On Sunday the 18th May four CloudCatcher Organisers and one community member met to have an in-depth community discussion day, the first of several community events planned for 2014. We met at Tom Beatson ‘Razorback’ Lookout, high on a steep ridge above Tweed Heads, a little over halfway from Brisbane to Byron Bay. Mt Warning and Springbrook are visible from the lookout, as is the Tweed River and coastline, so it seemed a perfect location at which to gather. In three blogs I will summarise some of the content of the community day discussions.
The first part of the day was dedicated to sharing our experiences of CloudCatcher WitchCamp in general. It was not so much a prompt for “what needs fixing”, just a chance to eloquate about our experiences with a dash of “if I were Queen of Camp” thrown in. For ease and clarity, I have broken the discussion summaries into sections.
Venue: A lot of appreciation for the venue managers and caterers, who have always been welcoming and strived to meet our sometimes very particular needs. Feeling that this venue is the one for us, that there is no need to move about, but to really build a deep connection to this place. Some comments on a continuing problem with mould in the rooms, but as we move out of some very wet years into an El Nino this may improve. This year’s food was a bit lacking but has generally been great.
Registration: Most felt registration was easy via the website and that communication on email and facebook has been good. There were some issues about being able to pay on time, and also using direct deposit methods for payment. Could perhaps make part-payment options clearer on the website. Some comment on whether the registration should involve more information or some kind of screening process for potentially difficult Campers or those not quite aligned with a Reclaiming ethos. Also some feeling there could be more information before Camp about in-Camp activities such as the raffle, auction and bardic night. There was also some comment on improving communication between CloudCatcher organisers and those running workshops and events to improve the registration/enquiry process for first-timers.
Camp: Path offerings improving, as is the clarity on Elements being a pre-requisite for newbies. Sometimes the rituals could feel a bit loose and leave Campers confused, especially the afternoon ritual which seems each year to be a bit unclear in intent and not as tightly held. Feeling that the organisers probably need a dedicated meeting with teachers to be more involved in the story arc and ritual intent to better hold the Camp as a whole. It was also mentioned that as we grow as a community and as a Camp it is becoming clear we need to build some procedures around difficult people and situations. One comment that the Camp sometimes seems a tiny bit fluffy, with perhaps more space needed to appreciate the darker, more volatile nature of some Witchcraft that is not always on a trajectory of New Age style self-improvement.
Community: Feeling that we are growing as a community and coming closer together. That as organisers we should focus on fostering a community outside of Camp that can grow on its own and eventually feed back into the Camp. That we perhaps need to be aware of keeping space to welcome newbies and offering the chance for people to take what they need from a WitchCamp, rather than assuming everyone will want to ‘give’ to the Camp and it’s ongoing community equally.
There were lots of discussions in the morning and this only really captures the superficial edge of those. Overall the five of us felt very satisfied with CloudCatcher WitchCamp so far, blessed to have been part of it in its first three years, and very much looking forward to the future.
Below I have provided some photos of our location. Next blog I will provide a summary of our dicussions on fairness and accessibility of CloudCatcher WitchCamp.