Frequently Asked Questions – Practical Details:
When is camp?
Friday, August 6 – Thursday, August 12, 2021
Where is camp?
Our site is in the mountains of West Virginia, about 2.5 hours west of the DC area, 2.5 hours southeast of Pittsburgh, and about 70 miles west of Winchester, Virginia.
When can I arrive at camp?
You can arrive any time after noon on Friday August 6. Note that the first meal served will be Friday dinner.
What are the COVID-19 protocols for this event?
- All attendees of New Culture Oasis are required to be vaccinated. Please submit your vaccine card here: https://form.123formbuilder.com/5958101/form
- We request, but do not require, that attendees limit exposure (seeing unvaccinated people, being unmasked in public, etc.) in the week leading up to camp.
- All attendees will need to arrange a PCR-RT test no more than two days before they arrive at camp. We ask that people mask until their test returns a negative result If you have any questions or issues with arranging a test, please contact Michael at 703-755-0607.
- We will perform a NON-CONTACT (forehead) temperature screening on everyone as they arrive.
- After a negative test and a “normal” temperature are recorded there will be no masking or distancing requirements for anyone attending the event.
- For any participants who require a higher level of safety than the general camp protocol, we will provide wristbands to participants that will communicate what level of contact they are comfortable with.
I only have time to come to part of camp. Is that OK?
All campers must arrive by Friday evening and bring negative COVID test results. If you leave the grounds and return during camp, you MUST wear a mask and maintain 3-6 feet of distance from anyone who is not part of the New Culture Oasis camp pod. Contact us if you aren’t sure whether your specific situation complies with camp safety protocols.
Can I come earlier or stay later?
Yes! We will be having Pre-Camp from August 3-6! We encourage people to arrive early if they wish to self-isolate on the campground (highly recommended for those who have the J&J vaccine and have nowhere they can self-isolate at home). People can also arrive early to help with camp set-up and with creating the camp “energy”.
Those who wish to isolate or volunteer can arrive Tuesday afternoon or evening on August 3rd; you have a choice to either pay the nightly rate for your sleep space, or help out with set-up tasks. If you are helping with set-up, then plan to be ready to work first thing on Wednesday, August 4th.
Post Camp: Volunteers for take-down will stay Friday night, 8/13, and we’ll be ready to work first thing on Saturday morning, 8/14. Take-down volunteers may stay Saturday night, when we will have connecting activities, leaving no later than 3pm on Sunday, 8/15.
Extended Stay: Everyone is welcome to stay for a an extra relaxed day after we close on Thursday 8/12. On Friday 8/13 lunch and dinner will be provided and breakfast will be self-made with food made available by the kitchen staff. There will be some light organizer run programming, as well as sign-ups for camper-led activities! To cover food for this extended stay we ask anyone planning to stay to give an additional $50 in their registration fees. Everyone is welcome to stay that night as well into Saturday. We ask that anyone not volunteering to help with our takedown over the weekend plan to leave no later than noon on Saturday 8/14.
Work and play in loving community! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 240-920-6431 if you are interested.
PLEASE DON’T ARRIVE BEFORE NOON ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 6, UNLESS YOU HAVE MADE PRIOR ARRANGEMENTS!
I keep hearing this phrase, “at choice”. What does it mean?
It means that you get to choose, minute by minute, what you will do or not do. Being at choice is about radical consent, in every moment. There are only a few rules at camp, and these help make a safe container for us (e.g., no drugs or alcohol, no violence); beyond those rules, everyone is empowered to choose their own course. We encourage people to check in with themselves and how they are feeling at the present moment. Sometimes people make plans or try activities that don’t turn out as they expected. Follow your joy and excitement, rather than a sense of obligation.
What will the weather be like?
A range of weather is possible, from Comfortably warm to HOT, and WET to DRY. . The average high temperature is near 75-85 degrees and the average nightly low temperature is in the mid-50’s or below; lows in the 40’s are not unheard of. In this region, we get a rainy day about every third or fourth day, and occasional brief sprinkles in between.
Where do we sleep?
Everyone is welcome to tent, for no additional fee. There are 35 flat, shaded, forest-floor campsites on the land, some right next to the stream, and many will hold more than one tent.
We also have 10 rustic cabins with individual beds available for rent. These are shared sleeping spaces.
If you wish more comfort, we also own a motel that is 3 miles west of the Oasis site, less than a 5 minute drive. All motel rooms have air conditioning/heating, WiFi Internet, refrigerator, microwave, satellite TV, phone, and private bath; most rooms have two queen beds. Rates for 4 nights (Wednesday through Saturday), up to 2 people, range from $250 to $300; extra persons are $45 each.
How many people will be at camp?
At New Culture Oasis we expect anywhere between 40-70+ attendees. Our absolute maximum is around 90; if public health concerns make it necessary, we will cap at a lower number.
Will it be a diverse group of people? What sort of age ranges, backgrounds, etc.?
We expect that participants will be generally intelligent, open-hearted, thoughtful explorers of the expansive lovestyle that is polyamory. We welcome people of all ages, genders, sexualities, race and ethnicities, and lifestyle choices.
Will camp be “gender balanced”?
Many groups “gender balance” their events by requiring an equal number of men and women to participate. One reason for this practice is to make sure that women do not feel overwhelmed by aggressive male energy; another reason is to have roughly equal numbers of potential partners for “both genders.” We deliberately choose NOT to gender balance. For one thing, many of our participants are do not fit into the gender binary, and many others are not strictly heterosexual — we often have a mix of straight, gay/lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, gender variant, and those who do not identify with the concept of gender at all– so the question of who might be open to relationships with whom becomes almost meaningless. More crucially, although many people do find romantic connections at camp, that is not our main purpose. Our goal is to increase emotional intimacy and deep heart connection among people in all sorts of relationships: live-in lovers, married couples, triads, friends, sexual partners, emotional relationships, romantic connections, metamours, open relationships and more. We give extensive training in boundaries and respect, and at events where we have had more men than women, the women reported not even noticing that they were “outnumbered”. Every mix of campers provides its own set of opportunities and challenges; we choose to work with the people who choose to show up.
What should I make sure to bring?
For tent campers: tent, warm sleeping bag or *two* lighter weight sleeping bags (one inside the other), and pad/air mattress. Sheets inside a sleeping bag add to the warmth as well. If you are using an air mattress, an extra layer of insulation between you and the mattress is highly recommended– a comforter or foam pad will help a lot.
For campers staying in rustic cabins w/electric: sheets, blankets or a sleeping bag, pillows, pillowcases, towels.
For campers staying in non-electric rustic cabins: lanterns, sheets, blankets or a sleeping bag, pillows, pillowcases, towels.
For motel residents: sheets, blankets, pillows, and towels are provided.
Flashlights, extra blankets, towels, easy-to-carry water bottle, toiletries, biodegradable soap, shampoo, and conditioner, safe sex supplies, rain gear, a watch or other timepiece, earplugs.
Light clothing for warm summer days, boots or walking shoes for walking through dry or muddy weather.
Personal snacks or food items to prepare for yourself in the Personal Foods Kitchen if you have special food needs.
Your sense of humor and willingness to co-create an incredible experience.
What else might I want to bring?
Acoustic musical instruments, face paints, your favorite dance music, fun and outrageous clothing or costumes for festive dance parties, a personal journal and pens/pencils, books to share in our lending library, flyers about related events.
What should I leave at home?
Alcohol or recreational drugs, valuables of any sort, non-biodegradable soaps, shampoos, or conditioners, pets of any size. Weapons of any kind are not allowed. Some campers are highly allergic to scents so please do not wear any scented products at camp, including essential oils or other “natural” scented products.
Is there a program for children and/or teenagers?
There will not be a children’s program for New Culture Oasis, but we hope to continue offering one at future camps!
Are service animals allowed at camp?
Certified service animals are allowed at camp. Please get in touch with us if you would like to bring a service animal to camp. No pets, please.
Are chemical, natural, and aromatic enhancement allowed?
Coffee and tea, both caffeinated and decaf, are available. Please leave alcohol and recreational drugs at home. (Learning to relate well to people requires all the unaffected faculties we can muster!) There is a designated smoking area. Please leave perfumes and other scents, including “natural” scents and essential oils, at home to accommodate for allergies.
Is there phone and internet service at camp?
Yes, though we suggest that you spend as little time as possible on the phone or internet, in order to be present with the community-building, learning opportunities, and personal connections at camp. Most cell phones do not work at our site, though some will work about a mile up the road. We have landlines available onsite, with free US long distance. WiFi Internet will be available in and near the lodge.
We will have an indoor hospitality area at the Mountaineer Motel (3 miles west of the event site; 5 minute drive) that has phone lines that can be used for longer calls, with free long distance in the US. There is also WiFi Internet. Cell reception is also better there; US Cellular is the main carrier, but Sprint and Verizon roam onto US Cellular. Some other services may also be able to roam onto US Cellular.
What kind of food will there be?
All of the meals are vegetarian and vegan compatible, with a lot of variety. Please let us know if you have a food allergy or special diet; we will do our best to accommodate you. Snacks, leftovers, fruit, coffee and tea are available at all times. We also have a Personal Foods Kitchen for those with special food needs to store and prepare their own foods. Note that we take special pride in the quality of the foods that we prepare; most campers, even those who regularly eat meat, find that they need little or nothing to supplement the vegetarian camp fare. Dishes, cups, and silverware will be provided; you are welcome to bring your own if you prefer. The first meal served will be Friday dinner at 6 PM.
Will I need to do community service at camp?
We ask all campers to help co-create the experience with about 1 hour for each night you are at camp – kitchen duty, clean-up after meals, keeping our meeting spaces orderly, etc. All service contributions at camp will take into account any physical or other limitations you may have.
Do people play music and sing at camp?
All music-making is greatly appreciated. Bring your instruments and talents. Be part of the live music celebration and share your music during the afternoons or during the Open Sessions.
What should I do with my car during camp?
There is ample parking close to or in the campground, and most campsites have parking spaces. If you have a special need that requires your car to be near you, let us know. Please plan to use your car as little as possible during camp, to reduce fumes and preserve our connections to each other and nature.
Can I bring an RV to camp?
Our site can accommodate only a very few small RVs and campers, and we do not have hookups for RVs. Please get permission in advance if you plan to bring an RV.
What airport should I use if I am flying to camp?
The closest airports are Dulles International Airport (IAD), Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), and Reagan National (DCA). Without traffic delays, camp is about 2:15 hours from Dulles, 2:45 hours from Reagan National, and a little less than three hours drive from BWI, so you can either rent a car or we can help arrange a carpool or group ride from there to camp. The Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) is also a possibility. It is about 2:45 hours away, but there is hardly ever any traffic to cope with, so that time is very consistently real. We also have an e-list to assist in helping campers find rides with each other.
I don’t want to drive to camp. Can I get there on public transportation?
We encourage as many people as possible to carpool to camp. Once you have registered, we will add you to an online group where you can network with other campers and arrange carpools. We do offer one pickup on Friday evening from the Amtrak station in Cumberland, MD; this must be arranged in advance. The organizers will help out with carpools as much as possible.
I can’t afford the full amount of camp fees. Is there work exchange or scholarship available?
We want to offer the opportunity for as many people as possible to attend New Culture Oasis. For those in financial need, we can make work trade and/or scholarship arrangements. Most work trade is available before pre-camp and after post-camp – the work is usually done in the Washington DC area or at our site in West Virginia, and can sometimes be done in your home area as well. We are also open to barter arrangements. Please get in touch with us – if you want to be there, we want you there! Let’s figure out what works for you!
Deadline for financial assistance requests: August 4th, 2021
Click here to submit a request for Scholarship or Work Trade
Don’t forget to register too!
Who is CFNC? Is it a business or what?
The Center for a New Culture(CFNC), a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation with tax-exempt status, is the fiscal sponsor for this event. It is a partnership of professional organizers who have been involved with social change and personal growth work for many decades. Find more info here and here.
Can I help organize camp?
Yes! We have opportunities for volunteers. Please get in touch if there is some aspect of camp that you would like to help out with.
Can I smoke, light fires, or use candles at camp?
Candles and any other open flames may not be used anywhere except in the fire rings provided at each tent site or cabin; they must never be used inside a tent or cabin. You may build campfires in the fire pits; please pay the site $5 per load of firewood, and be sure that any fire is extinguished before you leave it or go to sleep. There are dedicated smoking areas at camp; please do not smoke in or near any of the other public spaces at camp, nor in any of the indoor accommodations.
I have a disability. Will camp be accessible for me?
The site will be accessible for most people with some types of disabilities, but may be challenging for others. If you have questions about disability access, or have any special food, medical, or other needs, please get in touch with us to see if your needs can be accommodated.
I’m feeling left out; a lot of people here seem to know each other. What should I do?
Since so many of us have experienced rejection and carry wounds from those experiences, you are unlikely to be the only one with these feelings. Luckily, you have many options. You can sit with your feeling and see what you might learn from it. You can ask for support from fellow campers or from our trained staff. You can offer to help with the work of camp; the cooks and the organizers are always happy for more help, and it’s a great way to meet people. You can decide that you are welcome and include yourself in conversations or ask for hugs. You can be transparent and tell people you are feeling left out and want to connect.
Why aren’t alcohol and recreational drugs allowed at camp?
We will be learning about and practicing deep connections with others during the five days at camp. In order to ensure that people are able to be truly present and available for themselves and each other, we ask everyone to maintain clear minds and bodies by abstaining from drinking alcohol and taking recreational drugs during camp. Also, the site has strict rules against recreational drugs that we wish to respect.
Do I have to hug or touch people at camp?
Absolutely not. While hugging and touch are very much a part of most campers’ lives, everyone is always completely “at choice” about whether to participate. We encourage you to take responsibility for your experience by clearly communicating your preferences about touch to the people around you.
Do I have to ask permission every time I want to hug or touch someone?
Yes, unless you have a prior agreement with this person that touch is always welcome; and even then, it can be a good idea to check in frequently. After all, the most enjoyable kind of touch is that which is welcomed by all participants.
Is there support available for campers who are having emotional issues?
Yes. There are camper volunteers and trained staff who support campers with empathy & peer counseling, first aid, and mediation & facilitation. You will have an opportunity to volunteer at camp if you have the appropriate skills, experience, and/or credentials, and wish to share them.
Can we make trips to visit friends or nearby attractions during camp? Or can our friends come and visit us at camp?
This year, as part of our COVID-19 protocols, we ask everyone to stay onsite for the entire camp and not make excursions. In general, our policy is not to allow visitors at our events as they tend to pull attendees away from the energy of the camp – this year in particular, we are not permitting visitors or latecomers.
If you have an emergent need to leave the site during camp, please check in with an organizer to make sure that your contacts during your time off-site will not trigger a need for another isolation and testing period.
I may wish to participate in sexual encounters. Are there any rules?
We do not make rules about sexual encounters between adults, but we highly recommend conscious, informed decision-making. To make this possible, appropriate conversation before engaging would include sharing relevant sexual and relationship histories, any health concerns, guidelines for use of safer sex supplies, and any boundaries to be honored.
Sexual activity is limited to private spaces and the Sensual Space, so that those who don’t wish to observe can also remain “at choice”.
What Exactly is the Sensual Space anyway?
It is a small and entirely voluntary part of the overall program, and is in a separate part of the grounds, so anyone who doesn’t have an interest in it won’t have to deal with it in any way, and won’t be missing anything important. It is a place for structured exploration of erotic, trance, and other healing and ecstatic experiences that may or may not also be explicitly sexual.
We have found that this carefully contained space can be valuable for many people, and can be especially healing for those with sexual trauma or repression. Also, it is a unique context for dropping pretense, and being honest about our needs, desires, challenges, and gifts that we have to offer–without expecting anyone else to feel obliged to meet them. Nothing is compulsory–our most important value is that each person is completely at choice about however they want to participate or not. Enthusiastic consent is essential; we sometimes say that anything that’s not a “Hell, YES!” is really a “No” in disguise. Whenever the Sensual Space is not scheduled, individuals are free to use the space however they wish; however, that is not part of the official program.
The schedule looks really packed. Is it OK to miss events or show up late to them?
You are entirely at choice. We hold a group intention of honoring the presenters by starting events on time. Unless the presenter has requested that no one join after the presentation has started, latecomers will be welcome to step into events. At the same time, it is respectful not to expect others to summarize for you what you have missed or to jump in on a discussion that you have heard little of.
Why is everyone expected to do community service work?
Working together builds community and creates a stage for other aspects of ourselves to arise. Doing something productive and real, together such as helping prepare a meal, allows us to experience people in a different kind of setting, and to practice the relationship skills that we will be learning. If you have a handicap or illness that would make it difficult for you to contribute, please check in with us before camp.