Summer Camp 2023 Program Descriptions
* – Important or necessary for first-time attendees
Easing into Connection – Harper Owen Quante
Let’s find out who’s here and what we have to offer each other! We’ll spend much of the time moving around, meeting new folks and deepening existing relationships. Participants can engage with the group and get quick, direct feedback on issues they care about. We’ll also have time to go deeper in one-on-one connections. This is a quick, fun, easy way to meet lots of people, get a sense of the diversity of the group, and explore opening up to each other.
*Culture-building: Opening Circle & Foundational Concepts – Indigo Dawn, David Thurston, & Keira Driver
In our first day together, we’ll create the cultural container that will hold and nourish us for our collective adventure. We’ll discover our intentions for camp, meet our teams and people with special roles, and start building a field of empowerment, love, and freedom. The facilitators will guide us in a dynamic combination of sweet connection, presencing ritual, and compelling logistical details. The organizers request that all campers join us who are not performing camp duties so that we can form our community with common understandings.
*Beyond Consent – Mischa Byruck
Even in the most advanced spaces, consent can often consist of complicated and disjointed behavioral norms which don’t keep us safe or fulfilled. In this workshop we re-orient to the purpose of consent culture, which is to reduce harm and increase connection. We go beyond the transactional frameworks of “getting consent,” and learn the skills of embodied attunement, rolling out the red carpet for no, separating desire from agenda, and being power-informed and trauma-aware. Through dyad activities, story shares, small group discussions, and embodiment practice, participants learn safer and more respectful ways to approach the dance of escalation with curiosity and joy.
Building Our Love Field – Sarah Taub
The Summer Camp program arc is a deep dive into topics that can be intense. Our foundation for this exploration is mutual respect, compassion, delight, and encouragement: a community “Love Field” that holds us all. Join us for a series of partnered, small-group, and whole-group guided explorations that will help us build and deepen our collective field of love. The session will focus on emotional connection and nurturing touch. All participants are always “at choice” to modify the interactions so that they are comfortable with them, or simply to witness.
Cuddles & Consent – Amy Whicker & Harper Owen Quante
Engage in activities that empower you to express your desires, embody deeper consent practices, and honor your own needs while respecting others. Experience a nurturing environment to discover your desires, communicate your boundaries, and explore the power of nurturing touch. You will be guided through activities to practice setting boundaries, identifying and expressing what you really want, and hearing “no” as a gift instead of rejection. After learning these tools and creating a space focused on authentic choice, we move into a free-form open cuddle.
MMM… Meditation.Movement.Music – Quanta Jana Cutler
Space will be held for a number of 30-Minute MMM (meditation.movement.music) sessions sprinkled about during free-time periods throughout the camp experience. This gentle, accessible process includes focused breath, freedom mindfulness and intentional movement all infused with thoughtfully curated music. All Bodies and Abilities are Welcome.
Emotional Superpowers – Indigo Dawn
Imagine that at the core of every emotional reaction is pure bliss. Imagine that you have immense power to feel exactly how you want to feel. Sound too good to be true? Well it’s NOT! In this workshop, we’ll give you both conceptual frameworks and embodied exercises to cultivate nimble resilience to your emotional reactions and take empowered steps towards emotional choice, healing, and fulfillment. These tools are bona fide emotional superpowers that will help you connect more deeply to yourself and others, be more fully alive in your body, and better actualize your boundless human potential for joy and expansion!
Going Deeper – Multiple sessions throughout camp
Over the years we’ve been building a culture that supports intimacy by teaching skills for healthy boundaries, handling painful emotions, holding space for others’ process, and so on. Now it’s time to take it to the next level. When the need arises to give difficult feedback or address something that’s getting in the way of getting close to another person, many times we still let it go, not wanting to ruin a happy moment or create a rift. But in reality, we’re keeping ourselves from intimacy when we could have it. When we’re willing to tell another person what’s keeping us from getting closer, we actually get closer.
In the “Going Deeper” spaces, we’ll have a chance to share difficult truths, intimate appreciations, and vulnerable parts or ourselves. Let’s get beyond this kind of sharing being an extraordinary experience, to where it’s an ordinary everyday thing. Every day we deepen our connections. Consider the possibility that we have no idea who our closest friends could be once we start sharing at this level. We have no idea what could happen when we really give our relationships our deepest attention.
ZEGG Forum – the Forum Team, daily
ZEGG Forum (http://www.zegg-forum.org/index_en.phtml) was created at ZEGG, an intentional community in Germany, and its sister communities as a way of promoting transparency and mutual understanding among community members. ZEGG members found that decision-making meetings often got derailed because of emotional conflicts and undercurrents that were not known to or understood by all. In Forum, each individual’s experience could be seen and understood, leading to greater empathy and creativity in the community. Now, many residential and non-residential intentional communities have adopted Forum as a way to maintain ongoing connection, intimacy and understanding.
The goal of Forum is to reveal what is alive but not known to all. The community sits in a circle, forming a stage for one person at a time to stand and show what is true for them. Facilitators may assist the person (or “presenter”) to reveal themselves more deeply. Afterward, community members may offer reflections, or “mirrors,” on what they saw.
One of the gifts of ZEGG Forum is that it allows us a space to appreciate every perspective without taking it on as “truth.” Every voice has its own poignancy, its own wisdom, its own truth, that does not negate the wisdom and truth of other perspectives. Allowing all voices to surface and be known can lead to a profound and unexpected integration within a community. We tend to think that events leading to painful experiences and conflicts are bad, because they feel bad in the moment. However, when we open ourselves and compassionately witness what is happening for everyone, these experiences can be gateways to greater closeness, understanding, and love. When conflict emerges, whether or not we are in a formal Forum space, we can choose to listen in this way. This deep listening sustains and nurtures community life and relationships.
*Sensual Space Orientation – Fuzzy Shostak & Emma Daley
The Sensual Space is a safely held separate space to explore consensual sensuality and sexuality in community with others. 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 will give an introduction to the space, explain why we have it, answer questions, present important guidelines for safety and consent, and share some stories and tips for getting the most out of it. If you haven’t attended this orientation before, it is required that you attend it before entering the Sensual Space.
Sensual Space Opening – Fuzzy Shostak & Emma Daley
After the orientation, those who wish will proceed to the Sensual Space for its official opening. All are invited to explore the Sensual Space—the opening activity will invite sensual connection without any expectation of sexuality. Sexuality is welcome in the space, and usually some people will transition from the opening activity into sexual activity. After this session, the Sensual Space is open for all campers to use at any time until camp ends.
Listening, Touch, & Song: Using These 3 Magics To Dismantle Our Oppression – Aaron Johnson
Even in a touch and intimacy positive space, racism can make hearing and holding hard. Thoughtful white touch and connection– without grounding in antiracism practice and support– can feel reductive or extractive from people of the global majority (a.k.a POC), including black folks. Seeing and holding PGM as complete beings can make touch feel nourishing and connecting, rather than extractive to the PGM body. Wherever you are in your antiracism journey, we’ll dive into these topics with compassion in our white-dominant space– while using the three magics of listening, song, and touch to slow down and connect.
Let Nature Flow Through You: Authentic Movement – Leslie Blackburn & Dragon
Exploring outside in nature, we will begin by diving into our awareness of self, then widen into the relational space with the Earth, soil, leaves, trees. What is it like to open our bodies to the possibilities of ecstatic currents in and through our bodies and nature, and to gently allow a widening of our awareness as we meet our sexual erotic energy? With lover Earth as our guide, we will then partner up, hold space for each other as movers and witnesses. What wants to be seen? What layers of shame are ready to let go? What inspiration from nature wants to be explored? Listen to your body for guidance.
Building A Nest That Helps Us Get Ahead of the Trauma Story – Aaron Johnson
Loving community can act as a nest to incubate both individual and collective transformation. Within that nest, trauma tracking helps us get ahead of the hurt and trauma that is oftentimes present in white-controlled communities. Together, we will explore simple, powerful practices to help our majority-white participants transform how we see ourselves, find resourcing and resilience, and grow our capacity for intentional integration.
Expect to be amused and surprised by the variety of unusual items and services donated by fellow campers for bidding. Previous auctions have included such offerings as “1000 kisses” and “a morning serenade.” Auction proceeds help to provide scholarships and improve future camps.
Connection Games – Harper Owen Quante
Who are you? Who am I? Who are we? In this high-energy, interactive workshop, we will play a number of games aimed at fostering a better understanding of ourselves and others. We will practicing honesty and authenticity with others, so that we can learn to be honest and authentic with ourselves. Our time together will develop our empathy, strengthen our community and relationships, and help us gain a better understanding of our true selves.
Emergent Strategy: Resourcing Ourselves – David Thurston & Sarah Taub
Over the course of this camp, we are working to integrate the principles and practices of emergent strategy into the transformative and emotionally intentional work that serves as New Culture’s foundation. Our first workshop is on resourcing ourselves through the lens of emergent strategy. We will introduce the principles of emergent strategy and facilitate a collective exploration of these ideas through movement and creation.
Surrender Into Wildness: A Dance Journey – Quanta Jana Cutler
This ninety-minute Dance Journey embodies the theme of “You, Me, We” into motion… Entering with intentions to cast off our mental inhibitions and allow our bodies to take over and express ourselves… Each of us with our own unique flavor blending together as one… surrendering to the Vortex of Music, Emotions and Energetic Vibrations. We will be Sounding along with moving, so feel free to bring Drums, Rattles, Shakers, and other Noise-makers to add to the Cacophony. Be your own Avatar… Embody Animal Spirits, Faeries, Familiars, or Woodland Creatures… Wear Hand-Picked Organics, Body-Paint, Make-up, and Cos-Play of all kinds… All is Encouraged but none are required. Abandoning clothing and appearance conventions as you are moved to… Or come just as you are… You can’t get it wrong… We’ll discover what unfolds together… In the Wild. All Bodies and Abilities are Welcome.
Gold Standard Apologies – Mischa Byruck
A powerful restoration practice is a transformative tool for maintaining trust and connection within our communities and relationships, and can even give us the confidence to take more risks together. The Gold Standard Apology is a six-step process informed by the best minds in restorative and transformative justice; coaching, and conscious communication. Activities include dyad story shares, practice sessions and discussion of the most common pitfalls of harmful apologies. Participants emerge with an elevated and even transcendent understanding of what real accountability actually looks like, and a concrete practice for conducting restoration in their own lives.
The Fields of Eros: Mandalas of Awareness in Embodied Sexuality and Intimacy – Leslie Blackburn & Dragon
You, me, we: in keeping with our theme for this year’s camp, we invite you to embody the sensuous edges of your eros in the context of community. Beginning with a guided exploration into the erotic currents within the self, we will widen our awareness into the ways space shapes intimacy, the energetic fields of sacred ‘other,’ and the group field of the collective. What is it like to expand our windows of presence into the ways an energetic field shapes touch, the ways desire can bend, stretch, and playfully spin when we drop any goal-oriented approaches to intimacy? What is it like to get curious about and practice leaning into the softness within our edges, consciously slowing down to stay present and make choices, with ourselves, with each other, with the group, and with the space. We will take time to notice: what are the mandalas of awareness to be had?, the landscape of ancestry and earthweavings, and the recognition of how this too is part of what it means to be intimate with a body. Whether this is new or familiar, let’s get curious together, exploring soft ways to lean into the field of eros while holding our individual needs and community needs in care and balance.
Note: Even though this workshop is not in the Sensual Space, there will be opportunity for those who are interested in being explicitly sexual to do so, with gentle awareness of the group field we are co-creating.
Harvesting Our Learnings with Emergent Strategy – David Thurston & Sarah Taub
Our second emergent strategy session will harvest and anchor our experiences of leaning into the alchemy of individual and community needs. In this session, we will introduce the core ‘elements’ of emergent strategy and encourage exploration and integration through engaging with nature and with one another.
Cuddle-puddles & Music Jam
Let’s revel in the beauty of the time we’ve shared so far at camp, and delight in the moments that remain! There’ll be a cornucopia of instruments to music jam, and cuddly squishy things to cuddle on — with any humans, stuffed animals, or internal parts of your choice! Cuddle puddles are especially welcome (but totally OPTIONAL) as are both first time and seasoned musicians. Observation is full participation!
Intro to Open Sessions – Keira Driver
Open Sessions for Integration
Join in as the entire camp self-organizes for concurrent events, inspired by your own passions and interests. Open Sessions are an opportunity for campers to convene dialogue groups on topics they’ve been wanting to explore, or create group massages, or do a music jam together — with a central focus on helping ourselves and each other harvest and integrate what we’ve experienced at camp. Participants are free to move from session to session, honoring their instincts and natural enthusiasm.
Cabaret / Open Mic
Come one, come all, and show us more about you! No talent is required – “if you can walk, you can dance; if you can talk, you can sing.”
Honoring the experiences of the past ten days, we will connect, reflect, and bid farewell to this incarnation of our community.
* – Important or necessary for first-time attendees