Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) answer the most common questions about camp, and go into more detail than can be printed on the flyer. If you have a specific question that does not appear here, please use the form at the bottom of the page to submit your question directly to the camp manager.
What kind of program can I expect?
Traditionally the Spring Monte Toyon Camp has presented a fairly even mix of American Contras, Traditional Squares, and English Country Dancing workshops during the day. Usually one additional dance style is included each year. Past years have included Irish Sets, Scottish Country, Morris and Sword, Scandinavian, Cajun, Appalachian Clogging. Additionally, there are music and calling workshops, and singing sessions.
The dance parties (Friday and Saturday nights, and Sunday afternoon) offer a variety of dance styles similar to the class offerings, and perhaps a special demo. All the social dance teachers and musicians have some "stage time" at these parties. The parties run the regular dance time, 8:00 - 11:00 PM, during the evenings, and approximately 2-4PM on Sunday. We are subject to noise regulations after 10:00 PM, and must keep the doors and windows of the dance hall closed.
Some campers attend camp to learn new skills; others just want a weekend of intensive dancing with great callers. Beginning dancers are welcome. We try to accommodate everyone as best we can. If you come to camp with an open mind, you're sure to have fun.
Can I get an advance copy of the workshop schedule?
A tentative program will be posted on the website as soon as it is available. The final schedule will be distributed at camp, because the workshops are subject to change right up to the last minute.
I've heard about the after-hour activities. Can you please elaborate?
The dance parties end at 11:00 PM with potluck snacks and socializing on the deck. The scheduled activities end, but the fun continues. Traditionally, the dance hall becomes an open mike session for callers and musicians. It can last as long as there are willing dancers. Others head to the Cary Dorm lounge for singing that often goes all night. The type of singing depends entirely on the participants. Some people like to bring songbooks to help them think of songs or remember words. Others may know lots of songs by memory, or may want to teach a song. A variety of styles may be sung, from traditional ballads to modern rock and roll, and anything in between. There is enough time and space for everyone to have a chance to sing their favorites.
Some years, but not always, there is a special after-hours event in the dining hall. This could be an Irish pub, or English Music Hall. It's also a space available for card, board, or parlor games.
Although there are some traditions, and possibly a planned activity,
the after-hours entertainment is mostly up to you, the Campers.
Are beginners welcome?
Yes, beginners are welcome. The teaching is generally designed for the intermediate to advanced dancer, but some people can learn very quickly when surrounded by experienced dancers. Beginners who have come to camp in the past have generally reported positive experiences. Let us know when you register that you are a beginner, and we can give extra help where needed.
Are children welcome?
Yes, they are welcome. There is no special programming for children, but they will probably be welcome in some, if not most, classes. If we know that your children want to come, we can alert the teaching staff. You will, of course, be responsible for them at all times. Please call the Registrar or Camp Manager to arrange fees and accommodations.
What is the postmark date?
The postmark date is a deadline, about eight weeks before camp, before which all applications are considered as arriving at the same time. This gives everyone an even chance to get into camp, whether they received their flyer in a first class mailing, at a dance that occurs once a month on the other side of the country, or they spent a month meditating on a mountaintop in Nepal and never made it to a cyber café or post office.
On the other hand, the postmark date gives some preference to those who
don't wait until the last minute to register. If camp is over-subscribed
by the postmark date, there will be a lottery of the registrations received,
giving some preference to first-timers, significant volunteers and dance
leaders, and the previous year's waiting list. There will be an effort
to maintain a gender balance of +/-15%.
When will I find out if I got in?
After the postmark date, we allow a few more days for some registrations to trickle in. If we are over-subscribed, we will have a lottery. There is often a lot of shuffling and questions for the Registrar around this time. It could take a week or more for us to work out all the kinks. You should get a camper letter by five weeks before camp. If you requested on the registration form that you receive your confirmation by email, you may get it sooner than those that receive snail mail.
If you have special concerns (such as arranging time off work, child care or travel plans) contact the Registrar. Otherwise, please be patient. Our goal is to inform you as promptly as we can (and to make you happy). If you haven't heard, probably no one else has either, and we may be having a difficult time sorting out some issues. Please be patient with us.
I'm financially challenged, but I still would like to come to camp. What can I do?
BACDS does not like to turn people away due to financial constraints. We will work with you to meet your needs.
There are Work-Trade spaces for approximately 1/3 off the fee. Work-Trade means what it says-you do some work in exchange for part of the fee. Preference is given to those with a good volunteer track record. If you have some physical limitations, we will try to accommodate you. If you apply for a Work-Trade position, the Coordinator will contact you.
Unfortunately, BACDS offers does not offer any special scholarships for this camp. It may be time to get creative. If you come from a distant dance community, perhaps your local organization has scholarship funds for sending people to camps to learn new skills that will benefit your community. Perhaps your friends and family can pitch in as a gift. The December holiday season is prime registration time. If you are truly stuck, please call the Registrar or the Manager, and we will try to work something out with you.
Can I come for partial camp, or may I invite a guest to join me for part of the time?
These two questions are different, but the answer is the same-No. There are numerous reasons that we cannot accommodate these requests. The global-spiritual reason is that we are trying to create a little mini community during the run of camp, which gets disturbed by various people dropping in and out. The practical reasons are that there is a day-use fee for the facility, we don't want to over-burden the Registrar or Manager with figuring fractions of camper fees, and there are limits to the numbers of people that the facility can accommodate, or that we are willing to cram on the dance floor, and still feel safe.
The regular third-Sunday Santa Cruz following camp usually features camp staff; we suggest you meet your friends there. Check http://www.nuthouse.com/contra/ for more information.
What if I need to cancel after I've paid?
If you cancel early, and we can fill your space, you will get a full refund. If we can't fill your space, we will hold your deposit until after camp, and refund some of your fee, as follows: If you cancel within three weeks of camp, you will receive all but $25. If you cancel within two weeks of camp, you will receive all but $50. If we don't hear from you at least three days before camp, and/or you do not show up at all, no money will be refunded. Special consideration will be given for medical or family emergencies.
How do I get there?
For detailed directions and information about Monte Toyon itself, please visit our Location page.
How long will it take me to get there?
Unfortunately, traffic in the Bay Area gets worse every year. Santa Cruz is approximately thirty miles from Silicon Valley. Aptos is eight miles south of Santa Cruz. During rush hour on Friday (3:00 - 7:00 PM or later), it can take over two hours to get over the Santa Cruz Mountains from Silicon Valley, three hours from San Francisco, and even longer from the East Bay. Carpooling is encouraged at all times.
What do I do when I get to camp?
There will be someone to greet you and show you where and how to park. Parking spaces are very limited, so if you are asked to move your car closer to others, kindly comply.
The first thing to do is stop in Helgesson Hall (also called the dance hall) to check in. You will receive a map with your camper letter, which will help you identify this building. At check-in, you will receive a workshop schedule, a name badge, and your housing assignment. You may need to move your car to another parking lot, depending on where you are lodging. The volunteer in the lot will point you in the right direction.
If you arrive at camp early to avoid traffic, the set up crew would be
happy to put you to work. If you haven't eaten dinner, hanging around
the registration area is a good way to find others to join for dinner
back in town. Monte Toyon is only a couple of miles from the center
of Aptos, even though it seems far off in the woods.
What should I bring?
A full list will be included in your camper letter. In general, you should consider bringing clothes for warm and cool weather, bedding for a single bed, a drinking vessel, shoes appropriate for a variety of dance classes, a towel, and potluck items for the after-dance-party refreshments.
Can you explain the lodging options in detail?
Miller and Morris Dorms are older buildings, with various-sized rooms accommodating between 6 and 10 people. Some of the rooms are connected to each other. These rooms are perfect for larger groups that want to room together, and families with children, who need a little extra room to move around. Traditionally, these rooms are quieter. The bathrooms are newer, and have more amenities.
Cary Dorm is a newer building, situated partway between the dance hall and Miller/Morris Dorms. The rooms accommodate 4 people each. There is a lounge that is used day and night for singing, playing music and games, reading and napping. Sometimes, the singing goes on all night, and the campers generally like it quiet in the morning. Neither dorm is very far away from the rest of the action.
There is some limited tent space, and you may sleep in your car, but if you spend the night on the property, you must pay full price.
I have a very strict diet. What can I do?
Please explain your needs on the registration form, and we will pass them on to the cook staff. They have a set menu that does not alter much, but they have been very accommodating with certain dietary restrictions, particularly gluten and dairy intolerances, and vegan diets. We will let you know whether or not your specific needs can be met, and whether you may need to bring your own supplemental food. There is refrigerator space, and a microwave for the campers' use.
Write your question here. It will go to the Camp Manager, who will either answer your question directly, or forward it to the appropriate person.