Welcome to the amazing 19th annual installment of the Friends and Family Summer Campout! Everything you need to know follows. Some important highlights are noted below, so take this in for sure, but please read and absorb ALL of the following instructions as they’ll help you make the most of your weekend and help us to leave you and the space healthy and happy.
- Extreme Fire Hazard!
Fire danger this year is higher than it has been in literally decades. Smoke ONLY in designated areas (and not on the dance floor please!). Electronic smokes are okay. No fire of any kind at your camp, including camp stoves. These rules will be strictly enforced. Thank you for your cooperation. Also, please bring a fire extinguisher for your camp if you have one.
If you’d like to bring your kids to the campout we have some information for you and some requirements of you. Please see our Kids Page and follow the instructions there.
- Leave No Trace
This year we are doing recycling and trash a little differently, and will be expecting you, as a community, to pack out what you pack in! Please do your part to leave excess packaging at home before you arrive and keep your camp area clean by using the provided bags to take out what you bring in. See our Leave No Trace page for more info.
- Be Amazing!
Of course you’re amazing, but in case there’s any doubt about what we mean by amazing, please read or new Code of Conduct. It’s a clear explanation of our expectations of everyone that attends our events as well as important information about how we handle situations where people are less than amazing. Please take the time to read this policy as attending the campout means you agree to the terms therein. Thanks!
Before we move on, notice that there are lots of links to your left, so check them out, it’s all very useful info!
Directions and Start Time.
Saratoga Springs is located 2.5 hours North on 101, between Ukiah and Clear Lake in Lake county. Here are driving directions (from San Francisco). You are welcome to arrive at Noon on Friday, and stay through to Sunday at 2:00 pm, departing promptly at 2:00. We suggest arriving early on Friday – the music begins at 12:00 pm, and there’s lots of fun to be had so let’s get it goin! Arriving early will also afford you the opportunity of securing and preparing a nice campsite, getting the lay of the land and more.
This entire location is mostly outdoors and it will be hot as heck during the day and maybe even at night, so please come prepared! Shorts, sunscreen, BUG SPRAY, misters, extra shade for your tent, flip flops, towels and adequate camping gear are all strongly recommended. Note that while we’re rounding up as many wheelbarrows as we can, you may still have to carry your gear a fair distance from the loading zones, so leave the kitchen sink at home, please! Also, please put bedding and soft stuffs into garbage bags as it makes loading the shuttles, golf carts and wheelbarrows, way, way, easier.
Shuttles, both golf carts and the big flatbed truck, will run during these hours, ONLY:
• Friday: Noon thru Midnight.
• Saturday: 11:00 AM thru 6:00 PM
• Sunday: 9:00 AM thru 2:00 PM
If you arrive or depart outside of these hours (though you must be on the road by 2:00 on Sunday) you may have to shlep your stuff a LONG way so please arrive and depart during these hours. Additionally, please be respectful of the staff at Saratoga Springs and load/unload at the designated loading zones. Our staff works hard to make your weekend safe and enjoyable, so please be kind and cooperative as they do their job in parking, shuttling you, etc.
Private Residences and Staff Housing
Once at Saratoga Springs you’ll notice that there are a variety of houses and cabins on the property. Please note that these are the *private residences* of the staff of Saratoga Springs and of our staff for the event and should NOT BE ENTERED for any reason. The bottom floor of the Main Lodge there and the Heart Lodge are part of the party and provide some very nice interior spaces.
Extreme Fire Hazard!
Fire hazards at this time of year are EXTREME and absolutely no joke as we found out a few years ago. Smoking of all kinds MUST be contained to areas marked by signs (and not on the dance floor, please!) Seriously. Electronic cigarettes are okay but open flames of any kind – camp stoves especially – are not allowed at your camp or anywhere else. See below for questions regarding cooking. It also strongly recommended that you bring a fire extinguisher with you, keep it visible and handy around your camp and know how to use it.
Meals, Cooking and Not Burying Us in Trash, Please!
We will be having a potluck on Friday evening, so please bring a dish to share. We also have a shared Saturday evening meal and a light breakfast on Saturday and Sunday morning. Please note that we make a real effort to accommodate different dietary preferences (vegetarian and vegan, for example), but we cannot guarantee that you will want to eat what we are serving, when we are serving it. Plan on bringing food to keep yourself nourished outside of posted meal times. We also provide an outdoors public kitchen for your use (NOT the kitchen in the main lodge which is off limits) A reminder that, if you’d like the meals we’ll be offering, you must bring your own plate, bowl, cup and utensils. This is to help us cut down on the excessive trash generated in years past. Finally, please pack out your own trash and recycling when you leave! Garbage bags and ziploc bags (for butts) will be provided. The idea here is to Leave No Trace. This is really important as when we don’t take our waste with us, we totally overwhelm their bins, dumpsters, etc., and we already bring extras…
Water and Hydration
It’s hot! Staying well-hydrated and cool is critical. So, remember your water bottle! Please note that, while there is drinkable water on site, it does have a high mineral content which makes it taste a little funky. Therefore we highly recommend that you bring your own drinking water. If you choose instead to drink the water on site, note that water coolers are available in all of the community areas (inside/outside the heart heart lodge and main lodge, and in the pool area) and outside each cabin for community use.
There are many water taps at Saratoga Springs. Potable water is available from all inside taps, and from clearly marked outside taps. We are using short white hoses marked “FnF Hydration” to fill the water cooler jugs. You are welcome to refill your personal water bottles and the community coolers from these as well. Water from taps inside the cabins and other buildings is potable. Water from spigots not marked “FnF Hydration” may be untreated. Obviously, please do not refill any shared water jug unless you are confident you are using potable water. Here are some other tips:
- Electrolytes! Especially when sweating and putting strain on your body, maintaining electrolyte balance is essential. We’ll have electrolyte-enhanced water available in a clearly marked cooler.
- Mist! Look for the misters for a refreshing cool-down.
- Ice! Ice will be sold from the ice shed (behind the main lodge area) at $5 per bag on the honor system. Please bring exact change. As long as everyone supports the honor system, we should have ice available throughout the event.
- Important: We are a large group and regularly strain the Saratoga Springs infrastructure. There is plenty of water for drinking, but PLEASE RESTRAIN USE OF WATER for showers, dish washing, toilet flushing, etc. This is especially important this year as the ground water table is very low.
No Glass or Other Junk Near or In The Pool!
Unlike the murky pond of yesteryear, we now get to luxuriate in the bright blue and clean waters of the very large pool. One important pool rule is NO GLASS any where near the pool. This means not only bottles but any and all glass including any blown glass you might have. We’ll have compostable cups on hand, etc., so no worry on going thirsty. Also, and this is VERY important, please don’t wear things like feathers or beads or sequins into the pool. They disintegrate and then badly clog the filter or worse damage the cleaning pump. PLEASE SHOWER before entering the pool.
M.O.L.D. – Ministry of Little Details.
The MOLD team is happy to make your weekend more comfortable by supplying items one may have forgotten to pack. You’ll find our treasures by the bathroom and shower areas. Feel free to share these items (for sanitary reasons keep that toothbrush or razor). For the safety of others, please do not remove the lights provided by MOLD in the portapotties. Enjoy your MOLD!
Kids and Pets
Please note that pets of all shapes and sizes are *not* allowed by our hosts. If you’d like to bring your kids to the campout we have some information for you and some requirements of you. Please see our Kids Page and follow the instructions there.
Enjoy Yourself Responsibly
Not everyone thinks like we do and, as a result, we and our hosts face potential liability should we all, as a group, fail to create a safe space during our time together. And make no mistake, that is what we want: to create a fundamentally safe, positive, healthy and sustainable physical and emotional environment for us to have great experiences in, together. Please help us achieve this vision – take care of yourself, take care of the people around you and take care of us and our hosts by enjoying yourselves responsibly. More the point, you must be responsible for yourself at all times! You must be aware of your own actions and surroundings at all times. If you are not, you and the whole community are at risk. We expect the highest standards of of behavior, awareness and consent from all attendees; no means no; silence means no; only a strong and enthusiastic yes means yes. We also recommend using the buddy system; make sure a friend knows where you are, and that you are all right. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any time, or if you are not sure you can be responsible for yourself, please speak to our Karma Patrol (bright pink shirts) or a Site Coordinator (brightly colored and illuminated vests).
Medical and Karma Patrol
While taking care of each other and ourselves is the bet way to keep everyone happy and healthy, we also have professional EMTs on duty 24 hours a day as well as professional counselors available during daylight hours and on call as needed. In addition to these medical professionals, we have a volunteer based “Karma Patrol” also on duty 24 hours a day. They are roaming the party and available to help out with any human situation that might arise as well as to help us take care of the facilities. Additionally, at all times, there are two people nominally “in charge” of the event and empowered to handle any serious situation. Here’s how to find these various folx:
- EMTs and Medical
The EMTs and medical service area can be found on the deck of the Heart Lodge as well as inside. These folx can handle minor medical issues and triage anything more serious. Anything truly serious will be handled by ambulance to a local hospital.
- Karma Patrol
Karma Patrollers can be identified by hot pink t-shirts labeled “Karma Patrol”. Please feel free ask them for help, that’s why they’re there!
- Site Coordinators (Officially “In Charge”)
Look for the brightly colored and illuminated vests. These folx can and will Get It Done. ASAP. Again, feel free to ask them for help or report to them anything amiss with people, equipment or facilities.
Carpool! Easy on the Road. Easy on the Neighbors!
The space is in Lake County which is generally quiet and home to many retirees. So it’s important that, as we come and go from the event, we not disturb the local residents. Specifically this means:
- Please, for the love of God, Carpool, Carpool, Carpool. Did I say Carpool?
- Drive the speed limit at all times and respect all signage.
- Don’t stop along the narrow roads and take pictures.
- When passing the neighbors at the entrance drive VERY slowly and show the utmost courtesy should you for some reason need to interact with them. Keep the car stereos OFF while passing the neighbors. The driveway is only 1/2 mile long so there’s no need to be in a hurry. Also, there’s lots of wildlife that will also benefit from slow speeds.
- Support the local economy by shopping in local stores!
No need to worry about any of this, but let’s be respectful of the fact that we’re in a small tight commmunity and we want to be good and courteous guests.
Make it Yours!
As always, this event is far more than the simple sum of its parts and it’s the creativity that YOU bring that puts it over the top. So please, feel free to contribute anything you’d like to: It is entirely appropriate to bring and display your art, put on an impromptu (or scheduled) performance, sing, dance, tell a story, whatever. Be yourself, that’s why we’re here!
Lastly, The Legal Stuff
Receipt of these instructions and your ticket indicates that you come on Saratoga Springs Retreat Center’s property at your own risk and accept full responsibility for being in wilderness conditions and further agree to hold harmless Ethan Miller, Adam Gould, Dan Gorelick, Friends and Family the organization, The California Foundation for the Advancement of the Electronic Arts, and the owners and employees of Saratoga Springs Retreat Center from any loss, damages to property, or injuries sustained at this event, including set up and tear down. (You’ll also be asked to sign a release to this effect upon your arrival.)
Cant wait to see you!