6/21 - 6/27 | Family Work Camp

Family Work Camp is, quite simply, the best week of the year. It’s a time to relax with friends and family, unplug, and re-connect with the simple joys in life. It’s a time to work hard, make music, sing, holler, run, lay in the grass, and eat healthy vegetarian food. It’s a time to teach your children about how working with others, digging deep and getting sweaty can be the most fun you will ever have.

Since Family Work Camp is probably unlike anything you’ve ever done with your family, it’s helpful to know what to expect and what to bring. It’s been our experience that talking with your children about camp, and camp life, before you arrive will ensure that everyone gets the most out of camp. Most importantly, it’s helpful to know that we approach our work projects as enjoyable undertakings, where friendships are developed and shared and new skills are learned. For some of us it may take a day or two to shake the old associations of work as unpleasant stuff you have to do. Helping ourselves and our children enjoy the morning work period is one of the aims of the camp.

With this in mind, consider the following as you contemplate whether to join us this year:

  • Kids and Adults Together: Because work is the core of the camp activity, it’s important to know that there is not a separate children’s program during the three-hour work session.  Kids and adults work together on crews that need differing skills and abilities. 
  • Safety: Some crew projects are more hazardous (involving roof replacement, painting on ladders, etc.), and we don’t allow young children to participate. Most projects, however, are not, and we will help guide you and your children to appropriate work. Please help us respect the importance of safety in all that we do when we suggest particular crews for your family.
  • Supervision: Some children work alongside their parents, particularly in the first few days, while others are ready immediately to join up with a crew with other adults and kids. You and your child can decide what will work best, and adjust as needed. Use your best judgment and be supportive as your child tries out this new place. Each crew leader will be attentive to ensure that children (younger and older) stay on crews throughout the morning, and adults will share responsibility for all children. However, remember that you - the parent - not camp staff, are primarily responsible for your child/ren's safety and conduct.
  • Stay the Week: The best practice and general expectation at camp is that families come only if they can stay the whole week. It takes time to get into the swing of things, and coming late or leaving early disrupts the flow of work for everyone. Occasionally, we make a provision for a family member who needs to come late or leave early because of work commitments—if this is your situation, contact the camp director to see what can be worked out.  However, know that work camp is much better when everyone is here for the entire week, and when children are well supervised by their parents.

Possible 2020 Projects:

  • A-frames: roofs, painting and floors
  • Wood Crew and Forest Work (trails and scotch broom)
  • Garden Crews
  • Landscaping
  • NID Ditch Maintenance
  • Pond Beautification
  • and more!


7:30 - 8:30 Breakfast in the dining hall

8:30 - 9 am  Meeting for Worship and Work Crew assignments

9 am-12:00. Work crews

12:30-1:30. Lunch in the dining hall

1:30-5:30. Relaxation time. Families spend time together and with others enjoying time on the lawn, playing board games in the dining hall, sharing craft projects, trips to the pond for swimming, and making friends. Bring that knitting project that’s been languishing, your guitar (lots of musicians here), and your favorite games.  And, some folks may want to continue working!

5:30-6:30. Dinner in the dining hall

6:30-8:30-ish  There are games in the evening, singing, and hanging out. 

10 pm:  Quiet Time

Our last night is Family Skit Night!

Housekeeping and Dining:

Accommodations are simple. Depending on space, you will be either in a tent (bring your own) or in a cabin. Bring everything you need – sleeping bag and sheets, pillows, towels, and flashlight.  


Further Essential Equipment (all the above plus...)

  • A swim suit and a towel 
  • A sweater or jacket 
  • Warm shirt and pants   
  • A hat for keeping the sun off your face
  • A warm hat for possible cold weather
  • Essential toilet items and a towel for the showers
  • A good flashlight or headlamp (with extra batteries)    
  • Water bottle
  • Sun screen
  • Bug repellent
  • Bedding for your cabin - twin sheets, a pillow, and a blanket 

Optional Items:

  • Musical instrument
  • Reading material  
  • Journal or sketch pad
  • Sports Equipment
  • Playing cards and non-electronic games and puzzles
  • Sleeping bag sheet (use a double bed sheet, fold in half, and sew two edges to make a liner) for camping on hot nights when mosquitoes are out
  • Camera 

Please do not bring:

  • Any item you cannot bear to lose (especially jewelry and watches)
  • Any illegal drugs, alcohol, or tobacco products
  • Perfumed or heavily scented cosmetic products
  • Any weapon
  • Fireworks, matches, candles or lighters
  • Electronics: In order to maintain a simple community atmosphere, we suggest that you do not bring electric musical instruments, music players and gaming devices. 

Food is vegetarian. Everyone (kids and adults) participate in at kitchen crew shifts over the week, preparing breakfast, lunch or dinner, and/or cleaning-up. We can accommodate food allergies, but lesser dietary restrictions (like hating vegetables, lentils or beans) are harder to handle with a camp of 80 people.

Finally, a note about technology: Our power is limited at Sierra Friends Center, and while the cabins have outlets, they are not designed for late-night computer use. Our internet connection is very slow and we discourage use by visitors since it greatly impacts the normal business activities at Sierra Friends Center. Streaming video is not possible. If you are in a tent, you won’t have power at all. We do not provide access to computers at the Center for campers, and the dining hall is a laptop-free zone. So, leave the technology at home, and enjoy the camaraderie of Work Camp and the starry skies!