Friday, September 9, 2011

My Excellent Summer Vacation, Part I - Polycamp NW

So it's back to school time, and I'm here to answer that time-honored question asked of students returning from summer break - what did you do on your summer vacation?  Somehow I doubt anyone answered quite like this.  Well, except for the kids who were at Polycamp NW, and there were a lot of those. 

Last October at the Poly Living conference I met Quintus, the organizer of Polycamp NW, a family-friendly camp event held at the Environmental Learning Center (ELC) in Millersylvania State Park near Olympia, WA.  The ELC is a wonderful private area nested under old growth cedar and fir trees near Deep Lake - breathtakingly beautiful!  Quintus invited me to present poly programs, I agreed, and I'm so glad I did. 

Seattle is one of my most favorite places with it's rocking poly/alternative community, it's natural beauty, and its rep as US studioglass mecca.  Usually looking at art glass is a must do activity for me when I visit Seattle, but this time I didn't buy any glass but instead spent my time with the wonderfully warm and loving local poly community, as well as many who came from Western Canada, Portland, Oregon, and other parts of the region.  The sun shone brightly and the weather was spectacular during my entire visit.    

Quintus's charming and handsome house mate Lydia (pronounced "li-DAY-uh", above right) picked me up at SEATAC, and we took the ferry across the sound to west Seattle.  There we found Quintus, his beautiful wife, Francisca, (above left) and his extended poly family in the final throes of preparing food and loading a van and two trucks with supplies and a huge abundance of fresh foods to feed the 195 people who would be in attendance.  And feed us they did.  His friend Doug did an awesome job as chef, he and the volunteers cooked up delicious, nutritious meals all weekend long. 

The weather was perfect and the drive south to Olympia spectacular!   I had a hard time focusing on my community organizing conversation with Quintus with a sweeping expanse of water on our right and Mount Ranier in all it's magesty floating on the horizon to our left. 

Anyway, we arrived early Friday afternoon and immediately started unloading and helping set up the large and well-equipped lodge kitchen. 

The program for the weekend was quite eclectic, partly on poly topics and partly on fun classes for families with kids.  It was so good to see so many families there and to know that the older kids had a place to be where their family was more similar to those of the other kids than is often so in the mainstream world.  The ever beautiful Cunning Minx gave a workshop on poly dating, and then she interviewed me for her latest Poly Weekly Podcast on advice for poly newbies.  I gave two workshops, one I call Emotional Edge Play:  Polyamory for BDSM/Leather/Fetish Folks, and a second on Poly/Mono relationships that got huge attendance. 

There was an adult cabin section that was set well apart from the cabins and camping area for families with kids, and that gave those interested in adult activities a place in which to pursue them.  There was a class on rope bondage and a good discussion on the latest in safer sex practices.  There were also activities at night for everone, including a talent show and a blues dance at which someone taught the adults how to do a very sexy, sultery dance to blues music.  Very hot stuff.   

It was SO lovely to reconnect with friends I hadn't seen in a while, like Minx, the Erosong family, Teresa Greenan, and Sue Tinney and Christopher Bingham of The Bone Poets Orchestra (formerly Gaia Consort).  Sue and I shared a ride back to Seattle, and I admit to developing a bit of a girl crush on her as we got to know each other better. 

I had such a great time at Polycamp NW.  Quintus and his dedicated team created a very happy space for 195 poly people and their kids to get together and revel in what it is that we all have in common.  It was worth the money and travel time, and this definitely won't be my last time at Polycamp NW.  Join me there next year, won't you?

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