The harshness of winter has definitely hit us all in the recent weeks, keeping us trapped inside and not really enjoying the latter part of the winter months. Why not change that for the better and take a trip for relaxation, new friendships, education, and great conversation? This is where the Winter Gay Spirit Camp comes into play, which is taking place at the Easton Mountain Retreat, roughly 30 miles north of Albany in Greenwich, NY. Happening during the upcoming President’s Day Weekend, the goal this camp presents is to bring new people together and enjoy the warmth of one another while doing some great activities, lounging in the hot tub, jamming at a dance party and so much more. There is also some great education initiatives and workshops that each person can experience which furthers how fab this event seems to be. I recently sat down with one of the weekend’s hosts, Wil Fisher, who clued me into just how awesome this whole weekend will be. Take a look.
Hi Wil! Thanks for sitting down with us. So the fourth annual Easton Mountain’s Winter camp is rapidly approaching! Can you tell us what this is all about?
Winter Gay Spirit Camp was inspired by our summer camp programs that have a similar traditional camp experience. We thought it would be fun to bring that same playful and community driven energy to a winter camp that involves activities that are best enjoyed in the winter like ice skating, snow tubing, and getting cozy by the fire.
From the looks of it seems like there is a ton to do at this camp. What can someone expect when they sign up for it?
There is a ton to do! Or, you can just take naps and sit in the hot tub all weekend if you want. All activities and workshops are optional. Activities include: yoga, art, a talent show, a dance party, a wine tasting soiree, and more. Workshops offered explore a variety of topics including: the impact of masculinity on our lives; the ways we can speak our truths more directly and lovingly; how we can be of service and make a positive impact on the world; how we can cultivate more wonder and gratitude in our lives; and more.
Is this something all ages can attend or is there a particular age floor for this?
One of the intentions of this camp is to draw a younger demographic to Easton Mountain. That said, there is still a beautiful cross generational experience that happens at the camp, and all ages (over 21) are welcome.
From reading your description Wil, you focus a lot on queer youth programming, marketing and development. Can you go a little bit more in depth into that and how you will utilize that at the camp?
We are planning to invite some of the at-risk queer young adults who attended the recent Easton Mountain Leadership Academy. The young people will have an opportunity during camp to share with the community about their experiences at the academy and their leadership intentions for the future.
So much of the gay community has a negative connotation, yet Easton seems to be the exact opposite. Do you feel there should be more organizations like this?
Yes! I believe that being gay is a gift that should be celebrated! Easton Mountain provides a safe space for LGBTQ people to come together and build community, and that community provides space for its members to discover and then share their unique gifts with the world. This is an important step that supports the potential positive impact the LGBTQ community has to offer to offer.
Easton Mountain provides space for this unique and important community to develop and grow.
Will you ever be open to doing something like this during the summer, or twice a year at that?
During the summer we have Gay Spirit Camp and Gay Freedom Camp. Both camps are similar to Winter Gay Spirit Camp but instead of playing in the snow, we play in the sun! Our new pool with a view of the mountains and pond is stunning, and our summer camps are a great time to enjoy that feature of Easton as well.
What do you hope is the ultimate goal for each person who attend your camp upon them leaving?
I think each individual creates their own goals based on what they are currently looking for in their lives. These goals range from connecting to other men in romantic or platonic ways; trying out new things and new ways of being; connecting to spirit and nature; relaxing; having fun; and more. Easton has so much to offer, there is something here for everybody.
For you and the gang, what are the plans for 2015 and beyond?
2015 is very exciting time for Easton Mountain because it is our 15-year anniversary. To commemorate this exciting occasion, we have a number of initiatives including 4 facility improvement projects, a new membership program, and a 15-Year Anniversary Weekend happening Memorial Day Weekend that will include an outdoor concert and a gala dinner. All are welcome to celebrate this momentous time with us.
What is the best way for people to learn more about Easton?
Our website is a great resource for information about our programs, history, staff and amenities. We also have an active Facebook page and a community based Facebook group that helps people stay connected when they aren’t at one of our retreats. In NYC, Boston and other major cities, there is also a group of folks affiliated with Easton called Living Soulfully who meet monthly for workshops and social gatherings, and all are welcome to attend. The best way to get to know what Easton has to offer though is to come visit us or attend one of our retreats.
Want to learn more about this fantastic experience? Check out their official website for more information.