Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who owns the island?

The Star Island Corporation (SIC) owns Star Island, along with part of Appledore Island. Their web site is at and their offices are in Portsmouth. The Corporation has 400 members, including people from all the conferences and from current and past Pelicans. It is independent of the Unitarian Universalist Association (actually, it's an "affiliate" of the UUA) and the United Church of Christ, although many conferences are directed at UUs or UCCs. Their "About Us" page has links to lists of staff members and how to become a Corporation member.

Q. Who runs the island?

The Star Island Corporation runs the island, including running the hotel, arranging for boat transportation, providing meals, hiring Pelicans, open up, close up, and everything else that has to do with the island and building itself.

Q. What are conferences?

Conferences are meetings that run from two to seven days. As the Star Island conference web page says, "Each conference is self-administered, arranging for speakers, workshops, and childcare as well as registering participants." All Star II is one of the conferences (some say the best, though perhaps others might argue that point).

Q. Does Star Island Corporation run the conferences?

The Corporation doesn't run any conferences. Instead, it relies on the various conferences to fill the island week after week all summer.

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 II 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 II recently incorporated, since it's become hard for a non-incorporated group to have a bank account or buy insurance. The name of the corporation is the All Star II Family Conference Corporation. The members of the corporation are the past chairs of All Star II.

Q. Are there written by-laws?

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

The All Star II Corporation has written by-laws, too -- we had to have them in order to incorporate. Luckily, our past chairs group includes some lawyers, so Ed Doty and Spike Dier drew some up. They are online here: Bylaws.

Q. What are the "chairs"?

That is short for Chair People, i.e. Chairmen, Chairwomen, or a combination, who are in charge of the All Star II conference for 1 year.

Q. How are the chairs chosen?

Each year during All Star II, the past chairs meet to transact any business that has come up, and to choose whom to ask to be the chairs for next year. Nominations are based on a number of criteria, including how long they've attended All Star II, how much they do for the week, and whether they seem like the kind of people who would enjoy spending a year organizing the most important vacation of the year for 280 or so people. Sometimes we ask non-traditional groupings, like two friends or a couple and a friend. Nominees do sometimes turn us down (with no hard feelings!) for all sorts of reasons.

Q. What are the chairs' responsibilities?

The chairs choose the speakers, choose the children's staff, accept registrations, and assign volunteer jobs. They run all the activities that are part of the conference, although if they have delegated well enough, by the time the week actually starts, others are doing almost all the work.

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.

Q. When do the past chairs meet?

We meet twice a year -- Sunday afternoon during All Star II and sometime during the fall off-island. At the fall meeting, the current chairs let us know how planning is going and whether any business has come up that can't wait until next July.

Q. Who are the past chairs?

They are listed on the Past Conferences page.

Q. Do they have a secret handshake?

We used to, but no one can remember it! If you know of a good one, let us know.

Q. How are conferees selected?

For the past few years (since 2015), All Star 2 has admitted conferees on a first come, first served basis. Prior to that, the Chairs were responsible for selecting conferees based on the below criteria.

Within limits, each year, the current chairs can use any method they like to select conferees. However, consideration of these criteria is recommended:

We accept the last year's chairs who apply by the deadline.

Accept 15% New Shoalers.

If possible, anyone who waited on the waiting list last year until the bitter end is accepted.

Past chairs do not have a say in who is admitted.

Current criteria include:

  • The importance of admitting regular, long-standing attendees

  • The importance of admitting new attendees to the conference

  • The importance of extended, multi-generation families

  • The continuity of participation in the children’s program

  • The applicant’s service to All Star II in the recent past

  • The applicant’s expected service to the upcoming conference

  • The importance of admitting elderly or ill long-standing conferees

  • The availability of appropriate housing

Q. How are volunteer positions filled?

Each year, the chairs use their own judgment. All look at the questionnaires that we fill out from the previous year. Some like to keep happy volunteers in the same positions they had before. Others like to shake things up.

Q. Must I volunteer for stuff?

There's no requirement, although our idea of All Star II is that everyone contributes, and if everyone decided not to volunteer for stuff, the conference would cease to function. Some chairs have used past willingness to volunteer as one criterion when making acceptance decisions.

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

Talk to any past chair. Be sure to talk to us if you have a non-traditional grouping to suggest (that is, not a couple).

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

Again, talk to any past chair. We can answer your question, or figure out who else to ask.