Labor Day 2017

Annual Labor Day Family Gathering

At the Ashokan Center,
Olivebridge, NY

Septmber 1st – September 4th, 2015 
With Carl Big Heart 

(arrive anytime throughout, as your schedule permits)

Wednesday (8/30): Community Camp Building Day

Thursday (8/31): Community Camp Building Day
Friday evening (9/1): Opening Ceremony
Saturday and Sunday (9/2 & 3): Sweat Lodges
Monday (9/4): Closing Ceremony & Camp Breakdown

* Sweat Lodges * Moon Lodge * Pipe Ceremonies * Primitive Skills * Classes * Activities and Skills for Teens, Children and Adults * Women’s Teachings * Raffle * Wooded Camping * Communal Meals * Clans

Through the gracious efforts of Ashokan Center Staff and members of our community, this year we are returning once again to the land and forest we have been holding ceremony in together for the past many years. Join us for a beautiful long weekend being together in ceremony, classes, and working together to create a community rooted in our Big Hearts. Come as early as Wednesday noon and stay until the camp is broken down on Monday, or come for any part of the camp.
There will be Inipi Sweat Lodge Ceremonies poured by Carl Big Heart on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Together in service we build and prepare the camp (Wednesday & Thursday)
Wednesday afternoon a small circle gathers informally to prepare the space. Bring food to share for a pot luck that evening.

Thursday morning at 9:30am, in ceremony we will light the community fire: launching the community and camp building day.  Bring a bag lunch, and then we will share the evening meal which will be provided through the gifted time and love of volunteer chefs.

The Opening Circle, welcoming everyone to the camp, is Friday evening after dinner. The closing circle is Monday noon, followed by lunch.
 Our community works together to prepare and serve meals to everyone starting Friday morning.


There are many opportunities to volunteer and lean in with us to help bring this year’s camp to life. From cooking soups ahead of time, to leading a meal-prep or clean-up clan – if you can offer volunteer support in other ways on Wednesday, Thursday, Monday, or throughout the weekend, please contact  Those who can stay into the afternoon on Monday to help with camp breakdown are very appreciated.


Some beautiful thought and planning has gone into how the clans will be a part of our camp this year. If you’re interested to learn more, please click here and take a look. If you already have a strong sense of which clan you or members of your family might want to join, you can let us know and we can connect you with the clan leader ahead of time to get the energy building.

Classes & Workshops:

Each morning classes and special activities will be offered for all ages. If you have skills/crafts/games to share with kids, teens or adults, please contact Darrell at 585-507-1551, or


There will be a raffle to help offset the expenses of putting together a camp of this size. We are asking for people to bring one or two quality items to donate to this purpose. Personally handcrafted items of quality and beauty are especially appreciated.

Big Heart Family Album:

We have started a Big Heart Family Album at the raffle tent.  Please consider printing out some of your photos from past gatherings so they can be added. Scrap-booking supplies will be available.  If you have questions please contact Mary at

Registration, Camping/Housing & Fees: CLICK HERE

Because of other bookings on the Ashokan Center campus this year, our group will not have access to the dorms. If you don’t feel able to camp in the Pine Grove, you can research for other motels and bed & breakfasts in the area.

Getting to the Gathering: 

There are a variety of directions and transportation options provided at this link.

What to bring: 

*tent* sleeping bag* sleeping pads*pillow* personal items* toiletries* towels (extra towels for sweat lodge)*single sheet if sleeping in dorm beds* 1or 2 camp chairs* food from grocery list (see meals and kitchen info) * personal eating plates , bowls cups, utensils*drinking water (1 gallon/day/per person)* 2 additional gallons of water to donate to the sweat lodge* large cooler(s) with extra ice for the kitchen* flashlights and lanterns with 2 extra batteries* a mixture of warm and cool weather clothing* women: a dress where shoulders, knees and breasts are covered (a dress or skirt is worn in the moon lodge as well) *musical instruments, if desired* items to donate to raffle* extra money for auction/raffle* material fees for workshops that may require them* crafts, games and skills to share with others*

Community Meals and Kitchen Information:  

Please Bring:
*Groceries* (the grocery requests are significantly different this year so please check the link).
*Your own cup, mug, eating utensils, plate and bowl (these will not be supplied by the camp)
*Large coolers with extra ice (to be used in the kitchen)

About Carl Big Heart:

Carl Big Heart is an elder among us who chooses repeatedly to live his life in service to the spiritual needs of several communities, ours included. He reminds us that the altar is within and that we are all called to love. He pours sweat lodge and holds sacred space in many teaching circles. His life includes an offering of service to the spiritual healing and liberation of us all.



Carl Big Heart works by donation. Please, let us together support the important and valuable work of our elders by being as generous as we can. Donations for the gathering itself are also requested to help offset expenses for firewood, supplies, etc.

What Not To Bring:

No alcohol or illegal drugs are permitted on the land. Pets are are not allowed on campus.
No Firearms

Some Words About Preparing for Ceremony: