Frequently Asked Questions / Practical Details
When is camp?
Friday July 14 – Sunday July 23, 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 between 4 PM on Friday, July 14 and 9 AM on Saturday, July 15. Note that we will have a light dinner available on Friday, July 14. The first full meal served will be Saturday breakfast. Please let us know in advance if you plan to arrive very late at night or very early in the morning.
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 at the beginning, in time for the orientation and culture-setting workshops that begin on the first Saturday of camp at 9 AM. Drop-ins and latecomers are not allowed. If you only have time to stay for part of camp, it’s fine to leave early, as long as you start camp with the whole group and are present for the opening sessions.
Can I come earlier or stay later?
Yes! If you would like to help with camp set-up and/or take-down, you can join us during Pre-Camp, July 11-14, or Post-Camp, July 23-25. Practice New Culture values and processes in an integrated work & play experience! Please contact us at email@example.com or 703-755-0607 if you are interested.
Please don’t arrive before 4 pm on Friday July 14 unless you have made arrangements to help out with pre-camp.
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 personal autonomy and 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?
In July, the area has an average daytime high temperature of 80 degrees and an average nightly low of 55 degrees; lows in the 40’s are not unheard of. The record high ever was 92, so we don’t expect long stretches of uncomfortably warm weather. In this region, on average it rains about every third or fourth day.
Where do we sleep?
Most people camp in their own tents. There are many beautiful, flat campsites on the land, some right next to the stream. We also have indoor dorm-style spaces available for an extra charge. These include a lodge house and several rustic cabins, 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 twin mattresses side-by-side.
If you would like to reserve indoor space, you can do so during the registration process. Priority is given for accessibility needs. The Registration page has pricing and other details.
There is also a motel 3 miles west of the site, less than a 5 minute drive. All rooms have refrigerator, microwave, and private bath; most rooms have two queen beds. Rates for 9 nights (Friday through the following Saturday night) range from $390 to $460.
How many people will be at camp?
For the past few years, we have had 70 to 90 people attending camp. We will cap enrollment at 120 people, so that everyone will have a chance to get to know everyone else during the 10 days together.
Will it be a diverse group of people? What sort of age ranges, backgrounds, etc.?
Summer Camp participants come from a wide variety of backgrounds, generally intelligent, thoughtful truth-seekers interested in finding and creating better ways of living and relating that work for all beings. We are actively doing the work to welcome people of color and folx who are trans/gender diverse, queer, neurodivergent, non-monogamous, disabled, or otherwise systemically oppressed.
AGE: We range in age from 5 to 85, with most people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s.
RACE: The majority of campers are white, with a growing contingent of people of the global majority (people of color) as well. In 2022, 18% of attendees were POC. We are actively working to dismantle white supremacy and be more welcoming of all people. In 2023, we have multiple workshops centered around racial justice, asking the important questions that will help us unwind any ingrained oppressive mindsets or patterns that we still hold around race—individually and collectively. There will also be times in the schedule for separate processing spaces for white folks and people of color, and POC-only spaces and groups.
GENDER: Most campers are cisgender, but a growing number are trans/gender diverse. In 2019, 24% of attendees were trans or gender diverse. We strive to use gender-neutral, queer-normative, and poly-normative language. We don’t have gendered bathrooms, activities, or rules. We invite everyone to share their preferred pronouns. We encourage people to get consent before asking about someone’s identities. You don’t ever have to identify with a gender to be welcome here.
RELATIONSHIP STYLES: Many campers are polyamorous or practicing ethical non-monogamy; all consensual relationship choices are honored. We span the spectrum of relationship styles and sexual orientations.
What kind of bathrooms and showers are available?
We use port-a-potties for toilets, and you’re welcome to pee outside. There is an all-gender shower house with sinks and shower stalls, and private outdoor showers available as well. There is limited access to indoor bathrooms, reserved for people with disabilities and other special needs.
What should I make sure to bring?
For lodge, cottage, and motel residents:
Sheets, blankets, pillows, and towels are provided.
For tent campers:
Tent, a warm sleeping bag or *two* lighter weight sleeping bags (one inside the other), and a foam 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:
- Blankets or a sleeping bag
- Extra blankets for cool nights
- Easy-to-carry water bottle
- Toiletries – biodegradable soap, shampoo, and conditioner
- Safe sex supplies and toys
- Poison ivy remedy
- Biodegradable insect repellent
- Rain gear
- Unscented sunscreen
- Hat for sun protection
- Water shoes for stream walking
- Watch or other timepiece
- Summer clothes or sarongs for hot days, warm clothes for possible cool weather. Boots for possible mud.
- Personal backjack or chair.
- 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?
Musical instruments, face paints, outdoor games, fun/sexy/kinky toys, 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?
We will not be having a children’s program in 2023. If you would like to bring your kids to camp, we might be able to work something out, but we need to make special arrangements. Please get in touch with us right away at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
When we do have enough children in attendance, we organize a cooperative children’s program with assistance from the parents and other campers. The program is designed around the needs of the particular children at camp each year. Please get in touch with us right away if you would like to bring your kids to camp.
Are animals allowed at camp?
No pets, please. Certified service animals are allowed at camp. Please get in touch with us if you would like to bring a service animal to camp.
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, in certain areas—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. WiFi internet is available in and near the lodge, but most of the campsites have no internet access or cell service. We have landlines with free US long distance.
We have an indoor hospitality area at the Mountaineer Motel (3 miles west of the event site; 5 minute drive) with phone lines and WiFi internet. Cell reception is also better there—US Cellular is the main carrier, but Sprint, Verizon, and some other services 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 work at camp?
Creating a New Culture means bringing awareness to all aspects of life: relationships, communication, play—and work! We ask all campers to help co-create the experience with about 10 hours of community service during their stay—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. Details and signups will be sent by email or given on arrival.
Why is everyone expected to do community service work?
Working together builds community. Doing something 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 disability or condition that limits your physical activity, please get in touch with us before camp regarding your service contribution.
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 Cabaret.
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 2h15m from Dulles, 2h45m 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 2h45m 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 see that there is a sliding scale for camp. What should I pay?
We encourage you to pay as much for camp as you feel comfortable paying. Even the high end of the sliding scale is an excellent price for 10 days of meals and high-quality workshops. All of the organizers donate their services. Every bit of the money received goes toward making camp and other New Culture events happen, including providing scholarships for campers with financial need. Bottom line, we want you to feel good about the amount you contribute. We do have worksheets available to help think about this issue, if you would like!
I would like to contribute additional money to camp. Is it tax-deductible?
Yes. Camp is run by the Center for a New Culture, a non-profit corporation with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. If you would like to contribute to CFNC, please get in touch with us. You can also contribute items to our fundraiser auction, held at camp every year.
I can’t afford the full amount of camp fees. Is there scholarship or work exchange available?
We want to offer the opportunity for as many people as possible to attend New Culture Summer Camp East. For those in financial need, we can make work trade and/or scholarship arrangements. Most work trade is available before and just after camp—the work is usually done in the Washington DC area or at our site in West Virginia, and can sometimes be done remotely 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!
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.
I have a disability. Will camp be accessible for me?
The site is accessible for 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.
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 would like to donate items to camp. What do you need?
- Restaurant equipment, cookware, and serving utensils
- Corelle dinnerware: plates, bowls
- Wall hangings and artwork for the common areas
- Back jacks or other low chairs
- Sleeping bags and pads, pillows, blankets
- Large pillows
- Lingerie and dress-up clothes, especially large sizes for men
- Computer projector
- Sound equipment
What are the core values of New Culture Summer Camp?
New Culture Summer Camp seeks to build a sustainable, violence-free culture through exploring intimacy, personal growth, transparency, radical honesty, equality, compassion, sexual freedom, and the power of community.
Please explain transparency and radical honesty. Do we have to tell everyone everything?
Transparency and radically honest communication means being open to verbalize anything that is in your heart, including the parts that you are most reluctant to verbalize. Of course, you are always at choice as to whether you want to be a little honest, radically honest, or not honest at all; at the same time, we suggest you be aware that radical honesty is one of our core values.
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 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. For medicinal substances, see the next question.
What about medicinal substances?
We want you to stay healthy while you’re at camp. Please continue taking any medications that you take regularly and that are medically necessary for you to function at your best. However, please do so discreetly and in a way that doesn’t impact other campers. We have campers in recovery from substance abuse and others who don’t feel comfortable around visible substance use. Smoking of any substance is only permitted in designated areas. Consider using a smokeless alternative. If your use of medications might impair your ability to think clearly, act responsibly, or feel your emotions, and it’s possible for you to reduce or eliminate your use while you’re at camp without a negative impact on your physical and mental health, please consider doing so.
Do I have to hug or touch people at camp?
Absolutely not. While hugging and touch are very much a part of a lot of “New Culturites’” lives, everyone is always completely at choice about whether to participate. We promote a culture where consent is required for any kind of touch. We also 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. We try to build a culture where consent is about more than permission—it’s about what everyone truly wants, in every moment.
Do I have to take my clothes off at camp?
No. Most areas are clothing-optional, but you are always at choice about what you wear or don’t wear. You may see naked people at camp. Typically, depending on the weather, some people will be fully clothed; others will be shirtless or semi-clothed; and a few will be wearing nothing at all. We do ask that people put a sarong or towel between their bare bottoms and the chairs or cushions. Skinny dipping in the creek is always welcome!
Are there any rules about sexual encounters at camp?
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 safe sex supplies, and any boundaries to be honored. We will provide tools to help with these conversations.
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 is the ‘Sensual Space’?
The Sensual Space is a designated space for consensual, structured and unstructured exploration of sensual and sexual activity in community. Exhibitionism and voyeurism (watching) are welcome, as are all kinds of erotic, trance, touch, healing, and ecstatic experiences that may or may not also be explicitly sexual. You must have attended the basic consent workshop and the Sensual Space orientation before entering. Once the Sensual Space is officially opened, campers are free to use the space at any time until the end of camp. There will be sensual workshops offered in the Sensual Space from time to time as well, including short evening programs to help people feel comfortable and set the tone for further exploration.
Do I have to have sex, or watch people have sex?
Absolutely not. The Sensual Space is a small and entirely optional 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 integral to the overall program. 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. We want you to say no to things that don’t feel right for you—and we’ll celebrate when you do!
Will I get to have sex?
Maybe, if you and anyone else involved want to. We teach consent and build a culture of sex normativity—that is, we aim to treat sex like a normal part of life, something to be shared and talked about, rather than something to keep secret or be ashamed of. Some people come to camp looking for sexual encounters or new romantic connections, and some people find them. Others aren’t interested in that kind of connection at all. Enthusiastic consent is paramount. We promote an “ask” culture—where it’s usually okay to ask for what you want, and it’s always okay to say no.
What about kink?
Most consensual kink or BDSM activities are welcome in the Sensual Space, and many campers find kink to be an important part of their sexuality. To support these explorations while protecting people who have trauma triggers, there are certain times during camp where loud impact and pain play are not allowed in the Sensual Space. On one of the nights there will be an exploratorium with opportunities to demo, learn about, and try out different kinky and sexy toys and activities—bring yours!
For the safety of everyone, a few activities are not allowed at all during camp: play that involves blood, excrement, fire, and/or breath restriction.
Does everyone at camp engage in polyamory and open relationships?
Although many campers practice ethically non-monogamous relationships, Summer Camp 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.
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 to generate an energy field of love. One aspect of doing this is to create and honor our sacred container as we experience the workshops and assorted group processes, which are designed and intended to build intimacy and connection. Frequently leaving and re-entering the field would be disruptive both to the flow of our workshops and to the container/energy field. It also brings additional complications with regard to COVID risk. Because of this, we request that you keep any trips away from camp to an absolute minimum, and let us know in advance if you want to leave and come back. Also, if non-campers should happen to drop by the campground, we will not be able to invite them into our space. By honoring these requests, you will help to keep our sacred container intact and thus foster the intimacy and safety necessary for Summer Camp participants to reveal ourselves fully to each other.
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.
I’ve heard that camp can be a real emotional roller coaster. Why would I want to take the ride?
Besides being a wonderful escape from some of the larger society’s regimentation and numbness, Summer Camp can be an intense personal and interpersonal experience. As such, it offers opportunities and challenges to face our own innermost inconsistencies, insecurities and instabilities, and to encounter and respond to those of others. Not every situation at Summer Camp may be to your liking; please keep in mind that you are always at choice to participate or not. Having said that, one of the best parts of Summer Camp is taking experiences that would be challenging in the larger society, and learning to turn them into gifts!
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.