New Culture Cascadia

Frequently Asked Questions – Practical Details

CAMP TIME, LOCATION, AND REGISTRATION

When is camp?
Two camps are held each year, an eight-day camp in late June through early July and a 3½ day mini-camp the end of September. Registration opens several months before camp.
Where is camp?
Our site—the Windward Education & Research Center—is in southern Washington State, above the Columbia Gorge, about 90 minutes west of Portland, Oregon. For people traveling from Seattle, it is about a 4 ½ hour drive. [map and directions] Windward is a cooperative community over thirty years in the making, dedicated to preserving and developing village scale technologies needed to support a thriving, sustainable community on marginal land.
When can I arrive at camp?
You can arrive any time before lunch on the first day. The registration table will be open from 10AM to Noon. You must attend the camp orientation at 4PM on the first day. The first meal we prepare and offer is lunch, served after registration closes on the first day. If you arrive much before lunch the first day, be sure to bring your own food to prepare.
Can I come earlier before Camp starts or stay later after Camp ends?
Yes! If you would like to help with camp set-up and/or take-down, you can join us during Pre-Camp or Post-Camp. Practice New Culture values and processes in an integrated work &amp play experience! Please contact us. Unless you can help with pre-camp, please do not arrive before noon on the first day.
How do I register for camp?
It’s easy. Just Register on this site, fill out the form, and send a clearXchange or Paypal payment or check!

WHAT IS CAMP LIKE? WHAT IS NEW CULTURE? WHAT ARE NEW CULTURE VALUES?

What are the core values of New Culture Camps?
New Culture Camps seek to build a sustainable, violence-free culture through exploring intimacy, personal growth, transparency, radical honesty, equality, compassion, sexual freedom, and the power of community.

“The compelling political, economic, ecological, social, technological, psychological, medical, scientific, and mental-spiritual questions of our time need different answers than those available within the framework of our established ways of living and thinking. The analysis of all of these questions leads to the same realisation: they can only be solved truly and with lasting effect if the human finds a fundamentally new relationship to himself, to his fellow humans, to all other living beings, and the entire planet. A “new relationship” means a new behaviour, a new way of life. In the heart of a new approach towards an ecological culture stands a liberated, unsentimental, and active love relationship with all that lives.
“It creates the opening that makes everything else visible and understandable. The interconnected processes of alienation, mechanisms of destruction, and disorientation of our time has become so total that, in a sense, we must start all over again if a perspective for the humane survival of the human species is to arise. The political and ideological systems that guide today’s societies no longer have the qualifications necessary to prevent disaster; they have become fatally incompetent. From now on we must step into the position where we are able to take responsibility ourselves. We may then have the hope that our energies will exponentiate if we use them wisely. In terms of new ecological politics it makes more sense to count on the effect of interpersonal resonance than on a change of power in the State or the economy.”
—Dieter Duhm, Towards a New Culture

Please explain transparency and radical honesty. Does this mean we have to tell everyone everything?
Transparency and radically honest communication means being open to expressing whatever is in your heart, including the parts of yourself that you are most reluctant to show to others, or even to yourself. Transparency and radical honesty are part of our core values. Of course, the reality is that you are always at choice as to how much you share of yourself.
While the prospect of practicing transparency and radical honesty can seem intimidating, we have found that the personal transformation, cultural magic, and especially the fun that we have at camp, is directly proportional to how well we implement our commitment to these values.
I keep hearing this phrase, 'at choice.' What does this mean?
It means that you choose, minute by minute, what you will do or not do. We have only a few rules at camp (e.g., no drugs or alcohol, no violence), and these are carefully chosen to help make camp a safe container for all of us. Otherwise, everyone is empowered to choose their own course. Follow your joy and excitement, rather than a sense of obligation. But remember, camp is an opportunity to experiment with new ways of living our lives, of going beyond our current limitations. If your consistent choice is to follow the path that is least challenging, you won’t get nearly as much from the camp experience.
Will camp be attended by a diverse group of people? What sort of age ranges, backgrounds, etc.?
One of our core values is that we welcome people of all ages, genders, sexualities, race and ethnicities, and lifestyle choices. We range in age from 18 to 80, mostly 30s to 60s. The majority of campers are white, with some black, Latino, and Asian campers as well. We have a wide range of incomes and life situations. Some campers have significant disabilities, such as MS. Most of us are heterosexual or bisexual, with a small and growing number of gay men and lesbians. Many campers are polyamorous, practicing ethical non-monogamy; all consensual relationship choices are honored. Some of us are Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, pagan, eclectically spiritual, or atheist.
Sometimes in groups I can feel left out; a lot of people here seem to know each other, and I’m afraid I will feel left out at Camp. What should I do?
You are not the only one with these feelings! Many of us have experienced rejection and carry wounds from those experiences. 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 time 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 which we respect.
How many people will be at camp?
For the Cascadia mini-camp, we expect about 50 people. For the summer camp, we expect about 70 to 90 people. We will cap enrollment at 90 people, so that everyone will have a chance to get to know everyone else during the time together.
Who runs Cascadia Camps? Is it a business or what?
Camp is run by a group of camper volunteers. The “Scamps” (or Summer CAMP organizers) take responsibility for all aspects of camp, including the finances; the “Imps” (or IMPlementers) take responsibility for a specific part of camp, such as the Compassion Cadre or website. No one gets paid for organizing camp. All funds are held by New Culture Northwest, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation with tax-exempt status, and are used to create camps and other New Culture events.

PRACTICAL ISSUES OF ATTENDING CAMP

What kind of food is served at camp?
All of our meals are mainly gluten-free vegetarian and vegan with a lot of variety. For an extra fee, you may opt for a daily serving of ethically/locally-sourced meat/fish/poultry. Please let us know if you have a food allergy; we will do our best to accommodate you. Snacks, leftovers, fruit, and tea are available at all times. We also have a small Personal Foods Kitchen (PFK) 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 camp fare. Dishes, cups, and silverware are provided; you are welcome to bring your own if you prefer. The first meal served will be lunch after registration.
Personal Foods Kitchen? What’s that?
The Personal Foods Kitchen—at camp you’ll hear it called the PFK—is a place where people can store and prepare their own food. It has refrigeration available, as well as a place to prepare and cook food. The PFK is useful because campers sometimes bring food for themselves because of dietary restrictions or personal preferences. While the camp menu is currently mainly vegetarian, meat is always allowed in the PFK.
What will the weather be like?
For the Cascadia camp in summer, it can get hot— normally it will be in the mid to upper 80s in the daytime, and the mid-50s at night. It can be much cooler or hotter of course, depending on what Nature has in store, so bring layers, extra blankets, etc. Over the course of summer camp, there’s a reasonable chance of some rain or a thunderstorm, so bring raingear. For the mini-camp in early October, the average high temperature is about 71 degrees, and the average low 42 degrees. There’s only a small chance of rain. Our experience has been that the greatest weather related risk for mini-camp is people getting cold. We will have heaters in the dome (where we hold most of our events) but be sure to bring the clothes and whatever extra sleeping gear you need to stay warm!
Where do we sleep?
Most people camp in their own tents. There are many beautiful, flat campsites on the land, with plenty of room to spread out. We have limited ability to accommodate RVs (but no hookups) or car camping—please ask us.
What bathrooms and showers are available?
The Windward site is rural. Because of this we rely on private, enclosed outdoor privies. There is a shower house with shower stalls for general use. Hot water is created by a tankless hot water system, which creates plenty of hot water for everyone on an as-needed basis, but we try to conserve water use as much as possible by taking short showers.
What should I be sure to bring?
  • Tent, sleeping bag, warm pad/air mattress, blankets, sheets, pillows, pillowcases, extra blankets for cool nights, earplugs
  • Lanterns, flashlights, easy-to-carry water bottle
  • Towels, toiletries, biodegradable soap, shampoo, and conditioner, safer sex supplies, biodegradable insect repellent, unscented sunscreen
  • Sunglasses, hat for sun protection, a watch or other timepiece
  • Summer clothes or sarongs for hot days, warm clothes for cool weather, rain gear
  • Personal backjack or low chair for dome workshops/forum. Many campers bring a second chair for their tent site
  • Personal snacks or food items to prepare for yourself in the Personal Foods Kitchen if you have special food needs or desires
  • Spare sheets for temple for the week
  • 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, flyers about related events, solar lighting to help you locate your tent in the dark.
What should I leave at home?
Alcohol or recreational drugs, valuables of any sort, non-biodegradable soap, shampoo, or conditioner, scented products or perfumes, pets of any size or kind. Some campers are allergic to scents so please do not wear any scented products at camp, including essential oils or other “natural” scented products. Also, please leave peanuts and peanut products at home because they pose a serious health risk to one of our staff.
Is there a program for children and/or teenagers?
Not yet. We are still ramping up, and plan to welcome children in the future. Please let us know if you would like to bring your kids to future camps, or to help with programs for younger folk.
Can I smoke, light fires, or use candles at camp?
We ask you not to use candles and any other open flames in your tent. In the Windward area there is a county ban on outside open fires between July 1 and September 30. The use of grills is OK. Outside of the summer fire season, you may build campfires in the fire pits. Be sure that any fire is extinguished before you leave it or go to sleep. There is a dedicated smoking area at camp; please do not smoke in or near any of the other public spaces at camp.
Are service animals allowed at camp?
Certified service animals are allowed at camp. Please contact 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. We want a scent-free environment—please leave perfumes and other scents, including “natural” scents and essential oils, at home to accommodate those with allergies.
Is there cellphone and internet service at camp?
Yes, but 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. Note that some cellphones do not work at our site, but limited WiFi Internet is available (we have insufficient bandwidth for games or movies).
I have a disability. Will camp be accessible for me?
The site will be accessible for most people with some types of disabilities, but challenging for others. If you have questions about disability access, or have any special food, medical, or other needs, please contact us to see if your needs can be accommodated.

PARTICIPATING AT CAMP

Do people play music and sing at camp?
Yes! All music-making is greatly appreciated. Bring your instruments and talents. Be part of the live music celebration and share your music during meals or open times.
Can I help organize camp?
We have ample opportunities for volunteers. Please get in touch if there is any aspect of camp where you would like to contribute.
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. 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. Campers frequently coming and going would be disruptive both to the flow of our workshops and to the container/energy field of camp. Because of this, we request that you keep any trips away from camp to an absolute minimum. Also, if non-campers should happen to drop by the campground, we are not 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 Camp participants to reveal ourselves fully to each other.
That being said, there are fun things to do in the Columbia Gorge area. If you can, take some time before or after camp to enjoy what’s available!
The schedule looks really full. Is it OK to miss events or show up late to them?
You are always at choice. We planned quite a bit of spaciousness during camp, but if you need a break, take one! We do 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, however, 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, or a process that has already begun.
I can’t get to camp until after it starts. Is that OK?
Arriving on time for the start of camp (attendance at the 4PM camp orientation the first day is mandatory for all new campers and is essential for the community we create. To create the safety necessary for deep emotional work and transformation, we hold camp as a “closed container,” so we ask all campers to be on-site and present in time for the orientation unless granted an exception in advance by the scamp team.
I have to leave Camp early. Is that OK?
Leaving camp early does not create the same issues as arriving late. If you can only 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.
Will I need to do community service 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 a few 45min shifts of community service during their stay—kitchen duty, clean-up after meals, keeping our meeting spaces orderly, etc., and participating in the Whiz-Bang take-down/clean-up on the last morning before closing circle. All service contributions at camp will take into account any physical or other limitations you may have.
Why is everyone expected to do community service work?
The most important reason is that 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. Also, not having to pay someone to do tasks that we can easily do for ourselves (e.g., washing dishes) keeps costs down and camp affordable for everyone. If you have a handicap or illness that would make it difficult for you to contribute, please check in with us before camp so we can find a way you CAN contribute.

RELATIONSHIPS AND SEXUALITY AT CAMP

Will camp be 'gender balanced'?
We make no effort to create a gender balanced camp. For one thing, many of our participants are not straight heterosexual, and a number do not identify with traditional genders, so the possibilities of who might be open to relationships with whom are delightfully varied.
More important, 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.
Every mix of campers provides its own set of opportunities and challenges; we choose to work with the people who choose to show up!
Is the whole camp clothing-optional?
Much but not all of our space will be clothing-optional. 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. You are always “at choice” about what you wear or don’t wear in the clothing-optional areas. As one of our campers likes to say, “Nudity is for the doer, not the viewer.”
We do ask that everyone put their own sarong or towel between their bare bottoms and wherever they are sitting, and to cover their genitals when in the food lines.
Do I have to hug or touch people at camp?
Absolutely not. While hugging and touch are very much a part of many camper’s lives, everyone is always “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. Also, you are free to choose to hug some people and not others.
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. Even then, it may 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 & emergency medical attention, and mediation & facilitation.
I’ve heard that camp can be a real emotional roller coaster. Why would I want to take the ride?
Lots of reasons! First, Camp is a wonderful escape from some of the larger society’s regimentation and numbness. If you let it, Camp can also provide lots of opportunities for intense personal growth experiences. It offers opportunities and challenges to face our own issues and internal conflicts, and to encounter and respond to those same issues in others.
There will probably be situations at Camp where you bump up against the boundaries of your current comfort zone. Please keep in mind that you are always at choice to participate or not. But, having said that, one of the best parts of Camp is taking experiences that would be challenging in the larger society, and learning to turn them into gifts! Remember that always staying in your comfort zone is a recipe for never changing or growing.
Finally, we’re all in the same boat, working our issues out together. There are lots of people at Camp who are ready, willing, and truly capable of helping others work through the moments when were triggered. And one of the things we say at camp is that if you aren’t triggered at least once, you haven’t got your money’s worth! 🙂
I may wish to participate in sexual encounters. Are there any rules?
Only that it be mutually consensual and safe. We do not make rules about how campers conduct their consensual sexual lives, 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. We also ask people to be mindful about where they are being sexual, so that those who don’t wish to observe or hear can also remain “at choice.”
Does everyone at camp engage in polyamory and open relationships?
Nope. While there are many campers who practice multiple loving relationships, there are many others who are in monogamous relationships, or choose to be in no relationship at all. 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.

TRANSPORTATION TO CAMP

Can I drive to camp?
Yes. That is the choice of most people. And most people will carpool to save resources and money. Part of the camp registration process is a procedure to facilitate carpooling. It takes about 90 minutes to drive to camp from Portland, and about 4 ½ hours from Seattle or Spokane. [map and directions]
What do I do with my car during camp?
There is ample parking close to or in the campground. If you have a special need that requires your car to be near you, let us know. Please plan to drive your car as little as possible during camp, to reduce fumes and dust, as well as to preserve our connections to each other and nature.
Can I bring an RV to camp?
Our site can accommodate a few small RVs and campers. Please get permission in advance if you plan to bring an RV (and know that we have no hookups).
What airport should I use if I am flying to camp?
The closest airport is Portland International Airport (PDX). Camp is about 90 minutes from PDX, so plan either to rent a car or arrange a carpool or group ride from there to camp. We have an e-list to assist in helping campers find rides with each other. There is also an Amtrak station in Portland; we can arrange to pick you up from there or PDX, if you let us know in advance.
I don’t want to drive to camp. Can I get there on public transportation?
There is no public transportation to the camp site. 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 prior to camp at Portland International Airport and Portland Amtrak station. The organizers will help you arrange carpools as much as possible.

THE COST OF CAMP

Why does camp cost what it does?
Because we deliberately keep the costs as low as possible. The basic fees are an excellent bargain for all of the meals, camping, and high-quality workshops. None of the organizers receive any money for putting on camp. Other than reimbursement for direct expenses of camp, all of the money goes back into making camp and other New Culture events happen, including providing scholarships for campers with financial need and paying very small honorariums for program presentations. We encourage you to pay as much for camp as you feel comfortable paying. 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 New Culture Northwest, a non-profit corporation with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. If you would like to contribute to NCNW, please contact us. You can also contribute items to our fundraiser auction, held at Summer Camp every year.
I can’t afford the full amount of camp fees. Is there scholarship or work exchange available?
Yes. We are committed to making camp financially accessible, and we have scholarship funds available. We are also open to some barter arrangements, mainly to help us promote new culture. Please contact us—if you want to be there, we want you to be there!
Is there work exchange at camp or at set-up and take-down?
We do offer some work exchange at camp. Please contact us if you wish this—particularly if you are available before camp to help with with marketing and publicity.
I would like to donate items to camp. What do you need?
If you would like to donate any of these items, please contact us at <http://www.privatedaddy.com/?q=U3t3W3lacmRYeQtBd2RGWA-3D-3D_19>—or simply bring them to camp for our auction. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and donations are tax-deductible.

  • Restaurant equipment, cookware, and serving utensils
  • Corelle dinnerware: plates, bowls, cups
  • Wall hangings and artwork for the common areas
  • Backjacks or other low chairs
  • Sleeping bags and pads, pillows, blankets, and other bedding
  • Tents, canopies and tarps
  • Rugs and carpets
  • Large pillows
  • Folding chairs and tables
  • Shelving and storage cubiciles
  • Computer projector
  • Sound equipment
  • Solar lighting
  • Golf cart
What if I want a Refund? What is your Refund Policy?
If you request a refund a month before camp begins, we can offer a full refund less a $15 processing fee. After that time, we withhold $50 for food and camp expenses, because we’ve already spent it for you. We offer three options for the balance:

  1. Make a donation. We are a 501(c)(3) corporation, so donations are fully tax deductible as allowed by law. You may donate all or a portion of the amount.
  2. Use all or part as a deposit toward a future event
  3. Get a refund.

MORE QUESTIONS?

What if I have a question that isn’t answered here?
You very well may have! You can contact us, and we will respond to your question. And thanks for doing so – we often add these questions to the FAQ page!