API: Tell us, exactly what is Camp Common Ground?
CAROLE BLANE: I am a Leader of an Attachment Parenting International group in New Jersey and also the Program Coordinator at Camp Common Ground in Vermont. I was not always the program coordinator, however. Long ago I was just a practitioner of Attachment Parenting seeking a vacation spot for my family where we would be welcomed and embraced.
I don’t know about those of you who have little children now, but when ours were little we always found it difficult to take vacations with our three extended-nursing, cosleeping, and attached children. So many places in our culture are not actually all that family-friendly. I felt so lucky when I stumbled on Camp Common Ground, a family camp for adults and kids complete with arts and crafts, swimming, campfires, hiking, and cabins. Instead of sending your children away to camp, you get to go with them. What a unique idea!
The first year we went, we were amazed to find an extension of our tribe on vacation. At home we had a great community through Attachment Parenting International, La Leche League, and our homeschooling buddies. We were surprised though to find ourselves running around barefoot in lovely Vermont and not feeling a bit out of place. The camp director at the time even nursed her four year old at circle time! There were a few raised eyebrows in the group but no grimaces and no one walked away. My family was hooked.
API: What have parents found to be most useful about Camp Common Ground?
CAROLE: We came to see that the fact that we instantly felt part of the community was just a perk. Camp Common Ground is the only vegetarian (don’t worry…even meat eaters love the fare!) family camp on the East Coast, accommodates special dietary needs, and facilitates cosleeping. Yep…all of our bunks are flexible and beds get shuffled around all the time. While getting ready for a camp session, you can often hear me asking our caretaker to rearrange a cabin — “Pat, please unbunk beds in the Strawbale cabin because this family has a toddler and a newborn, and they all sleep together.”
API: How else does Camp Common Ground fit into Attachment Parenting?
CAROLE: In the mornings, we offer adult programs and kids go to Kidville where they have a host of their own programs. However, parents are totally welcome to join their children in Kidville…in fact many do. You are also welcome to take your child out of Kidville to spend the mornings together and no one minds one bit. In fact, if your child is unhappy in Kidville, the staff will usually ask you to spend some time with him/her because it is his or her vacation too! The only restriction is that many of the adult programs — like improv, glassblowing, watercolors, and writing workshops — are only for adults.
API: Thank you so much, Carole! Can you tell us where to go for more information?