This guide is intended to provide valuable information to make your time in Summer Camp (SC) as pleasant as possible while providing guidelines for sharing our space, time and energy in a loving manner. The information is meant to be taken seriously but is presented in a "user-friendly" format for your gentle guidance.
The Network for a New Culture (NFNC) and the organizing committee for Summer Camp (Scamps) are committed to a non-hierarchical organization. Rather than provide a set of rules, we wish to live by our mission statement:
NFNC Summer Camp is co-creating the transformation of our culture into universal love in the deepest sense. By universal love we mean deep intimacy, transparency, honesty, spirituality, genuine equality, compassion, and sexual freedom through community.
The Ms. Manners persona is a fictional invention and any resemblance to your conscience is purely intentional.
Dear Ms. Manners: I'm feeling left out. A lot of people seem to know each other. What should I do?
MM: Include Yourself!!! Ask for a hug. Volunteer to work on a project or in the kitchen. Ask someone to go for a walk. Why not try being transparent and tell people that you are feeling left out and want to connect.
Dear Ms. Manners: This was advertised as a clothing optional camp. Are there limits to when and where that is OK?
MM: Ms. Manners presumes you are asking when is it rude to be nude. Although Ms. Manners understands the beauty of nature and our au naturel bodies, she feels it is best if one attends meals with a modicum of covering. Also, if there is a family camping area, one should observe the preferences of the campers there. Without question, one would be clothed where one could be seen from the public road.
Dear Ms. Manners: Before my friend was arrested last week, I was able to get 26 hits of Ecstasy. Do you think other Summer Camp attendees would enjoy sharing this bounty with me?
MM: Dear Bountiful, I appreciate your thoughtfulness. However, in spite of her belief in choice, Ms. Manners gets VERY, VERY CRANKY thinking that the owners of the land and others could be endangered by such action. Please do not bring this type of bounty to SC. Besides, Ms. Manners' friends prefer the natural highs here in our forest, our river, and our loving friends.
Dear Ms. Manners: I've heard you do a lot of hugging at Summer Camp. I'm not sure I want that. Will I be rejected and isolated if I don't participate? On the other hand, is it OK to just hug everyone?
MM: Dear Questioning, hugs are indeed quite popular at camp. However even more important is the belief that everyone is at choice and needs to take responsibility for themselves. This includes communicating your desire to be hugged or not.
Dear Ms. Manners: Can we build fires?
MM: No, No, NO ! This also applies to candles, incense, portable stoves or other fire-producing items.
Dear Ms. Manners: If meals are primarily vegetarian, does this mean that I will be eating green salads for twelve days? Although I enjoy a good salad, I can't live on rabbit food alone. I believe I need meat for my body to function well.
MM: Dear Omnivore, We have an absolutely delightful and varied menu which will include vegetable protein and some occasional tuna dishes. However, Ms. Manners recognizes that some campers feel that they need or just really want more or other kinds of meat. Since we want you to be at choice, you are welcome to supplement your diet. A second kitchen is being created to provide space for storing and preparing meat or other personal food items.
Dear Ms. Manners: I understand that the campers are very liberal and open to lots of touches and hugs. And do I have to go though the silly politically correct stuff about asking every time before I touch someone?
MM: That's touching, dear, and Ms. Manners realizes this can at times be frustrating. However, how can one be sure that the partner of choice is truly at choice if one doesn't communicate one's intent and be welcomed? Unless otherwise agreed, it is quite important to ask (verbally or non-verbally) before touching.
Dear Ms. Manners: Is there a best time to take a shower before the hot water runs out?
MM: Ms. Manners highly recommends showering with a friend to save hot water to prevent this very thing. Consideration in sharing hot water is extremely civil and encourages hugs.
Dear Ms. Manners: Strict schedules really get me down. Is it OK to miss meetings or show up late to them - especially morning events?
MM: Dear Missing Camper, Ms. Manners reminds you that
you are entirely at choice. If you wish to sleep all day and night, I
wish you delightful dreams but don't DREAM of asking for a refund on what
Unless the speaker has requested no one join after the presentation has started, you will be welcome when you FINALLY get there. However, the intention this year is to start presentations on time to honor the speakers. It is also 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.
Dear Ms. Manners: I may wish to participate in sexual encounters. Are there any rules?
MM: Dear Seeker, Ms. Manners does not make rules!! However, she highly
recommends CONSCIOUS, INFORMED decision making. Having appropriate
conversation BEFORE engaging should include sharing appropriate histories,
any health concerns, use of safer sex supplies and any boundaries to be
honored. (Good campers, like good scouts, should Be Prepared).
Consciousness also includes being aware if there is a "Family Camping" area that includes children. Let the munchkins learn at their own perfect time.
Dear Ms. Manners: What is this Kitchen Volunteer stuff? Do I HAVE to volunteer to work in the kitchen?
MM: Dear reluctant, Ms. Manners gets VERY cranky when she and a few others
have to do all the work and she is too tired to be playful. Good campers work
together and play together.
When one gives with a playful spirit, work becomes play. So think PLARK (More PLAy than woRK) as you make your contribution as a kitchen god or goddess.
And so, gentle camper, Ms. Manners bids you adieu. Walk in peace, be gentle with yourself, treat each other with the greatest of respect, nurture one another at every opportunity, remember to play well together, And ENJOY Summer Camp!