Frequently Asked Questions – Practical Details:
When is camp?
Friday May 5 – Wednesday May 10, 2023
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 May 5. Note that the first meal served will be Friday dinner.
I only have time to come to part of camp. Is that OK?
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 evening of camp at 7:30pm. Drop-ins 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. Experienced New Culture participants may inquire about the possibility of late arrival.
Can I come earlier or stay later?
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 2, so that we are all ready to work first thing on Wednesday. Volunteers for take-down will stay Wednesday night, May 10, and we’ll be ready to work first thing on Thursday, May 11. Volunteers can contribute $20 for either session toward meals.
PLEASE DON’T ARRIVE BEFORE NOON ON FRIDAY, May 5, UNLESS YOU HAVE MADE ARRANGEMENTS TO HELP OUT WITH SET-UP!
What will the weather be like?
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.
Where do we sleep?
Our indoor accommodations consist of private rooms and cabins ($395-$750) and dorm-style spaces ($0-$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. A twin bunk bed is included in the registration fee. 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, we require testing before and during camp, plus EITHER vaccination and a booster OR a quarantine period onsite before the event.
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.
How many people will be at camp?
We expect 30-50 attendees. Enrollment will be capped at 80 people if necessary.
Will it be a diverse group of people? What sort of age ranges, backgrounds, etc.?
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. Campers 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. There are a wide range of incomes and life situations. Most attendees are heterosexual or pansexual, with a small and growing number of gay men and lesbians. The majority of campers are cis with a significant minority of trans and gender diverse folks attending. Many campers are polyamorous, practicing ethical non-monogamy; all consensual relationship choices are honored. Religious affiliations include Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, pagan, eclectically spiritual, or atheist.
We work to create a welcoming space for all humans, including POC, trans, gender diverse, LGB, non-monogamous, disabled, and neurodiverse folx of all ages and backgrounds. Hate speech or discrimination of any kind is not welcome in the space. Please come with an open mind and open ears, and a willingness to learn about experiences different than your own.
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. Many of our participants are neither heterosexual nor cisgender — with a mix of participants who are straight, gay/lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, trans, gender diverse, and those who do not identify with the concept of gender at all, the concept of “gender balance” becomes meaningless.
In addition, though many people do find romantic or sexual 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.
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 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.
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?
Not currently. If you contact us at least a month in advance, we may be able to coordinate a kids program for your children!
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 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.
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. 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.
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 assignments 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.
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 (an hour’s drive from our site); 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 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!
Please send us your financial assistance request by April 21, 2023.
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 at firstname.lastname@example.org if there is some aspect of camp that you would like to help out with.
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 at email@example.com 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.
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 the volunteers on the 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.
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 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.
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. If you have any questions about consent, please talk to the Consent Team – they are here to support, educate, mediate, and set camp-level boundaries as needed.
Is there support available for campers who are having emotional issues?
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. There is also a Consent Team that follows up on boundary crossings and consent incidents, and a Belonging and Equity Team that follows up on conflicts and incidents related to systemic inequalities such as racism, sexism, or transphobia.
Can we make trips to visit friends or nearby attractions during camp? Or can our friends come and visit us at camp?
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, though you are at choice. In order to support deep connection among campers, we do not allow visitors as they tend to pull attendees away from the energy of the camp.
If you do leave camp during the event, please do not connect with other people indoors unless it is brief and you are wearing an N95 or better mask – otherwise our COVID “bubble” will be broken and you will be exposing campers to risk.
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.
I hear camp is clothing optional. What does that mean?
Being naked is not seen as inherently sexual or sensual at camp – it’s a way for people to express their freedom and honor their bodies. With some exceptions, campers are free to choose whether they wear clothing or not at camp, including in the main meeting spaces. In practice, in early May that will probably mean that occasionally people are topless, or that people strip off clothes during the ecstatic dance. The guideline is that you must cover your bottom in the food line and must sit on something that belongs to you, and there are some areas onsite where clothing is required because they are near the front of the property.
I may wish to participate in sexual encounters. Are there any rules?
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?
The Sensual Space is a shared community place for sensual and/or sexual activity, including structured exploration of erotic, trance, and other healing and ecstatic experiences that may or may not also be explicitly sexual. We do extensive consent training and orientation before opening the space, and have conduct guidelines. Sometimes there are organized activities in the space, and most of the time it is just free for people to use. 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.
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.
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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can identify together tasks that are accessible.