November 13, 2013
The Common Ground Center is a non-profit arts, education, and outdoor recreation retreat center located in Starksboro, Vermont. Its main focus is in creating a range of activities for families to enjoy together in a healthy and sustainable environment. The owners, husband and wife, Peg Kamens and Jim Mendell also put a strong emphasis on the food which is healthy and vegetarian.
It started in 1994 and since then has expanded to include various programs such as “Overcoming Barriers,” a high conflict divorce camp which offers support to children from divorced families and attempts to repair the relationships with psycho-education and also offers traditional camp activities like yoga and hiking.
Camp Common Ground takes place during four weeks of the summer, so families have the option of choosing any one of those. A typical day at the camp starts with fair-trade coffee and yoga and time for children and adults to pursue their own activities. The afternoons provide a chance to play all inclusive camp games and also the choice of “doing nothing” and just relaxing in a hammock or enjoying the scenery. The evenings are filled with special activities from African dancing to singing around the campfire.
The Common Ground facility has been planned in “harmony with the natural surroundings” in order to leave the smallest possible footprint. Its design facilitates solar light and natural cooling, solar panels proved 100 percent of the energy. The buildings are placed on the edge of fields preserving open spaces and they have recycled doors and windows.
The vegetarian diet at the camp is made with local and organic foods promoting local sourcing. It offers a wide variety, including baked pizza which is made in a camper built brick oven on site. Camp Common Ground also offers cooking classes on how to make these vegetarian dishes and advice on how to lead a vegetarian lifestyle if you wish to learn. They strive to keep the experience diverse with meals like “vegetarian chinese food” during Chinese Culture Weekend.
The site is also available for rental and many weddings have been celebrated there. The Eco-Lodge which is the only building available during the winter has hosted many intimate weddings. The lodge was built with natural materials found on site and can host up to 31 guests over night.
For more information on programs or to schedule a visit you may contact their offices: (802)-453-2592 or e-mail them here.
Photo Credit: Common Ground Center