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What is the Summer Camp Experience Like for Campers?

From Melanie K.:
A flurry of images remain with me -

...of beautiful cross dressing men, pressure cooker dome afternoon workshops, generosity of time and spirit, challenging emotional plateaus, comforting, spacious embraces, carcass washes, a rabbit outside my tent one morning, sisters circled in the women's tent, brother's enduring and flourishing through difficult tasks, family gatherings at inspired meals, late night wanderings through camp, early morning coffee and cigs in the sacred sister smoking space (which turned out to be the blessed brother smoking space as well...), meteor showers, full moon ritual, eye contact that knocked my socks off, children's voices, songs of delight, dances of despair - images of courage, patience, impatience, inspiration, pleasure, pain, transformation, willingness, wonderment, angst, separation anxiety, readiness, reticence, playfulness and awe.

The list could spill forth indefinitely - so for now, may you all travel well on your journeys - with support, delight and ease.

I thank each of you for all you've shared with me.

Your devoted sister,


From L.F.:
I am so glad that I chose to go to summer camp last year.  I was very hesitant about going.  I didn't know who these people were and the implication of a possible sexual theme to some of the programs scared me.  In the end, I talked my former husband into going with me, to sort of hold my hand, as it were.

When we got there everyone was so friendly and we soon became involved in our own scenarios, actually we hardly even saw each other for the rest of our stay, except to check in.  We were both busy making new friends and having new experiences.  I realized that I didn't need him to hold my hand after all, but I was glad that he came along.  The experiences we had there proved to be quite pivotal for both of us.

The people were great, the food was really good, and the programs were exceptional, but the thing that had the most effect on me was the overall effect.  Somehow the people of summer camp had created this very safe container in which I felt very loved and honored and free to open up and learn and explore.  I learned a lot that week, and I made some really good friends, but most of all I was able to shed a great deal of shame.  My life has changed a lot since summer camp, all for the good, and I am very much looking forward to going back next year.

From G. A.:
I attended SC'97 for the first time.  I enjoyed camping in a beautiful, natural setting and having the camping area be clothing optional with outdoor showers.  This added to my enjoyment.

I sensed the friendliness and openness of people immediately.  I always felt safe and knew my "yes" and "no" would be heard.  I never felt pressured by anyone.  I learned I could trust myself and others.

I liked the variety of organized activities available.  It was a great way to get acquainted and also to learn how to improve my interpersonal skills.

I attended 5 days (4 nights) and got a good taste of how it could be living with like minded men and women in community.  I left feeling like I had been "seen" for who I really am (unlike other groups I've been in).  I came home feeling very positive about myself, about my life, and my heart was open and full of joy.

I want to return to get those feelings back again and maybe learn how to hold onto them longer.

From M.S.:
The most powerful aspect of the Summer Camp events for me has been the realization that I am not alone in my belief that there is a better way to live than the isolation and separation that is prevalent in our culture.  My first SC event was back in '95 and at that time I felt great anger at the dominant culture which I saw as male dominated.

My anger at the slow destruction of the earth was aimed at all men and at that time I was living a celibate life and really believed that I would never have another love relationship with any man again.  It didn't take too many days however for this coating of iciness to melt when I experienced again and again some of the most respectful men on this planet.  Not only did they respect where I was coming from at that point, and never pressed me for anything more than a conversation, but also believed that the dominate culture was destroying this earth and they too wanted it to stop.  I had found my people!  I could awaken from my anger induced sleep and be alive once again.

Becoming part of the NFNC gave my life purpose once again.  I would not be tying myself to the space shuttle as a protest to NASA's blatant participation in destroying the ozone layer, but I could help to create a new culture where the earth comes first.  I continue to be actively involved in the ongoing creation of the SC's and in the process have surrounded myself with some of the most wonderful people on this earth.

From S. B.:
Summer Camp enabled me:

To listen to new ideas about community, equality, and relationship.
To learn how to BE with men and women living in partnership.
To practice asking for what I wanted and saying "no" in a loving way to what I didn't want.
To camp by the river, hang out and have fun when I wanted, and create deep interpersonal experiences when I wanted.
To develop deep bonding with women based on honesty and respect, and acceptance.
To develop relationships with men who have integrated their minds, hearts and sexuality.
To enjoy doing dishes in the company of hugs and singing.
To become more of what I want to be every day of my life.

From T.F.:
My favorite parts of Summer Camp were the women's tent (a chance to connect with the other women present), the "Dating Game" (done with such a spirit of cooperation), and the safety I felt.  Whenever I wanted time by myself, my decision was respected.  Thanks to everyone there for your part in making this a relaxing, nurturing time with wonderful connections begun.  I'm hoping that for this year, we can expand the "Dating Game" to include time with those of our same gender as well.  See you in the summer! :)

From C.F.:
SUMMER CAMP  or Here in This Place

Here in this place... The early morning light found me on my way to the creek...there I would stand on its banks, unclothed, facing the sun drinking in the beauty of all that surrounded me and almost bursting with a sense of gratitude at the Gift Life had laid before me...

I later described this experience as living my dream.

...earlier in my life my dream had been to marry a handsome professional man... become a perfect mom, with a perfect career and live happily ever after

........when that came crashing down on me... I began a path of awakening to what I feel is my True SELF... and in that awakening a new Dream was born... As I opened up and began to learn to truly Love and accept myself and also began to truly Love the Earth and All of its inhabitants and the vision of Peace on Earth was birthed within me.... and that vision began to envelop and fill almost every fiber of my Being. Through several years of pain, struggles, victories, hours of silent reflection in nature and songs of gratitude I came to know that it was truly possible... and thus I began to imagine what it might take to create a new world..

Here in this Place SUMMER CAMP 96 and 97 I was gifted with the experience of momentarily experiencing the beginning stages of living my dream....

Here in this place the bank was surrounded with trees of deep wisdom gently welcoming me home

Here in this place the creek sang sweet love songs to me and bade me to come and be washed by her purifying waters

Here in this place I would wade into the sparking clear waters, gently lay down and let the cool waters wash the sweat that glistened from my body...

Here in this place I had danced with complete and joyous abandon on that bank until sweat poured from my body and quench the thirst of the rich dark earth beneath my BARE feet.... it felt like a dance of freedom.... here in this place I could honor and rejoice in the beauty of my naked body and yet experience it as sacred.... they were not opposites... they were one... and I was becoming Whole and complete once more

Here in this place my heart filled with so much Love and the possibilities of Peace that my voice filled the air with new love songs to the creator... and the trees answered back in a hushed silence and reverence

Here in this place were gathered... a group of people dedicated to and believing change was possible and necessary... a group of people who defined community in terms of intimacy and heart connections and held honesty and transparency as crucial elements of community building..

Here in this place were gathered groups of people who held honoring others as well as choice as equally sacred

Here in this place I could feel the passion and attraction for two partners and not be condemned...

Here in this place I did not have to choose one or the other nor hide one from the other... we could all learn how to be close

and yet here in this place I rejoiced that others had different choices and each choice was honored... monogamous, celibate... high and low energy sexuality... it did not matter... here in this place what mattered was choice and honoring !!!!

Here in this place I have begun to live the dream of Peace on Earth and happily have found it appearing in other areas of my life....

Here in this place there is laughter.. tears, work... play, conflict and communion.... all wonderful opportunities to begin laying the foundation for a new and peace filled world.