FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions – Practical Details:

When is camp?
Saturday January 25 –Saturday February 1, 2020

Where is camp?
Chirripo Mountain, Costa Rica. 

When can I arrive at camp?
Saturday January 25 will be structured as an arrival day for camp, with light programming and dinner provided that evening. We encourage everyone to arrive onsite after noon and long enough before sundown that you can get properly settled.  Camp will officially start on the morning of January 26. Please do not arrive on site before January 25, unless you have made other arrangements with us.

When is camp over?
We’ll close Camp on Feb. 1 in the early afternoon.  You are welcome to stay through Feb. 2 for a chill, leisurely departure – there is a small additional charge for the extra night and food.  Please indicate on the registration form if you would like to stay on for this day.

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 full day of camp (Jan, 25) at 9:00 am; drop-ins and latecomers 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.  Local campers who need to visit their homes during camp to handle essential logistics are encouraged to make as few trips for as little time as possible.

Can I come earlier or stay later?
Yes! We have space for a few volunteers to help us set up and/or take down camp. Please contact us at costarica@cfnc.us if you are interested.

PLEASE DON’T ARRIVE BEFORE Saturday January 25 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 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.

What will the weather be like?
It will be quite hot in the day time. Official sources report average highs of 85 degrees. But with 80% humidity it will feel like 95 degrees in the middle of the day. We will schedule our days so you can relax during midday – bathe in rivers, drink coconut water, or take a snuggly nap. There will be plenty of shade, showers, and river pools to help cool off. Nighttime temperatures dip to an average low of 66 degrees. Rain is highly unlikely.

Where do we sleep?
There are plenty of camping spaces available as well as upgraded lodging options. If you would like an upgraded option, you can request one during the registration process.  The Venue page has pricing and other details.

How many people will be at camp?
This is our first Costa Rica event, so we aren’t entirely sure.  We expect somewhere between 40 and 70 people, and we look forward to seeing who shows up!  

Will it be a diverse group of people?  What sort of age ranges, backgrounds, etc.?
We expect that participants will be generally intelligent, open-hearted, thoughtful explorers. We welcome people of all ages, genders, sexualities, race and ethnicities, and lifestyle choices.

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. For one thing, many of our participants are not strictly heterosexual — with a mix of straight, gay/lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, gender variant, and those who do not identify with the concept of gender at all, the question of who might be open to relationships with whom becomes almost meaningless. More crucially, 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: 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, and at events where we have had more men than women, the women reported not even noticing that they were “outnumbered”. 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 kind of bathrooms and showers are available?
There are several beautiful showers around the property and plenty of bathrooms available. Some of the bathrooms are composting toilets and some are flush toilets.    

What should I make sure to bring?
For a short trip it’s good to travel light.Most things can be bought locally  as well such as beach wear and toiletries.

Clothes:

  • Summer wear and comfortable layers. Also bring 2 pairs of light long pants (yoga/sweatpants or hiking pants – night time temperatures drop to 60 degrees
  • A light sweater or fleece
  • One pair of socks
  • Swimsuit
  • Sarong
  • Towel
  • Keens or good strong hiking sandals
  • Sun hat

It’s very helpful to stay out of direct sun between 10-2 in the day.. the site has lots of trees and  shade so should be easy.

Gear:

  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Earplugs (we have some)
  • Basic toiletries (these can be bought locally too)
  • Natural Zinc-based Sunscreen (that will b gentle to our pristine rivers)
  • Headphones
  • Sunglasses
  • Any prescription meds or supplements
  • Water bottle
  • A hand held paper fan or spritzer fan
  • A plastic protective bag for your digital devices

Travel etc:

  • Bottled Water – Water is very pure here and in most of the countryside.. only in san jose and at the beach it’s wise to get bottled or filtered water.
  • Passport and copy,  cash, license, visa credit card, debit card – remember to call to let them know you are going to use them in Costa Rica
  • Boarding pass/ info
  • You will receive a 90 day visa upon entry
  • Return Flight info – You have to show your return ticket to the airline and at immigration

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. They check for agricultural products at customs so best to eat fruit etc. before you arrive, same going into the us.

Is there a program for children and/or teenagers?
Yes. Whenever we have 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 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 phone and internet service is available if needed.

What kind of food will there be?
We’ll be eating healthy vegetarian food, with fish as an occasional option.  Our food will be sourced locally as much as possible, to take advantage of the rich food possibilities of the Costa Rican countryside. If you have a special diet, please contact us to see if we can accommodate your needs.

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 by doing 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.

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 a short distance from the site.  

What airport should I use if I am flying to camp?
The best way to get to Costa Rica is by air. Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO) is the biggest international airport of Costa Rica. Located just outside of the capitol, San Jose. Visit our travel page (Getting There) for information on getting from the airport to the venue.

I don’t want to drive to camp. Can I get there on public transportation?
Yes! There are a variety of options for traveling to camp that do not involve driving. Please visit our travel page (Getting Therefor more information. Or feel free to contact us at costarica@cfnc.us

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 6 days of meals and high-quality workshops. 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 you 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.

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 Costa Rica Camp. For those in financial need, we have the ability to make some work trade and/or scholarship arrangements. 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!

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 U.S. 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 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 to see if your needs can be accommodated. costarica@cfnc.us

Can I smoke, light fires, or use candles at camp?
Candles and any other open flames may not be used anywhere. 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.

What are the core values of New Culture Costa Rica?
New Culture Costa Rica 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 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 a lot of folx 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 take my clothes off at camp?
No. You are always “at choice” about what you wear or don’t wear in the clothing-optional areas.  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.

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.

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.

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.  Your frequently leaving the field would be disruptive both to the flow of our workshops and to the container/energy field. 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 venue, 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.

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, New Culture 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 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 Camp is taking experiences that would be challenging in the larger society, and learning to turn them into gifts!

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?
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. It is a place for structured exploration of erotic play, trance, and other healing and ecstatic experiences that may or may not also be explicitly sexual.

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. Whenever the Sensual Space is not scheduled, individuals are free to use the space as they wish; however, that is not part of the official program.

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 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 illness that would make it difficult for you to contribute, please check in with us before camp.