October 27th, 2008


Another wonderful Dance Camp

This weekend was the LCFD gender-role-free dance camp. I as well as just about the rest of the 120 or so people had a wonderful time. Our Contra Dance caller was Lisa Greenleaf with the incredibly lively and musical The Groovemongers as our band. We also had Michael Cicone calling English Country Dance and Art Sullivan teaching two step. The weather was rainy from Saturday afternoon through Saturday night which put a crimp on those who wanted to go boating or swimming - I don't know if anyone did and the nighttime campfire was in a fireplace in the dining hall. There was lots and lots of contra dancing so I was completely beat at the end of Sunday afternoon and am still slightly wiped out so I skipped the gym today.

We had about 10 new people and the rest were returns. Our dance community is a pretty special set of people. It is so nice to gather and dance with old and new friends each time - some I see at our regular JP dances and occasionally when we visit the NYC or Montague dances and others it's just this twice a year thing.

In addition to contra dancing we always some English Country Dance and something else which this time was two-step there is lots of socializing, snacking, decorative name button making, gossiping and then there is the Variety Show. Sunday morning English is a special event and I wear white gloves for it - sometimes everyone wears pearls. I usually perform in the Variety show. I like to teach something "useful" - this time I taught everyone how to see stars with ersatz telescopes even though the sky was completely overcast.

This dance camp was in the Chimney Corners YMCA camp in Becket Mass, the site of many of our dance camps. From 1992 to 2003 it was there twice a year. The Y management then decided to not have outside groups so we had to find other places (I was the head of the search committee and visited about 20 sites). We found several other suitable ones and tried them out (two of which changed their rental policies so we couldn't go back). This Y's management and rental policy changed and - now we alternate between this place and another Y camp in Connecticut.

I'm the treasurer and I won't know how well we did for a few days after cancellations are processed (we have a very liberal policy) - I had anticipated a small loss and I think the loss will be a bit less than I'd thought. Most of the time we make a profit so there's no financial risk. We have an elaborate pricing structure with work exchange rates, early registration discount and late registration surcharge and a scholarship fund as well.

May 1-3 is the next camp and our San Francisco counterparts are having one in April to which we'll go. And then next fall will be the 20th anniversary camp for which we are about to begin planning.

Cambridge GLBT Commission

On Wednesday night (Oct 22) the Cambridge GLBT Commission, the Mayor's office, and the Welcoming Families unit of the public schools hosted a GLBT Town Meeting in City Hall. We started off with short speeches - by Mayor Simmons (African American lesbian), by Sue Hyde (NLTGF honcho and an activist in GLBT happenings in Cambridge), and me (co-chair of the Commission). Then we broke up into 7 sessions each with a facilitator (one of the Commissioners) and listened to the participants speaking about what they think are the important GLBT issues in Cambridge. After the breakout sessions we reconvened and each facilitator presented a summary of what was talked about.

The next night was a regularly scheduled Commission meeting where we discussed some of the findings. Now come the hard part - how to get some of our recommendations turned into reality. This means working with the City Council, the City Manager, the School Committee, and the School Superintendent. One of our recommendations is to hire an Executive Director (the Ordinance that governs our Commission allows for one) so that they'll be more than just volunteers doing the work. Meanwhile work goes on. Tomorrow I'm meeting with the MIS and Public Information staff to get some web pages established on the city web site to be maintained by us. (I did this once before when I was a member of the Library 21 Committee (planning for a major library expansion which is now underway). And there's lots more...