Voice Dialogue Summer Camp – A Camper’s Perspective
Jo Kapell

Voice Dialogue Camp last year was feast for me. It was rich in heart work, rich in dream work, and all my selves felt welcome. I loved how quickly and easily we came into a sense of community, and besides all that it was a hoot. The connections I made with other campers ranged from silly to the profound – in the same conversation. It’s a combination that is a personal favorite of mine, and one that can be illusive in ‘regular life.’

I started out, though, thinking why do I have to spend ten whole days of my precious summer at Voice Dialogue Camp? I mean why can’t these people be like the rest of the world and make it a week? Or better yet five days? By the end of the ten days I wished it had been a month long session, or better yet two months. I had grown to cherish the world of clean connection Camp created and wanted it to go on.

Going to “camp” as a grown-up still gets all those vulnerable little kid selves nervous. I actually loved going to camp when I was a kid, but before leaving for camp last summer I was experiencing health issues and family concerns that caused significant anxiety. My vulnerable child self was present and not at all sure she wanted to be taken anywhere, much less with a group of strangers. I promised to keep her safe and not jump into anything that felt threatening to her. The mood and activities at camp actually soothed rather than frightened that part of myself. Vulnerability was welcome as was practicing self-protection.

One of the things that made it easy to feel grounded and safe doing intensive inner work each day was starting out the morning with a small cohort group that served as our home base. We shared dreams, talked about the work, held a container for each other, and laughed a lot. We we’re guided by a senior staff member with gentleness and respect. It was a great way to get to know people and to delve deeply into dream process. I think all of my selves really looked forward to that morning meeting.

I danced every day. I’m not a “sit still all day and listen to someone lecture” kind of learner, so Winky’s movement classes were really important for me. I also got so much out of the opportunity to watch other people’s sessions. I came away with the recognition that we are all doing each other’s work. I would find myself moved by struggles (and selves) that showed up in someone else’s facilitation. So many resonated deeply for me. And then it’s such a rare opportunity to be able to ask questions of both the facilitator and the participant afterwards. “Why did you choose to go to that self, how did you know it needed to speak first?” “How was that for you when your facilitator asked you to move there?” All of us involved in this work are familiar with being facilitated and perhaps facilitating others as well but the opportunity to ask questions on the spot is a treat.

Each facilitator’s style was unique, and that was another way to learn new possibilities for working with the Voice Dialogue process. Campers, though, ranged from people who had never done any Voice Dialogue work, to those with years of experience and everything in between. We were all gently folded into the mix. There was no hierarchy, no merit badges for years involved, no need to feel anything but fine about where you were in your own process. I felt supported and welcomed every step of the way.

The location is beautiful, the accommodations comfortable and thoughtful. You can camp out under the stars, or ‘un-rough’ it on one of the cabin rooms. The food is first-rate. As a camper all you have to do is show up and drink from one of the many wells that are being offered. Go by yourself (I did), go with your partner (it honestly doesn’t matter if they have no experience with Voice Dialogue), go with a friend or a pack of friends. But I recommend taking the opportunity to go. For me it was a delicious time that has kept on feeding me all through the year.