Mx. Manners: I don’t dance. I have limited physical abilities, and it seems that there is a lot of programming that involves movement. Is Gender Camp for me?
MM: We support the dance of presence over any dance that requires physical movements. Our programming that is movement based is designed to include as much or as little movement as feels comfortable to you. What you have to share will be honored and included.
Dear Mx. 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. This may be the perfect time to practice being transparent and tell people that you are feeling left out and want to connect.
Dear Mx. Manners: This was advertised as a clothing optional camp. Are there limits to when and where that is OK?
MM: Mx. Manners presumes you are asking when is it rude to be nude. Although Mx. Manners understands the beauty of nature and our au naturel bodies, they feel 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 Mx. Manners: Before my friend was arrested last week, I was able to get 26 hits of Ecstasy. Do you think other Gender Camp attendees would enjoy sharing this bounty with me?
MM: Dear Bountiful, I appreciate your thoughtfulness. However, in spite of their belief in choice, Mx. 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 GC. Besides, there is nothing quite like the natural highs found in connecting with the forest, the river, and loving friends.
Dear Mx. Manners: I’ve heard you do a lot of hugging at Gender 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 our commitment to honoring CONSENT and COMMUNICATION. Please check in with someone if they WANT a hug before you start hugging. Please endeavor to offer your authentic answer when asked if you would like a hug.
They are many roads to authentic connection that do not involve hugging. When you show up in your genuine non-huggingness, you are doing what we are encouraging you to do at Gender Camp: to let yourself be seen, and offer others an opportunity to know you and face their feelings.
Please take this to heart regarding all camp activities. You are always at choice to participate, and are encouraged to listen to yourself and take good care.
Dear Mx. 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. However, Mx. Manners recognizes that some campers specifically want meat. You are welcome to supplement your diet. A kitchen area exists to provide space for storing and meat or other personal food items.You will not be allowed to cook meat, so please bring already prepared meats (pre-cooked, jerky, smoked, canned etc.)
Dear Mx. 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, Mx. 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 you missed.
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 Mx. Manners: I may wish to participate in sexual encounters. Are there any rules?
MM: Dear Seeker, Mx. Manners does not make rules!! However, they highly recommend 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).
Explicit sexual activity should be taking place in the temple and/or your tent, not in public areas. We know what defines “explicit sexual activity” is not defined the same way by everyone. We will talk more about it in orientation, and if you are questioning if what you are doing is explicit sexual behavior, you may wanna take it to the temple!
Dear Mx. Manners: What is this Kitchen Volunteer stuff? Do I HAVE to volunteer to work in the kitchen?
MM: Dear reluctant, Mx. Manners gets VERY cranky when they and a few others have to do all the work and they is too tired to be playful. Good campers work together and play together.
The workshops are important part of camp, and the work we do at camp, called Karma Yoga is as significant a workshop as any presentation. How we show up regarding responsibility, contributing to community, and working with others teaches us a significant amount about ourselves and each other.
Besides being a wonderful escape from some of society’s repressive social constraints, Gender 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. Be aware that not every situation may be to your liking, and that you are always at choice to participate or not.