I want to come to Mad Camp! Where can I buy my ticket???
Ticket applications NOW OPEN – deadline is March 1st. Please click here to go to the application.
And sign up on our mailing list for now and we will alert everyone for additional details!
Can I ask my agency to support me to be at Mad Camp? Because they support training and conferences for peers and workers in agencies?
Yes! Mad Camp a networking learning event of the best kind – a social community building experience in summer camp form that will absolutely nourish and train and support and network people who are peers and advocates and part of agencies and services.
How does the ticketing work – tell us about the finances.
We aim to break even with no profit or loss (all work is volunteer; volunteers don’t get discount pricing; even the organizers are all paying just like everybody else – this is a collaboration not a commodity!). The budget is a little complicated, and explains why the tent camper option and the cabin option aren’t that much different in price. (Contact us if you are interested in the financials.)
How do I get there?
Mad Camp will be held at Four Springs Retreat,14598 Sheveland Road Middletown, CA 95461 https://goo.gl/maps/5Lzh8y8nYFHbg6uc9. We are not providing transport but there is public transit (4 hours) from the BART train line in the SF Bay, accessible through SF and Oakland airport.
Is there cell coverage and wifi at the retreat?
There is wifi in one building but it is slow and so don’t expect to rely on it much. Some cell carriers seem to have reception, some don’t – we had reception when we were there. Come expecting to be unplugged except for necessary online use such as checking in briefly with family, communicating with your support network in a time of need, etc. If you are at Mad Camp and need to get online and have difficulty please let an organizer know and we will sort it out.
Can the food handle my diet needs?
We are told that our caterers will accommodate meat eaters, dairy eaters, gluten free, vegans, keto, paleo, breatharians and fasting. We’ll let you know details when we have them. Please tell us your special diet needs in advance.
Can I bring my own food?
Yes! Bring snacks! Bring desserts and treats However… there is only one tiny fridge… for the entire camp (beyond what the kitchen prep crew will be using). So don’t rely on refrigeration unless you bring our own plug in camp cooler or something. If you really need your own food please contact us as we may have some ideas. Early discussion helps because the food preparers are very aware of specific needs.
I’ve got specific needs around disabilities. Can I be part of Mad Camp?
We have disabilities too! We hope we can make it work! Get in touch.
Is the site accessible for wheelchairs and mobility?
Not very, this is a wooded retreat area with unpaved paths. The lodge has floors and is relatively accessible. The founder uses a wheelchair and still visits but with assistance, as the access is challenging. We really want to be totally inclusive and accessible but it just isn’t realistic to pull it off but we are trying. Get in touch with us and we can discuss your needs.
Will there be asl or captioning support for people with deafness?
Please organize this with us! If there is a need and volunteer capacity to make it happen it will happen.
Are you prohibiting scents, flashing lights, loud noises at night, and dealing with other disability / different ability concerns?
Quiet hours, no scents, no flashing lights, no smoke, maybe incense/smudging but only with people giving ok. Let us know other concerns. We want to be as inclusive as possible.
Can I bring my emotional support animal? Can I bring my dog?
The retreat center doesn’t allow support animals, only registered service animals. Also dogs are a real hazard in Northern California in areas with poison oak – they can get the poison oak resin on them and spread it. We love dogs though, please bring dog photos.
I’m taking psychiatric meds, can I be part of Mad Camp?
Absolutely! And there’s always a lot to talk about among people who share your experience.
I’m not taking psychiatric meds, can I be part of Mad Camp?
You bet! And there’s always a lot to talk about among people who share your experience.
I’m thinking of taking meds in the future, can I be part of Mad Camp?
Sure! And there’s always a lot to talk about among people who share your experience.
I’m thinking of coming off meds in the future, can I be part of Mad Camp?
Definitely! And there’s always a lot to talk about among people who share your experience.
Can I come off my meds at Mad Camp?
We are asking people to not interrupt any regular pattern with substances of any kind, including psychiatric drugs. So if you drink coffee, don’t use Mad Camp as a time to come off coffee. Don’t use Mad Camp to come off cigarettes. Don’t use Mad Camp to come off your psych meds. Timing is important, and you’d likely be adding too much additional unpredictability into the equation of joining a group gathering with new people. Mad Camp isn’t a madness sanctuary. Mad Camp isn’t a support group. Mad Camp is a summer camp! Mad Camp is only partly a retreat – it is also going to be exciting and there are going to be many people here with a lot of energies going around.
Wait isn’t this exclusionary?
We don’t see any way to be perfectly inclusive to everyone, it’s just not possible… unless you yourself have a vision or idea how we can be more inclusive – join us as a volunteer! Or create your own Mad Camp and we’ll help get the word out. We’re doing the best we can as volunteers to make this happen.
Wait, I’m still not quite sure – can I be part of Mad Camp?
We are inviting survivors /evaders/ outsiders/ escapees/ rabblerousers/ changemakers of psychiatry living with altered/visionary and extreme states of consciousness to join us! If you identify as mad and want to see psychiatry changed, join us. If you identify as mad and are ok with people angry – some of us very angry – at psychiatry, join us! If you are against forced psych treatment join us! Look we get it, not everyone in the system feels harmed. We know this. But if you feel like you are compelled to speak up on the side of the system any time you hear stories against the system of surviving psychiatric violence, you probably won’t feel like you fit in at Mad Camp. If you get inspired imagining a space for psychiatric survivors who want an end to forced treatment and want alternatives and community – please join us at Mad Camp!
I think I sort of identify as Mad as I certainly suffered some serious mental spaces, but I’m not diagnosed with bipolar or schizophrenia or psychosis and didn’t really lose my mind like that, or I did but I managed to stay away from hospitals and doctors, or I never got diagnosed, can I be part of Mad Camp?
Lots of things can drive you mad without being something like bipolar or psychosis or schizophrenia. If you identify with the mad movement, lost your mind more or less, and share our urgent need to change psychiatry and want an end to forced treatment, then why not join us? If you feel too much like you aren’t comfortable with mad people because we are mad people then no probably Mad Camp isn’t the place for you. If you are not sure please get in touch with us!
I identify as neurodivergent and have an autism or other diagnosis along those lines – can I be part of Mad Camp?
Neurodiversity is a great way to identify, and has so many parallels with the mad movement! The autism and neurodiversity movement are natural allies and have done so so much to advance social change. So sure why not – we’d love to have you! If you also identify with the mad movement as well as neurodiversity, and you’ve read the rest of this FAQ and it feels like a good fit, and you want to come, please join us! And please share your unique experience, we love the bridges between neurodiversity and the mad movement. Stimming and other ways of being are totally welcome.
I’m pretty open to identifying as “mad” for being part of this, though it’s not an something I already call myself, if that makes sense, or maybe it’s something I’m interested in and not sure about – can I still come to Mad Camp?
Is this an LGBTQI+ friendly space?
You’re damn right it is.
Can kids come to Mad Camp?
We are pretty sure yes! With a big discount for kids under 12, but we still need to cover food costs.
I love the mad movement but I am pretty conservative socially and religiously. Can I be part of Mad Camp?
Abso-freaking-lutley yes. Yes! The Mad Movement is about diversity and acceptance, so if you are ok with different points of view and beliefs and you bring the love for all, you are totally welcome to join us.
Why call it “Mad Camp,” isn’t that a negative term?
Like “queer” and “crip” there is a long tradition of using “mad” in a positive way to reclaim ourselves against shame and silencing and oppression… as well as welcome our rage against the psychiatric machine. “Mad Camp”gets the message across and connects us with our ancestors and with movement history in a vivid way. But.. we recognize that language is complex, especially for people who have had labels and terminology etc used against us. So if you have a better idea of what to call the gathering, an idea that identifies us in both our oppression as well as our gifts, language that helps us find each other, please get involved with organizing because we are open to ideas!
What are the community guidelines?
Wr trust each other with common sense caring, solidarity, and regard to make this a respectful and mutual experience. Mad Camp is not a support group but of course by coming you agree no oppressive behavior and we may have to ask you to chill out or come back later if things get out of hand.
Do I get a t-shirt that says Mad Camp if I am there?
That is a super awesome idea, if you want to make this happen… talk to us!
Is the retreat center religious?
There is a Christian – Jung thing going on with the people who run the center, but there have been many, many different types of groups hosted there, including Jewish Kabbala groups and ayahuasca groups etc etc. There are no crucifixes on the walls that we spotted and no pictures of baby jesus everywhere as far as we could tell (not that those are bad things, just that some people don’t feel well with that kind of vibe going on). We think everyone will love the space.
My loved one wants to come to Mad Camp but can only be there if I am with them as their supporter; I don’t identify as the mad movement. Can we be both come and be part of Mad Camp?
We’re not going to just say no but this is a tricky question. Some people need accommodation and support for access, including a family member taking them around to things, we get that. But this isn’t for family members. So we’d say, get in touch with us and discuss, but we ask that you don’t assume that it is ok to come as a family member who is supporting a mad person, and we ask for you to be an ally by understanding this can be a difficult dilemma and we are doing the best we can. There are a couple of hotels nearby including Twin Pines which is only 6 minutes away.
Can I make a tax-deductible contribution?
Yes! All donations are tax deductible! Check out our Donation page!
Is this volunteer and are the finances transparent?
We are 100% volunteer. Our finances are transparent, email us for details. Everyone is volunteer. Any additional funds we get go into scholarships.
I’ve never heard of the mad movement or psychiatric survivor movement before, can I be part of Mad Camp?
Yes! Yes yes yes! If the ideas resonate with you, if this speaks to you, if you feel connected, if you identify – then you are already part of the mad movement and are welcome at Mad Camp. Read this FAQ and website to get a sense of how it all feels to you.
Can I smoke or vape at Mad Camp?
If you regularly use nicotine vaping or smoking there are some places to do it at Mad Camp.
Is there alcohol at Mad Camp?
We’re not providing any alcohol no.
Can I get high at Mad Camp?
No, this is a no getting high space. Don’t worry, we will do our best to get each other high on positive vibes, dancing, and hugs.
Can I smoke weed or take cannabis at at Mad Camp?
Not to get high no, but if you do for medical necessity then we want you to follow your medical needs, just let us know beforehand so we know what to expect, and keep it respectful e.g. no medical bong hits by the pool please.
Will there be public nudity at Mad Camp?
Northern California has a very proud history of counterculture and liberation movements, and while people are sensitive to each others’ needs public nudity at hot tubs and rivers is relatively common. But the retreat doesn’t allow nudity and at Mad Camp we are going to limit it to no nudity. At the same time this is summer so we’re going to be in bathing suits. You are totally welcome to not be in a bathing suit, not everyone will be so don’t worry, we are really trying to be inclusive and sensitive to all. People who are gender nonconforming are welcome to follow their preferred gender in terms of going with no shirt. We’re also doing personal preference on shared bathrooms etc. so please bring your acceptance of gender diversity.
I am totally nervous being around other people should I still come?
We want everyone to decide for themselves about coming to Mad Camp. For some of us being around new people is super stressful. Travel, new food, new sleeping arrangements – all this is challenging for a lot of us. So maybe Mad Camp sounds like good idea, but you want to try some smaller steps first, like a shorter trip or go to a local group with new people, test the waters and not make a giant leap to a 5 day event? And keep in mind we are hoping Mad Camp will also happen in the future so if it doesn’t quite feel right to come this year maybe think about next time. On the other hand, we can imagine no better group of people to be nervous around – we can relate! We want this to be a space for people who don’t have other spaces to be. So maybe this is a good place to jump into even if you usually are isolated! We trust you to make your decision. If you come to Mad Camp and start to get nervous around other people that is really ok, you may find people to connect with even while you are nervous, and of course it is ok to be in your cabin or tent or take a walk into the woods or read a book or whatever. We are gathering to have fun and socialize, but we also respect people who might have a hard time and expect all of us to have our hard times, we all can relate to that, that is what the mad movement is about!
Is Mad Camp a support group?
Mad Camp is a summer camp focused on fun and socializing and relaxing and making community connections! We are asking everyone to come with a support network already in place in your life. Because it is always a good idea to have a support network! People you can call or text to talk with and support you. A 12 step sponsor, trusted friends, maybe even a partner or family who understands and can talk to you. Traveling and new situations can stir up feelings so you want to have some supports in place whenever you do a big adventure. With texting and video calls and emails etc it is relatively easy to stay in touch with supporters. Let them know you are traveling and make sure they can be available for a call.
Is Mad Camp a madness sanctuary, hospital alternative, or respite?
No, Mad Camp is a summer camp. We’d love to see more sanctuaries and alternatives but this is a social gathering for fun and relaxation; that’s why we are coming together.
Is Mad Camp a conference?
No, Mad Camp is a summer camp.
Will there be classes workshops trainings and groups?
Not really like a conference. It’s a summer camp, so we’re going to have activities – some scheduled. There will be offerings but we want participants to self-organize what you will offer. We plan some basics like yoga and meditation.
I have something to offer in a small group can I bring it???
Great!!! Let us know beforehand. There will also be a bulletin board people can put offerings and sign up. There should be some cabin spaces people can use for their offerings. We want people to self-organize and offer resources and learning to each other.
I do massage/reiki/baking/I wrote a book and want to sell what I offer is that ok?
We haven’t figured this out yet! We probably are limiting it to free sessions and no selling stuff. There will be a bulletin board you can put your business card etc on, and you can share your promo material brochures etc at a table. But – we are still discussing this and haven’t ruled anything out!
Is this some pagan hippy tree hugging thing?
We aim to be totally inclusive. At the same time you are invited to Northern California and our culture is pretty hippie-tree-hugger-friendly. The organizers are keeping it low key at Mad Camp, but we plan to have a couple of very simple ceremonies – a welcoming and closing, and a remembrance ceremony for people we’ve lost. These will be totally inclusive and welcoming of all religious and non religious / atheist points of view, and completely optional to attend. If you are totally against being around people who want to do a moment of silence, or light candles, or burn sage, or have an altar of photos of people who have died, other really limited spiritual kinds of stuff, then maybe Mad Camp isn’t for you. But if you can at least accept this then we promise to keep it low key and inviting. Participants at Mad Camp are welcome and encouraged to bring any ceremony or practice you want, and to offer others to join, but respectful of those not interested, and don’t impose anything.
So there is going to be ceremony?
We plan on doing a dedication opening and closing that will be super simple, with burning sage and making a simple well-wishing prayer for our time together. The main ceremonies we plan are a breathwork practice which involves trance drumming. It is optional and open to a limited number, and run by Dina Tyler. We are also doing a remembrance altar and ceremony for people who we’ve lost. We will ask people to bring photos and items of memory for people who have passed, and we will make an altar we can visit during the camp, and then we will gather in a circle to honor their memories. Simple and brief and optional. Participants at Mad Camp are also welcome and encouraged to bring any ceremony or practice you want, and to offer others to join.
Wait, this is Northern California, what about wildfires and smoke!?!
Yeah we know, we know. There is a non-zero chance Mad Camp will be canceled because the retreat center burns down. Seriously, things are bad here sometimes. And also a non-zero chance that smoke is so bad we have to cancel. Please read our cancellation policy about tickets. The good news is that the fire situation is usually less severe in the early part of the summer, crossing fingers.
What should I wear?
We’re going to have a What To Bring list soon. Basically whatever you’d bring to a summer camp incl bathing suit. Costumes, formal wear, and weirdness are encouraged.
Is it going to be hot?
We hope so! It’s summer camp people! There is a lodge with ac, but cabins don’t have a/c or fans. If you are very sensitive to heat this might not be for you. But at the same time there is a pool! And there is very little humidity in the area so shade is very relieving. We love the summers here.
Are there mosquitos or ticks?
There are like almost no mosquitos in this part of Northern California. The climiate is mediterranean – this is wine country basically. Also very little lyme or ticks. Yeah, it’s awesome, come join us.
Is there poison oak?
Yes, yes, yes, yes. There is poison oak on the property. Watch out. We will do a poison oak identification training at the very start of the gathering. Basically stay away from touching plants with bare skin unless you can look at the plant and say Oh that’s not poison oak. And watch out for tramping around in clothing on plants that might be poison oak because the plant poison can get on clothes and linger and then infect you. Poison oak is no fun.
Is Mad Camp confidential?
Yes please be sensitive and don’t repeat identities or personal information outside Mad Camp without permission. Some of us are super out in the community with our mad identities, others are not. Stigma is real and we respect everyone is where they are at with the outside normie world. So please be cautious and don’t assume people are open about participating, or anything that is discussed or happens.
Is there photography at Mad Camp?
Selfies and group photos and photo shoots are part of life and are welcome at Mad Camp but don’t go overboard and make sure to always ask for a firm and clear Yes permission first. We also ask anyone who takes photos to agree to remove the photo from social media no questions asked if someone wants them to remove the photo.
Can I take part virtually, on the internet?
We’re planning on having a few hours of live broadcast with chatting to connect globally, and stay tuned! But this is really a face to face event.
I’m a family member, but don’t identify with madness, can I be part of Mad Camp?
Family members definitely deserve support and retreats and community. But this is really to fill an unmet need – a place for mad people to gather and be with each other as equals based on a shared experience. If you really want to come to Mad Camp – create one! And invite family members and whoever you want. We’ll help you get the word out.
I’m a professional, but don’t identify with madness, can I come?
Professionals who support the mad movement definitely need places to gather and we encourage you to connect with the ISPS and Mad in America. But we’re meeting an unmet need – a place for mad people to gather and be with each based on a shared experience. We really love allies, and we know that professionals who are true allies will understand our need to be in our own spaces sometimes. And remember – some of us mad people also do work as professionals! In the sense of being paid as Peer Specialists, being counselors, even some therapists and doctors. Professionals who are also mad people – please come! But leave your professional identity at home and join us as equals in the mad community.
I’m so excited about this! I want to come – and also help volunteer! How can I help?
We love your energy, join our volunteer crew with the website form. We also need you to share our promo website and fundraising page so we can get enough funds for the scholarship. Also when you join us we are welcoming people to make offerings of classes workshops facilitating groups teaching something – get in touch!
Hmm this seems like you just aren’t doing this the right way.
We’re sure we are going to make mistakes. We’re sure we won’t meet everyone’s needs. We can’t please everyone. But we decided to go ahead anyway and just do the best we can. If you have ideas how we can do it better, join the volunteer organizing crew! If you don’t like us or feel excluded – create your own Mad Camp – and we’ll help you get the word out!
What about kids?
We love kids – but – we are still figuring this out and it’s not likely kids will be part of Mad Camp. But let us know your interest.
Who came up with this idea? How is the planning done
This idea has been around for quite a while in mad movement circles. Dina Tyler and Will Hall first put the idea into motion, then Monica Cassani and several others started to get involved. Now it is a sprawling mass of people helping out. We operate by chaos consensus, intuition, and conversation. Dina and Will are basically the vision holders with input and involvement from all, and have veto power over decisions. If you have ideas to offer we ask you to join us!