Frequently Asked Questions – Practical Details:
When is camp?
Thursday December 29, 2022 – Tuesday January 3, 2022
Our site, Abrams Creek Center, 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.
We ask everyone to arrive between 3 and 6pm on Thursday December 29, unless you have made arrangements to come early and help out. Note that the first meal served will be Thursday dinner at 6pm.
I only have time to come to part of camp. Is that OK?
While you are free to leave early, we are not taking latecomers for this event, unless you have attended other New Culture events. If you are a returning New Culture attendee and wish to arrive after 12/29, please make arrangements with us to arrive at a specific day and time so that we can check you in properly.
Can I come earlier or stay later?
Yes! We have space for a limited number of people to help with camp set-up and/or take-down and with creating the camp “energy”. This is a great way to decompress, work, and play with community co-creators! Volunteers for set-up arrive the evening of December 27, so that we are all ready to work first thing on the 28th. Volunteers for take-down should be ready to work after lunch on the 3rd, and are welcome to eat and stay over that night. On the 4th, we will have a morning work meeting, two work periods, and meals and connection activities for volunteers who are staying over until the 5th. Volunteers will contribute $20 for either or both sessions toward meals.
Please contact us at email@example.com or 571-339-9666 if you are interested in attending camp set-up and/or take-down!
PLEASE DON’T ARRIVE BEFORE 3PM ON DECEMBER 29, UNLESS YOU HAVE MADE ARRANGEMENTS TO HELP OUT WITH SET-UP!
What will the weather be like?
The site is in an area that has an average daytime high temperature in the 20’s, and an average nightly low in the teens. In this region, on average it rains or snows about every third or fourth day.
The cost of a campsite or bunk is included as part of your registration, but other beds are available for additional cost. Our indoor accommodations consist of private rooms and cabins ($450-$750) and dorm-style spaces ($0-$195). These include a 6-bedroom house, 2-br cottage, and 10 rustic cabins, heated and furnished with twin-size upper and lower bunk beds, full-size futon beds, and queen-sized beds. The cabins also have small lofts that contain queen mattresses or two twin mattresses side by side. Bunk beds in shared spaces are included in your registration fee. Tenting is also available for experienced winter campers, free of charge. There are 35 flat, shaded, forest floor campsites on the land, some right next to the stream.
We also own a motel that is 3 miles west of the Summer Camp site, less than a 5 minute drive. All motel rooms have air conditioning/heating, WiFi Internet, refrigerator, microwave, satellite TV, phone, and private bath; most rooms have two queen beds. Rates for 5 nights (Thursday through Monday), up to 2 people, are $350; extra persons are $45 each.
What precautions are we taking against COVID-19?
We are committed to making this event safe and connecting. We have established a camp COVID-19 protocol based on the latest information from the CDC and other major health agencies worldwide, as well as our own extensive research. As new information comes available, we will modify the protocols as needed to balance a high level of safety with the greatest freedom to connect for all concerned.
Our protocol requires full vaccination, a booster within 6 months prior to the event, 4 days of relative isolation before the event, PCR or antigen testing before arrival, and antigen testing during the event. You can read the full protocol here.
To those community members whose needs are not met by this protocol, please know that we love you, miss you, and look forward to the day when we can all gather together. We are working to develop a metric for when we will consider it safe to connect without precautions.
Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and for assistance accessing vaccinations and/or tests.
How many people will be at camp?
New Year’s is one of our more intimate events. We expect 25-30 attendees. Enrollment will be capped at 40 people if necessary.
Will it be a diverse group of people? What sort of age ranges, backgrounds, etc.?
We expect that participants are generally thoughtful and heartful seekers after a “better way.” We welcome people of all ages, genders, sexualities, race and ethnicities, and lifestyle choices. We range in age from 18 to 80, with a roughly even distribution of people both under and over 40. The majority of campers are white, with some black, Latine, Pacific Islander, and Southeast Asian campers as well. We have a wide range of incomes and life situations. Most of us are heterosexual or bisexual/pansexual, with a small number of gay men and lesbians. The majority of campers are cis, and our events usually have a sizeable minority of trans and gender diverse folks attending. Many campers are polyamorous, practicing ethical non-monogamy; all consensual relationship choices are honored. Some of us are Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, pagan, eclectically spiritual, or atheist.
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 heterosexual or cisgender — with a mix of straight, gay/lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, and nonbinary people, 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 impossible to define by gender alone. 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. 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 should I make sure to bring?
For tent campers: WE RECOMMEND ONLY EXPERIENCED WINTER CAMPERS CHOOSE TO CAMP AT THIS EVENT.
For campers staying in rustic cabins w/electric: sheets, multiple blankets or a sleeping bag, pillows, pillowcases, towels.
For campers staying in non-electric rustic cabins: lanterns, sheets, multiple blankets AND a sleeping bag, pillows, pillowcases, towels.
For lodge, cottage, and motel residents: sheets, blankets, pillows, and towels are provided.
Flashlights, extra blankets, towels, easy-to-carry water bottle, toiletries, biodegradable soap, shampoo, and conditioner, safe sex supplies, snow gear, a watch or other timepiece, earplugs.
Warm clothes and snow boots for exploring the beautiful grounds. Comfortable house clothes for a variety of temperatures.
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?
Acoustic or electric musical instruments, face paints, your favorite dance music, fun and outrageous clothing or costumes, a personal journal and pens/pencils, books to share in our lending library, flyers about related events.
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?
Not this year. We expect to have a youth program at Summer 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. 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, 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. We have landlines available on-site, with free US long distance. WiFi Internet will be available in and near the lodge.
We will have an indoor hospitality area at the Mountaineer Motel (3 miles west of the event site; 5 minute drive) that will have phone lines that can be used for longer calls, with free long distance in the US. There is also WiFi Internet. Cell reception is also better there; US Cellular is the main carrier, but Sprint and Verizon roam onto US Cellular. Some other services may also be able to 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.
Will I need to do community service at camp?
We ask all campers to help co-create the experience with about 1 hour for each night you are at camp – 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!
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.
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. We do not recommend bringing an RV to this winter event!
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 2:15 hours from Dulles, 2:45 hours 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 2:45 hours 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 Thursday 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 can’t afford the full amount of camp fees. Is there work exchange or scholarship available?
We want to offer the opportunity for as many people as possible to attend New Culture New Years Celebration. For those in financial need, we can make work trade and/or scholarship arrangements. Most work trade is available before pre-camp and after post-camp – the work is usually done in the Washington DC area or at our site in West Virginia, and can sometimes be done in your home area 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!
Click here to submit a request for Scholarship or Work Trade
Don’t forget to register too! (cfnc.us/newyear/register)
The deadline for requesting financial assistance is December 15, 2022.
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 grassroots organizers who have been involved with social change and personal growth work for many years. Find more info here and here.
Yes! We have opportunities for volunteers. Please get in touch at email@example.com if there is some aspect of camp that you would like to help out with.
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 have a disability. Will camp be accessible for me?
The site will be 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.
Frequently Asked Questions – Cultural Details:
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.
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 most attendees’ 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 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 a fertile ground for connecting with others in a loving way. To get the most out of the camp experience, it is important to participate in the workshops and assorted group processes which are designed and intended to build intimacy and connection. Because of this, we suggest that you keep any trips away from camp to a minimum. Of course, you are always at choice, and if taking a break, or attending to important matters is what you need to do, we respect that. Please do check in with the organizers about COVID-19 protocols for any trip away and return to camp.
In order to support deep connection among campers, our policy is not to allow visitors as they tend to pull attendees away from the energy of the camp.
I may wish to participate in sexual encounters. Are there any rules?
We do not make rules about sexual encounters between adults, 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 exploration of erotic, 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 however they wish; however, that is not part of the official program. We welcome diversity of expression in the space, including various forms of kink.
Does everyone at camp engage in polyamory and open relationships?
No. There will be a mix of relationship patterns at camp. This event 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.
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 handicap or illness that would make it difficult for you to contribute, please check in with us before camp.