Frequently Asked Questions – Practical Details:
When is camp?
Friday May 6 – Wednesday May 11, 2022
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.
You can arrive any time after noon on Friday May 6. Note that the first meal served will be Friday dinner.
In order to create the safety necessary for deep emotional work and transformation, we hold camp as a “closed container.” We ask all campers to be on-site and present in time for the orientation and culture-creating workshops that begin on the first Saturday of camp at 9:30 am; drop-ins and latecomers are not allowed. If you only have time to stay for part of camp, that is fine, as long as you start camp with the whole group and are present for the opening sessions.
Yes! We have space for a limited number of people to help with camp set-up and/or take-down and with creating the camp “energy”. Volunteers for set-up arrive Tuesday evening, May 3, so that we are all ready to work first thing on Wednesday. Volunteers for take-down will stay Wednesday night, May 11, and we’ll be ready to work first thing on Thursday, May 12. Volunteers can contribute $20 for either session toward meals.
PLEASE DON’T ARRIVE BEFORE NOON ON FRIDAY, May 6, UNLESS YOU HAVE MADE ARRANGEMENTS TO HELP OUT WITH SET-UP!
The site is in an area that has an average daytime high temperature of mid to high 60’s, and an average nightly low in the mid to low 40’s. In this region, on average it rains about every third or fourth day.
Our indoor accommodations consist of private rooms and cabins ($395-$750) and dorm-style spaces ($75-$195). These include a lodge house and 11 rustic cabins, heated and furnished with twin-size upper and lower bunk beds, full-size futon beds, and queen-sized beds. The cabins also have small lofts that each contain two mattresses side-by-side. Tenting is also available and free of charge. There are 35 flat, shaded, forest floor campsites on the land, some right next to the stream.
We also own a motel that is 3 miles west of the Camp 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. See the motel website for pricing.
What precautions are we taking against COVID-19?
We are committed to making this event safe and connecting. Out of care for the most vulnerable people in our networks, all attendees of Spring Camp must be vaccinated with a booster, and our final protocol, to be announced approximately a month before the event, will include testing as well.
To those community members whose needs are not met by this protocol, please know that we love you, miss you, and look forward to the day when we can all gather together. We are working to develop a metric for when we will consider it safe to connect without precautions.
If our final protocol does not work for you, if you decide to withdraw from attending a CFNC event for COVID-related issues, or if we cancel the event due to a surge in COVID cases, we will issue you a full refund.
Please click here for more detailed information about our COVID-19 policy and protocol.
We expect 35-60 attendees. Enrollment will be capped at 80 people if necessary.
We expect that participants are generally intelligent, thoughtful seekers after a “better way.” We welcome people of all ages, genders, sexualities, race and ethnicities, and lifestyle choices. We range in age from 18 to 80, with a roughly even distribution of people both under and over 40. The majority of campers are white, with some black, Latine, Pacific Islander, and South-East Asian campers as well. We have a wide range of incomes and life situations. Most of us are heterosexual or pansexual, with a small and growing number of gay men and lesbians. The majority of campers are cis, but our events usually do have a handful of trans and gender diverse folks attending. (Most of our organizing team is gender diverse in some way, as well.) Many campers are polyamorous, practicing ethical non-monogamy; all consensual relationship choices are honored. Some of us are Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, pagan, eclectically spiritual, or atheist.
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 not heterosexual — with a mix of straight, gay/lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, gender variant, and those who do not identify with the concept of gender at all, it becomes almost impossible to predict in advance who might be open to relating with whom.
More crucially, though 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, sexual partners, emotional relationships, romantic connections, metamours, open relationships and more. We give extensive training in boundaries and respect. Every mix of campers provides its own set of opportunities and challenges; we choose to work with the people who choose to show up.
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 cabins: sheets, blankets or a sleeping bag, pillows, pillowcases, towels.
For lodge and motel residents: we provide sheets, blankets, pillows, and towels.
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.
Warm clothes for cool weather, boots or hiking shoes for walking through possible mud.
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.
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.
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?
Not currently. If you contact us at least a month in advance, we may be able to coordinate a kids program for your children!
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.
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.
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 will have 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
We want to offer the opportunity for as many people as possible to attend New Culture Spring Camp. 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!
Click here to submit a request for Scholarship or Work Trade
Don’t forget to register too!
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.
Yes! We have opportunities for volunteers. Please get in touch at email@example.com if there is some aspect of camp that you would like to help out with.
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 at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if your needs can be accommodated.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions – Cultural Details
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.
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 the volunteers on Empathy Team. 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.
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.
Absolutely not. While hugging and touch are very much a part of most attendees’ 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.
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.
Yes. There are camper volunteers who support campers with empathy and peer counseling, first aid, and mediation and conflict resolution – some of these people are highly trained. You will have an opportunity to volunteer at camp if you have the appropriate skills, experience, and/or credentials, and wish to share them.
Our clear intention and mission is to create a safe, heartful, intimate community together and a fertile ground for connecting with others in a loving way. To get the most out of the camp experience, it is important to participate in the workshops and assorted group processes which are designed and intended to build intimacy and connection. Because of this, we suggest that you keep any trips away from camp to a minimum. Of course, you are always at choice, and if taking a break, or attending to important matters is what you need to do, we respect that. In order to support deep connection among campers, our policy is not to allow visitors as they tend to pull attendees away from the energy of the camp.
Does everyone at camp engage in polyamory and open relationships?
No. There will be a mix of relationship patterns at camp. This event is a place where all relationship choices are honored and represented. You are at choice to live and love in the way that pleases you best.
We do not make rules about sexual encounters, 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.
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.
Working together builds community. Doing something together that has a tangible benefit, 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 disability or illness that might impact the sort of service work you can do, please get in touch at email@example.com so that we can identify together tasks that are accessible.