Frequently Asked Questions – Practical Details:
When is camp?
Friday January 25 – Monday January 28, 2019
Our site 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. You will receive the exact address after registering, in a Winter Poly Wonderland Welcome email.
You can arrive any time after noon on Friday January 25. Note that the first meal served will be Friday dinner.
It is OK to come to part of camp; you are free to come and go as you wish. However, you will get the best experience if you stay at camp as much of the time as possible. On the first day that a camper arrives, they are required to attend a small group orientation with one of the organizers– please notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org of when you plan to arrive. This helps create the “safe container” that allows us to get to know people at a much deeper level.
Yes! You can come earlier or stay later to work & play with fellow polyfolk! We have space for several people to help with camp set-up and/or take-down and with creating the camp “energy”. Volunteers for set-up arrive Wednesday evening, January 23, so that we are all ready to work first thing on Thursday. Volunteers for take-down will stay Monday night, and we’ll be ready to work on Monday evening, after closing circle. Take-down volunteers may stay Wednesday night, when we will have connecting activities, leaving no later than noon on Thursday. Volunteers contribute $20 for either session toward meals. Please contact us at email@example.com or 703-755-0607 if you are interested.
PLEASE DON’T ARRIVE BEFORE NOON ON FRIDAY, JANUARY 25, UNLESS YOU HAVE MADE ARRANGEMENTS TO HELP OUT WITH SET-UP!
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.
The site is in an area that has an average daytime high temperature of low 30’s, and an average nightly low in the high teens. In this region, on average it precipitates about every third or fourth day.
Our indoor accommodations consist of private rooms and cabins ($300-$500), dorm-style spaces ($75-$250), and bunk-beds in shared spaces (included in registration). Our indoor structures include a lodge 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 each contain two mattresses side-by-side. Tenting is also available if weather permits, and it is 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 retreat site, less than a 5 minute drive. All motel rooms have heating/air conditioning, WiFi Internet, refrigerator, microwave, satellite TV, phone, and private bath; most rooms have two queen beds. Rates for 4 nights (Wednesday through Saturday), up to 2 people, range from $250 to $300; extra persons are $45 each.
Winter Poly Wonderland is one of our most intimate events. We expect 25-35 attendees. Enrollment will be capped at 50 people if necessary.
We expect that participants will be generally intelligent, open-hearted, thoughtful explorers of the expansive lovestyle that is ethical non-monogamy. We welcome people of all ages, genders, sexualities, race and ethnicities, relationship styles, and lifestyle choices.
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 cisgender or heterosexual — with a mix of straight, gay/lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, gender diverse, 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 hearted connection among people in all sorts of relationships: live-in lovers, married couples, triads, sexual partners, emotional relationships, platonic connections, 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, many 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.
For tent campers: tent, warm sleeping bag or *two* lighter weight sleeping bags (one inside the other), and pad/air mattress. Sheets inside a sleeping bag add to the warmth as well. If you are using an air mattress, an extra layer of insulation between you and the mattress is highly recommended– a comforter or foam pad will help a lot.
For campers staying in rustic cabins w/electric: sheets, blankets or a sleeping bag, pillows, pillowcases, towels.
For campers staying in non-electric rustic cabins: lanterns, sheets, blankets or 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, rain gear, a watch or other timepiece, earplugs.
Warm clothes for cold winter weather, boots for walking through snow.
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.
Acoustic 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.
Yes! This event is open to young people. If there is enough demand, we will 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 each camp, so please get in touch and get involved ASAP if you are interested! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
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. The first meal served will be Friday dinner at 6 PM.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Friday 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.
We want to offer the opportunity for as many people as possible to attend Winter Poly Wonderland. 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: https://cfnc.us/winterpoly/scholarship-work-trade/
Don’t forget to register too, at www.cfnc.us/winterpoly/register
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 professional organizers who have been involved with social change and personal growth work for many decades. Find more info here and here (cfnc.us/new-culture).
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.
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 2-bucket 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.
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 at email@example.com or 703-755-0607 to see if your needs can be accommodated.
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.
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.
Absolutely not. While hugging and touch are very much a part of many polyfolks’ lives, everyone is always completely “at choice” about whether to participate, and we support a culture of consent. We encourage you to take responsibility for your experience by clearly communicating your preferences about touch to the people around you.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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 safe 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”.
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, 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.
Does everyone at camp engage in polyamory and open relationships?
The WPW organizers support relationship freedom, rather than advocating for any one relationship style over others. There will be a mix of relationship patterns at camp, possibly including monogamous partners of polyamorous people, or people who are curious but have not yet made a clear choice for themselves. WPW 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.
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.
Most importantly, 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.