Groundswell Gathering Guide
Welcome Home. Groundswell is home to a queer intentional community and worker-owned cooperative, operating the Groundswell Retreat Center. The land we steward covers 200 acres of redwood forest, grasslands, and all the creatures who live here. Gatherings for our extended community are central to Groundswell’s reason for being. Building on the tradition of Radical Faeries and growing into a diverse queer landscape, we host several gatherings annually, celebrating seasonal change, heart-centered connection, queer healing, and plenty of revelry. We are so glad you’re here. Welcome home.
We love hosting gatherings for our community. And it is a lot of work. Please do read this.
We appreciate your attention to the housekeeping tea we gotta serve.
DRIVING HERE: We are located at 18500 Highway 128 Yorkville, CA 95494. Visible from the highway is our sign that reads “Groundswell.” Once you leave the highway, drive downhill, following the sign to the retreat center. Cross the creek on the car bridge, then continue uphill and look for the grassy parking area on your left. After leaving your car, follow the road as it curves to the left and in a few steps you’ll see the camp.
ACCESSIBILITY: Our land community includes Disabled folks and Groundswell is committed to working to remove barriers that keep Disabled queers from joining us on the land. We have retrofitted our dining hall, hot tub, bath facilities, and largest cabin (with van-accessible parking) to meet ADA specifications. Gatherings are relatively low scent, leaning towards essential oils and natural smells. While parts of our terrain is very steep, and we can’t remove the barriers that nature has created, we have solutions and will work with you to find your comfort space.
BRING: Bedding (sleeping bag or bedding + bottom sheet, and pillow). Cabin bunks are furnished with a thick foam mat. Tent + camping comforts (if camping). Toiletries (biodegradable and scent-free please). Clothing and looks and drag, oh my! Think layers, waterproofs for winter, sun hats for summer. Sturdy shoes. Headlamp or flashlight. Water vessel. Day pack, tote bag, etc. Acoustical instruments. Yoga mats. Notebook, reading book. Biodegradable sunscreen or bug repellant in summer. Your magic, your body, your intention.
TOWELS: Do you know how much laundry we do after gatherings? Do bring your own towel, if you can. We will provide you a clothespin to personalize and attach to your towel. This helps to keep your towel from wandering off. Also, do take your towel home with you when you leave.
CHECK-IN + COINS: Please check-in with us when you arrive. Check-in is located inside the dining hall or out on the dining hall deck. If you haven't already paid online, come prepared to pay at check-in via cash, personal checks, credit/debit, or venmo.
VOLUNTEERING: Participation is part of what makes the magic. From things like workshop and event assistance to food preparation and general housekeeping, we've got many ways for you to help out and participate. We will have a volunteer sign-up sheet at check-in with a variety of tasks. We ask that you contribute or assist with one thing each day that you attend the gathering. We understand that everyone contributes and gives in different ways. All contributions of labor, time, and emotional space ARE relevant. We only ask that you take a look around, see what may need to be done, and ask yourself how you are plugging in.
CABINS: Each cabin accommodates six to eight people in bunk beds, mostly singles. There are double beds in Cabins 4 and 9. Cabin 9 has a wheelchair-accessible ramp and is designated a special needs cabin. Please make this space available to those who need it. Cabins are available for the first 50 people who request them. If you are in need of a cabin, let us know and we'll make sure you get one.
CAMPING: There are shady tent-camping areas nestled in the redwood grove above center camp, nearby in the surrounding meadows, scattered down the forested hillside, and in the oak shaded meadow between the cabins and Tidrick. Please do not camp in the Beltane meadow during Beltane gathering.
PARKING + EMERGENCY VEHICLE ACCESS: Park in designated parking areas only. Cars are okay in center camp for purposes of loading, unloading, and mobility access. ASK Groundswell Residents before driving to the pond, we have vehicles better suited to the bumpy and steep road. Roads must remain clear and passable for emergency vehicles. Do not drive or park off-road.
CONSENT IS SEXY: Groundswell is a safe space for women, trans identified folx, people of color, Disabled folk, and any body queerly identified. Be respectful, seek consent, and ask what someone is available for.
NUDITY: happens at Groundswell. But please refrain from nudity or any sexual activity in the parking lot or in sight of the road shared with our neighbors. Feel free to get naked at the pond, the creek (upstream from the footbridge), woodlands, and all of center camp. Be aware of ticks, poison oak, and other hazards. Also, Health Code requires you to wear clothing that covers your front bottom parts and closed-toed shoes in the kitchen.
HOT TUB: No sex in the hot tub. (Or kitchen.) No bodily fluids in the hot tub. (Or, need we say, the kitchen.) Kindly shower with soap before getting into the hot tub. No glass or ceramic at the hot tub.
FIRE/SMOKING: Absolutely no fire or flame of any kind outside of designated areas. Smoking is allowed in two areas only: (1) at the fire pit and (2) at the picnic tables to the side of the dining hall. Please do not bring lanterns, camp stoves, candles, incense, or other flammables. Thank you.
ELECTRICITY: Be mindful. Turn off lights and space heaters when you are not in your cabin. Electricity costs money gurl.
FOOD: Groundswell provides breakfast, a light lunch, and dinner. Slow bells means 15 minutes till food, fast bells means come and get it. We gather in a circle before all dinners, if you hear a “YOOHOO!” come to the lawn for some connection, grounding, and information sharing. We have vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options available at every meal. We can accommodate some dietary restrictions and food allergies. But do make sure to have what you need for your needs. All identified kitchen witches, kitchen queens, and kitchen ‘i-wanna-know-how’s,’ sign up for a cooking shift--it’s the secret, not so secret, best volunteer spot. If you’re a witch in the kitchen and want to top a meal, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TRASH/RECYCLING/COMPOST: If you are able, pack out what you pack in. There is no curbside garbage pickup at Groundswell. Please follow the signs when discarding something. All food waste (except meat and animal bones) goes into the 5 gallon compost buckets. Please help us to minimize our costs and labor by following posted signs for trash and recycling--there are separate designated bins for redeemable bottles, cans, general recycling, and trash. If you are unsure, please ask. Help other folks know too! And it is ALWAYS okay if you offer to take a bag of trash home with you to dispose of city-side.
DRINKING WATER: The taps at the Dining Hall and Bathhouse provide potable/drinkable water from our natural springs. There’s a sink on the Dining Hall deck that’s ideal for filling up your water bottle. The water from taps uphill from the Dining Hall (including Tidrick) has not passed through the UV filter, and might not be safe to drink.
SUBSTANCES: Groundswell expects guests to behave responsibly, in order to assure safety and opportunities for growth. We do not condone any substance use that interferes with an individual’s ability to be present and respectful of this expectation. We reserve the right to expel any guest who disregards these guidelines.
POISON OAK + RATTLESNAKES: Know what poison oak looks like (we’ve got photos). Do your best not to expose yourself or others to poison oak contamination. We have Tecnu to wash with if you’ve been exposed. Wear proper footwear when traversing the rocky terrain. Rattlesnakes can show up in camp--pay attention to where you’re placing your body parts. Bears and mountains lions may be present during forest hikes. And ticks, oh my! Grab a friend and check each others spaces for ‘em!
STAFF AVAILABILITY: Groundswell Staff will be present and available during your stay. In the event of an emergency there are staff phone numbers posted in the dining hall.
EMERGENCIES: Medical, Fire, etc. Dial 911 for emergency response. Staff phone numbers are posted in the dining hall. First-Aid kit and A.E.D. are located between the dining hall and kitchen, as is an alarm air-horn in case of emergency or wildfire.
PETS: Groundswell has a no pets policy. Service animals are allowed, just let us know what to expect.
AND LASTLY: No glitter in the creek please.