trillions of miles away. It also seems to be a tale of loneliness; in an unimaginably vast universe, we have yet to find anyone out there to share our reality and give our existence context. But this vision of a distant and empty universe could not be farther from our human experience. Our bodies are largely made of water, a prime component of which was formed during the first three minutes of existence, when the temperature of the universe was many millions of degrees. Our blood is red thanks to a star dozens or hundreds of times the mass of the Sun that died billions of years ago. That is the only way the universe has to make the hydrogen atoms in water, or the iron atom in our blood. Our world is one among many thousands of planets that we now study, and even in our own solar system, there are half a dozen worlds, at least, that may have life on them today. Indeed, the story of the universe is a story of richness and connection, and this news comes at the perfect time in history, when we must draw together as a species and a planet to take responsibility for our future.

Youth Programming

Experienced and dedicated program staff guide children—from newborns to high-school students—through their week. Grouped by age, children gather with their leaders for an hour and a half every morning and most afternoons. Together, they’ll visit the art barn to delve into guided art projects, investigate island mysteries and lore, row to nearby Smuttynose, spend lots of time outdoors, and—among many other activities—explore the marine lab’s touch and temporary holding tanks that showcase the surrounding sea life. Care is taken to help each group bond, and each child prosper. Highlights include the Children’s Stunt Show, where kids take to the stage to perform skits and songs before an enthusiastic audience, and the Great People Hunt, an island-wide, highly spirited game of hide and seek that involves all ages. Each group has its own meeting space and two leaders. Before you arrive on Star, your child’s leaders will send a welcome letter noting any special requests for the week. Recent high school graduates can opt to participate in the senior-teen group.

Theme Speaker

Michelle Thaller, Ph.D., Deputy Director of Science for Communication at NASA Headquarters

Minister of the Week

Rev. Joseph Cleveland, UU Congregation of Saratoga Springs, New York

Program Fee

$100/adult (18+) and $85/child ($370/family maximum)


Financial assistance is available to individuals with need through the The Ginny Levine Shoalership Fund. For information and an application, visit our website or contact All inquiries and awards are kept confidential.

Room & Board Rates

These rates include lodging, meals, and ferry transportation.

AS2 Standard Shared Standard Single Motel Shared Motel Single
Adult 18+ $939 $1,264 $1,156 $1,680


Youth rates are determined by age on the first day of the program, regardless of room type.

AS2 Under 6 6-11 Yrs 12-17 Yrs
Youths Free $439 $627

Ferry Schedule

Saturday, July 8
Departure: Portsmouth 2:25 p.m.
Arrival: Star Island 3:25 p.m
Saturday, July 15
Departure: Star Island 8:20 a.m.
Arrival: Portsmouth 9:45 a.m.


Contact Registrar Ron Cordes at