Monte Toyon: Frequently Asked Questions
What about housing/billeting before and after camp, and rides to camp? John and Marina Bear are in charge of these matters. Check in with them at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or, if email is not possible, (510) 528-4253.
Timing: Please plan to arrive between 2 and 4 pm on Monday June 24th. Check in at the registration table adjoining the parking lot by the dining hall. There are wheeled carts available to take your luggage to your room, a 5-minute walk. (If you arrive before 2, there are many places to eat in ‘downtown’ Aptos.)
Camp begins with a Get Acquainted and Orientation session at 4 pm in the Dance Hall, followed by supper (6 pm), and the first evening dance session, featuring seven or eight or more teachers. The next day, Tuesday begins with meditation dancing in the meadow at 7:30 am, followed by breakfast at 8:00. Camp ends after lunch on Saturday, June 29th; please plan to be off the grounds by 2 pm.
What should I wear? The camp is nestled in the redwoods just over a mile from the ocean It’s calm and shady. Mornings can be fairly cool; by noon it can be quite warm. Dressing in layers is always a good idea. Three years ago we had one day with some light rain (very unusual at that time of year). For dancing, we tend to wear colorful outfits. If you think you’d like to go to the beach, pack a swim suit.
What about footwear?
The dance floor is excellent wood, and some of us dance barefoot. If you prefer shoes, wear ones that allow you to pivot and turn without stressing your knees. If you don’t have separate dance shoes, please use the brushes we provide at the door to tidy your shoes before dancing. (We sweep the floor between sessions.)
How far are we from shops in case I forget or need something? We’re about 5 minutes by car from shops, or 20-25 minutes on foot. There are often people going to town or the beach during the day. You can make an announcement at breakfast or lunch, asking for a ride if you don’t have a car.
In case of emergency, can I be reached by phone? Yes, there is camp director available 24/7. The camp has two phone numbers. (831) 688-5420 is the main number, which you can give out for emergencies; it is almost always answered by camp personnel, and messages left are regularly monitored. (831) 688-2457 is for campers only. There are two camper phones, one in the lobby at Cary Lodge and one in the dining hall. Camp personnel don’t answer them. Campers can answer if they wish. And these phones can be used for calling out: free local calls, otherwise calling collect or with credit or calling cards.
For last-minute matters, you can try to reach the resident camp director (Mickey). Also, some of the organizers on their cell phones. Marina (510) 932-9911 • John (707) 813-0072 • Sienna (510) 219-7438
I have little (or no) circle dance experience. Will I fit in? Yes. We teach every dance before we do it, and we’ll have people at all levels of experience. Just relax and enjoy it!
What is the group like? We’re an exceedingly accommodating bunch. We say circle dance is for folks from 8 to 100 but truthfully most of our dancers are from their 40’s through retirement, with a few young folks as well. (A few years ago, one woman did come to camp and danced on her 100th birthday!)
What about bringing my children? We have had kids of about 8 or 9 join in much of the dancing. You’re the best judge of whether your child would enjoy it. Teenagers typically find us boring (no surprise there). Unfortunately, there is no provision for child care.
Can I bring a well-behaved pet? Sorry. It’s camp policy—licensed service dogs only.
What are the beds like? They’re standard twin beds with vinyl covered mattresses, fairly comfortable. But you might want to put something like a mattress pad or sleeping bag beneath your bottom sheet.
What’s the bedding like that we can rent? It’s basic: a bottom fitted sheet, a top sheet, a quilt or blanket, a pillow, a towel and a washcloth. You might want to bring a favorite pillow or a more substantial towel if you’ve got room in your suitcase.
What are the bathrooms like? They’re regular bathrooms, clean and modern. We’re in a “lodge” building, so there are common bathrooms with showers: two for women, two for men (but most years, we change it to have three for women and one for men).
Is there WiFi? Will my cell ’phone work there? There are places in the dining hall where WiFi works. (The hall is always open.) Some cell phones work (though no guarantees).
How spread out is the camp? The lodge, dance hall, meadow, and dining hall are very close. There are lots of trails to hike, but just getting from event to event is very easy.
How wild is it? Are there animals or insects to be concerned about? It’s quite civilized. There are deer, but no dangerous animals and very few insects. We have not seen (or felt) mosquitos.
Are we expected to join in on all the sessions? You’re welcome to, but you’re not required to. Some people sleep in, enjoy an afternoon excursion or nap, or turn in early. Some of us do it all. It’s entirely up to you.
What if I wish to eat between meals? The dining hall is open 24 hours. You can get coffee or tea or hot chocolate anytime. Bring snacks to fortify yourself if you want to eat between regular meal times, although the meals are hearty and plentiful. There is a refrigerator available for campers, but no cooking on your own..
Will I be able to get music and/or dance steps for things we learn? Teachers are usually willing to share references to find the music they use, and to have you take down dance notations. If there is music that’s not readily available, and you happen to have brought a flash drive with you, you might be able to persuade a teacher to share a piece with you.
Can I video dances? May I take pictures? As a common courtesy, we hope you’ll ask before using a video camera to record dances. Some dancers may prefer not to be photographed. But in general, very few people object, although they may feel intruded upon if we’re doing a very quiet, deeply meditative dance.
What about live music? There is no scratch band organized this year, but Maureen is bringing her harp and you’re certainly welcome to bring along an instrument – guitar, recorder, harmonica, whatever. Perhaps something will happen.
Do people bring things to sell? Yes, on a very modest scale. Cheryl often brings her packages of Cheryl’s Shortbread cookies. Gwen and Heather sometimes bring home made dance skirts and pants. Others have brought handmade jewelry and books they’ve written.
Yes, we'll do a Cabaret this year! Bring something to entertain, amuse, and delight your fellow campers: music, skits, whatever. We've had belly dancing, poi spinning, poetry, audience-participation games, and it's all good fun. Let Marina know what you're offering when you get to camp.
The Clothing Swap
For the last few years, there has been quite a successful clothing swap. People brought no-longer-wanted dance outfits and other festive clothing, which was deposited in a public area near the Lodge. Bring something and take something. Or bring something but don’t take something. Or bring nothing but take something.
Centers & Décor
• The center: Loren (Little Wren) will do a reprise of her splendid center from last year, but it will evolve. Bring stuff!
• We can thumbtack things to the wooden walls of the dance hall. We’ll bring the tacks and tape; you bring the bright cloths, flags, posters, whatever.
Things to Bring
Flashlight • Camera and/or cell phone • Snacks • Instrument for campfire singing • Cabaret offering •
Bathing suit if you may go to the beach (1¼ miles). Clothing for the clothing swap.
Sharing the camp
Rarely, Monte Toyon has a second group at camp, staying in a part of the grounds we don’t use—rustic cabins beyond the campfire circle. This only happened twice, and we never saw the other people, except briefly in the food line. We are not aware of any sharing this year, but it could happen.
There are two main routes from the Bay Area. The coastal route (Highway 1) is much prettier, but takes longer than inland (Hwy 101, then State 17): From Berkeley, 2 hours 15 minutes versus 1 hour 35, both in light/medium traffic. So allow extra time for the coastal route, then extra extra time, because it’s 2 lanes nearly all the way and there will be summer beach traffic. Driving instructions follow, or set your GPS to 220 Cloister Lane, Aptos, California 95003:
From the north: On Highway 1, eight miles south of Santa Cruz, take the State Park Drive exit. Turn Left, go over freeway and proceed toward Aptos.
From the south: On Highway 1, take the State Park Drive exit. Turn Right and proceed toward Aptos.
All continue: Turn right at the traffic light onto Soquel Drive. Continue through Aptos. Turn left onto Trout Gulch Road—crossing over the railroad tracks. Take first left onto Cathedral Drive at the Monte Toyon Camp sign. Monte Toyon is 1½ miles along Cathedral Drive. Look for the Monte Toyon Camp sign on the left. The next left is the entrance to the main parking lot.