The rules and conventions governing the everyday running of the Unicorn Village Camps are the result of years of experience and the feedback we gather each year from the campers. Please follow the links to find out why these rules are in place, and how they contribute to making every camp a wonderful experience.
No alcohol or illegal drugs
When Samuel Lewis created the Dances of Universal Peace in 1960’s San Francisco, it was specifically with the intent of providing the young people of that city with the experience of a spiritual ‘high’ as an alternative to drugs. In the decades since, in which the Dances have grown and spread throughout the world, it has been understood that all Dance events whether single sessions, residential retreats or camps have benefitted from a ‘no alcohol/no drugs’ rule.
Many people have experienced these events as having the power to trigger significant personal transformation and that the use of alcohol or drugs would have blocked the process. When the Unicorn Dances of Universal Peace Camp (now called Dancing Spirit Camp) began in the early nineties it was a given that this rule would apply and the reasons for it were understood and appreciated by the first wave of campers.
It also proved to be a very practical rule for a family camp which, along with the 11pm ‘Quiet Time’ convention allowed camping families to feel secure and to get a good night’s sleep. It has been our experience that on camps which allow alcohol this is often not the case; with the best will in the world it doesn’t take many drinks for us to forget both the lateness of the hour and the fact that we are surrounded by people trying to sleep with only thin canvas between themselves and our revelry!
When the Unicorn Natural Voice Camp began in 1998 it seemed natural to continue in this ethos and the majority of campers the first year were familiar with it through the Dance Camp.
As the Voice Camp grew it took in more participants from the world of Community Choirs and the Core Group became concerned that a clash of cultures would occur as in the broader European culture singing and drinking very often go together. Indeed in our feedback some participants felt that moderate drinking should be allowed. The majority opinion however was considerably in favour of the alcohol ban so we have retained it across both our main camps. The policy continues to be enthusiastically endorsed by our feedback process.
Singing itself can be a very powerful and transformative activity especially combined with the experience of the camp community and the back-to-basics focus of simple everyday camp life away from our usual patterns. Most people who have experienced the camps have appreciated how the no alcohol rule enables this opportunity for deeper awareness and personal development. There are many participants who say that Unicorn Camps have changed their lives. This is something of which the Core Group are very proud and they are most unlikely to ever abandon this key policy.
No amplified music
The camps are full of musicians and singers and provide lots of opportunities to get together to make music both as part of the programme and informally in the camping circles and cafe. We encourage in-the-moment acoustic music. We have experienced other camps where loud recorded music in one venue has made it very difficult to take part in a session in another and recorded music keeping you awake at night.
It is a blessing to be at a camp where these things will never happen!
No noise after 11pm
We have an 11pm 'Quiet Time' in place so that everyone on the camp can get a good night’s sleep and be refreshed for early morning activities. Our experience from other camps is that late night noise causes a lot of discomfort and resentment, especially for families.
Although our camping fields cover a reasonably large area we do not sleep within thick walls and loud noise on one part of the site can be heard on any other.
As with the 'no alcohol' rule this was challenged by some in the early days of the Voice Camp but since then it has been widely acknowledged in the feedback as being very welcome.
We encourage everyone to switch their phones off when on camp to experience more deeply the blessing of being simply present with each other, with ourselves and with nature. Of course sometimes it is necessary to be in communication with someone outside the camp but this can be done sensitively by making the call in the car park or by sending and receiving texts silently.
All gas appliances used on site must meet regulation standards
We were obliged to include this rule after two successive years in which the Fire Brigade was called to the camp. On both occasions the cause of the fire was a camping gas fridge which had been inexpertly assembled. We do not ban such fridges completely as they are often part of the fittings in a camper van but we do require them to meet regulation standards.
Dogs are not permitted
Unfortunately the history of trying to accommodate dogs on camps is an unsuccessful one and nearly all current camps do not allow them on site. They have been known to be a menace to young children and their excrement is a health hazard. They have been guilty of transgressing curfews and the theft of camper’s foodstuffs, including breaking and entering!
However we do allow guide dogs on site.
No visitors and no new arrivals after the first Sunday of the camp
One of the things which enables the very special quality of community on Unicorn Camps is the feeling of safety which comes from being part of a settled group of people. The camps are small enough that all faces become familiar after a day or two and the sudden appearance of new people can be quite strange after we have established our community. It’s also disturbing when people leave early so we ask them to stay for the duration of the camp if possible. These rules do not apply to children who are brought to the camp after it has started. We ask that they are met at the Gate or outside the camp.
Participants must not arrive before Arrivals Day (Saturday).