Details about the Chautauqua

The menu will consist of simple vegetarian meals (i.e. spaghetti, burritos, pizza, etc.) from the first night's dinner through breakfast on the final day. We provide some dairy and wheat-free alternatives, but you should plan to pack extra food if you have special dietary needs.

No lunches or snacks are provided. Plan to bring one cardboard or plastic box (NO paper bags) of non-perishable foods, plus one small box or cloth grocery bag size carrier for perishables, of lunch and snack foods for your family. A space will be provided in the lodge for snack boxes – refrigeration space is limited, so please respect our container size request. Please label your food boxes.

To keep the cost of the conference to a minimum and to contribute to the conference's cooperative spirit, we require that everyone age 9 and older take turns cooking and cleaning up after meals. We also need your help on the final day clean-up. Sign-us will be on site.

Please bring your own mug to use for coffee, snack, beverages, etc. We are not permitted to remove Westwind glasses and mugs from the dining/kitchen area.

Alcohol, when used in moderation by persons 21 years of age and older, is permitted. Adults may include beer or wine in their snack/lunch boxes if they wish.

Participant-led activities are one of the mainstays of the Chautauqua experience. Each family (adults and/or children) are asked to lead a workshop, activity or discussion. This could be anything – including art and craft projects, games, drama activities, sand play, hikes, significant books or learning materials – whatever you think would be fun. We also need people to lead campfire singing, folk dancing, storytelling, or other evening activities. Please let us know what you will be contributing on the Chautauqua Housing & Workshop Questionnaire.

Some examples of workshops that have been led in the past include: Ultimate Frisbee, talent show, Connect Four tournament, hike to High Meadow, softball, sandcastle building, knitting, fire building, sing-a-long, massage, curriculum in homeschooling discussion, ghost stories, kickball, hula hooping, adult homeschoolers discussion, knot tying, capture the flag, bubbles, and much much more!

If you are feeling overwhelmed about leading your own workshop, you can partner up with another family and lead one together.  If you have any questions feel free to email 

If you play a musical instrument and would like to accompany singing at the campfire, or just provide us with some musical enjoyment, we would love to have you bring your guitars and other instruments. (Please be sure to pack instruments so they are protected from the weather and sand.)

It can get very warm, very cold, or very rainy at a moment's notice. Children seem to require many extra sets of clothing, particularly pants, as clothing rarely dries once wet. Come prepared. You will, however, want to balance this against having to carry your belongings from the lodge to your cabin (uphill), so bring the necessities packed for easy carrying. (A tractor will carry gear from the river to the lodge.)

Your belongings may be exposed to rain on the river crossing. If your luggage is not waterproof, please bring large, heavy-duty plastic bags to cover it. Food should be packed in cardboard boxes, plastic containers, or cloth food bags. NO paper grocery bags; they disintegrate when wet.

Mark each bag or box with your name. Duct tape and permanent markers work well.

Suggested Equipment List:
* Shorts, pants, shirts, sweaters/sweatshirt
* Warm coat and hat, rain gear
* Good walking shoes, beach shoes, slip-on shoes or sandals for the dining room
* Bathing suit (for fun on the beach - no swimming)
* Undergarments, socks, warm sleep wear
* Toilet articles (there are showers and flush toilets)
* Warm sleeping bag or warm blankets, pillow (optional sheet to cover mattress)
* Towels
* Flashlight or battery lantern (most cabins have lights and heat, but not all)
* Sunscreen
* Large garbage bags to cover gear
* Sand toys
* Games
* Books
* Mug for each person
* Lunches and snacks
* Supplies for your activity or workshop

Shoes (or sandals) must be worn at all times in the kitchen and dining room, and are strongly recommended whenever hiking around camp.

You are responsible for your own child(ren) at all times. Parents are welcome to share supervising responsibilities with other parents or with mature, responsible older teens. Do not let your children leave the main camp area unaccompanied by you.

Westwind is a forested Oceanside retreat. With its beauty comes the dangers of such a location such as roots, cliffs, water, etc. Please find the Safety Tips (Westwind Guidelines) handout on the website. Please read this through carefully so you know what will be expected of us during our stay at Westwind.

Please pick up and dispose of litter. We also ask that you keep your belongings tidy in the lodge and porch area, and that you clean up after yourself (and your children) for lunch and snacks. We want to keep the camp a pleasant environment for us all.

Individuals are welcome to bring their own boats (canoes, kayaks, etc.) at your OWN RISK. The river is swift, particularly when the tide changes. Bring a lock and be prepared for paddling in a current.

Day 1
We envision our first day as a time of orientation, relaxation, friend-making and playing. We will have a general group meeting at some point during the afternoon. The exact time will be posted at the front of the lodge after we arrive.

Days 2, 3 & 4
There will be times for visiting with each other, tide pool exploration, hiking, sand castle building, thoughts on homeschooling, and more. Our schedule will be planned to accommodate the interests of our group and the schedule of the Westwind staff. You can participate in as much or as little as you want.

Final Day
Our final meal together will be an early brunch on the last day. Everyone will pitch in to clean the site before heading home. There will be a sign-up sheet for jobs on site.

Hopefully, the last day will also afford more time for visiting and relaxation.

Evenings are a good time to schedule workshops for singing, folk dancing, story telling, campfires and more…