What is NVC Family Camp?
Family Camp is an experience in learning, sharing and living in community with family and friends. People are encouraged to explore their choices with caring attention and guidance and a lot of freedom while experiencing nurturing and support.
It's a place to make friends where there is a possibility of an authentic connection on a deeper and more personal level. It's ok to share the full range of your feelings. You can be sad; people are not going to try to fix you. You can celebrate and people will savor that with you before telling you about their celebration.
In the mornings, there's an adult program, a youth program, a teen and a tween program, and in the afternoons, time for the family together. There are a whole lot of fun things to do like creative art, movement and general play.
The Family Camp experience was like a beautiful dream for me and my kids, and each day since, our "regular lives" in Victoria continue to be enriched by the beautiful shifts that happened on Vashon Island during that magical week. The experience on the farm was like a re-fueling for me; I was nourished as a parent and a person on all levels. My kids blossomed, thoroughly delighted to live in community. Oh, and the FOOD!!! The dominant flavour was love, and it was DELICIOUS. I laugh now to think that I was so nervous about the camping part... there was so much support and sharing and compassion; my "inner camper" was able to emerge and shine! As we drove away to catch the ferry on that last day, my kids, ages 4 and 7, both said, "Can we come back to Family Camp?" My 7-year-old surprised me a few weeks later by saying out of nowhere, "Mom, I can translate jackal into giraffe." I asked him if he'd been taught about that in the children's program. "No," he said, "but I listened to what the adults were talking about, and I learned that way." My heart nearly exploded with gratitude and joy to know that we all had deepened our ability to listen and speak from the heart.
One of the trainers recommended the book "Playful Parenting" and I bought it immediately; it completely changed my ideas about how I could help foster a more satisfying and meaningful connection with my kids and communicate to them the most profoundly important things to me through fun and play and laughter. Such a gift. It is impossible to express the depth of my thankfulness that this transformational experience of NVC Family Camp is available to kids and those who care for them. I only wish that we could live at Family Camp all year long.
~~Mollie KayeVictoria, BC mother of Dana, age 4 and Nico, age 8
At family camp there are so many people pitching in and bring their best foot forward to create the world we want to live in. The meals are community prepared, starting with healthy mostly organic food that is prepared with love. When you are eating this food in this wonderful field of freedom and nature, you are ingesting the love energy even in the food you eat.There is joy, joy, and joy everywhere in the camp. Though there is room for all emotions, the general emotion is one of joy and delight. Delight in being; delight in running, playing, and experimenting. The staff has these moments where they all fall into what they call a giggle pile, or a cuddle pile, and everybody just flops on top of each other. There is room for spontaneity, you can do silly things and that might be out of the ordinary because there is a lot of acceptance.Family camp is a vacation from the critical world.
To me, Family Camp is the result of an intention to give families a place where they can experience their true nature of love. From that strong intention come all the elements that support that happening: a caring, dedicated and skillful staff, grounded in the compassionate consciousness that NVC supports; a beautiful, nature-full island family farm that holds the camp; families who come wanting to reconnect with their natural loving; and the process of NVC itself, which naturally and effortlessly permeates the camp with empathy and authenticity.
During camp, there are so many opportunities that uncover that love. A father kneeling down with his five year-old son and another boy, listening to the needs present in both boys that lead to one boy picking up a stick to hit the other. A mother receiving the quality of empathy it takes to really get that her needs, too, are precious, and weeping when she realizes that she doesn't have to sacrifice her needs to care for her family's needs. Two girls running hand in hand down the field to the pond after receiving mediation support from a third girl for their misunderstanding. Two staff members sitting in a family's tipi late into the night, stoking the fire as they help the parents and sister listen to the pain and then the hopes of their twelve year old son/brother.
I get to see families leave their week at camp with smiles, hugs, and words of wonder and gratitude, expressing their joy at reconnecting with their loving hearts, at having expanded their circle of support, and at having renewed energy, skills and hope for the path of family life. And I get to experience the joy of fulfillment knowing the intention of Family Camp has touched the mark, and there is more love available to them and the world.