Frequently Asked Questions

A flashlight! It gets incredibly dark in the woods at night!

And dance clothes. And maybe a drum. And a yoga mat. And make-up. And a sleeping bag. And... Well, this is getting long, isn’t it? We suggest you take a look at this list, which is a lot more complete than we can fit here!

The nearest small town is 10-15 minutes from camp. The nearest town that has a variety of stores that are open often or late is Port Huron, which is 30 minutes from camp. Bring everything you think you’ll need.

A big part of the value of the retreat is the camaraderie and networking we all enjoy while hanging out with all our dance friends for the whole weekend. We want to make sure everyone who wants to attend for the whole weekend gets a chance to do so, and that they can attend all the classes they want.

The campground provides cabins for our dancers. Cabins each have 12 cots (though we try to limit occupancy to 6-7 in each) with mattresses. The cots can be pretty uncomfortable, so you may want to consider bringing a cot or inflatable mattress of your own. We really like this airbed because it’s inexpensive, durable, and it fills and deflates automatically. We use it whenever we travel.

Each cabin has a bathroom that has a shower with hot water and a commode. We will outfit each shower with a brand new shower curtain and bath mat for the event, but you still may want to consider bringing shower shoes.

The cabins are heated and have hot and cold running, potable well water.

As a general rule, we assign men and women into separate cabins. If you want a specific roommate or roommates, please be sure to request them when you register. We also have one or two couples’ cabins.

We start by putting everyone together based on roommate requests. If you have particular people or a group you would like to room with, please be sure to use the information form link on the registration page to let us know!

Once we’ve assigned cabins based on roommate requests, we fill them in with dancers who have not requested roommates. When we do this, we generally group people from the same area together, as much as we can.

When a cabin has 6-7 people in it, we stop assigning new people to it.

We plan meals with a thought to the nutritional needs of dancers working hard in workshops all weekend. Each meal provides healthy choices that will give you the energy you’ll need to keep going! We think it tastes pretty good too. (We’re working on the much requested Sacred Circles cookbook... stay tuned for more information!)

Coffee (regular and decaf), hot water, tea, and hot chocolate packets are available around the clock. We also provide bottled water in the cafeteria and workshop rooms.

We keep bowls of fruit and chocolates in the Dining Hall around the clock. (But why don’t dancers eat the M&M's?)

There are always plenty of options to satisfy most food needs for every meal, but if you have special food needs, please be sure to let us know about them! We're happy to accommodate special needs, but we need to know we need to do it ahead of time.

The second weekend of October in Michigan could bring just about anything. Since we’ve started the retreat, we’ve seen 40° and rainy and 80° and sunny. No matter how warm the days get, we’re right on the shore of Lake Huron and the nights get chilly. It’s best to prepare and pack for anything Michigan weather can throw at you.

Camp Cavell is a YWCA camp; the "Y" stands for "Youth" and the "C" stands for "Christian". It would be detrimental to the camp’s reputation to have pictures of a bunch of dancers carrying booze through the campground floating around the Internet. We love Camp Cavell! We don’t want that to happen!

Let’s use the "Las Vegas" rule: What happens in your cabins, stays in your cabins. Please be sure to take your empties home with you!

Camp Cavell is very kid-friendly; however, most of our dancers are here to focus on workshops and some have commented about how nice it is to "get away" for the weekend with their partners while taking the dance workshops. We don’t have staff available to entertain kids during workshops. We think the best camp experience can be had by all if we limit attendance to adults, or at least those who are old enough to attend the workshops.

If you’re interested in giving your kids the "camping in Michigan" experience, we highly recommend the Camp Cavell children’s weekend!

If anything goes awry and you need to contact someone to help, please:

  • First, try to find Tim or Krisztina. They will introduce themselves to you early and often. During the day, both can be found anywhere throughout the campground, but most often in the Lodge, Vending Area, Dining Hall, or somewhere in between them. After the day’s activities wind down, they’ll be in cabin North 8.
  • Find a camp employee. The most reliable places to do this are in the back room of the Kitchen / Dining Hall and in the office in the Lodge.

Camp Cavell is pretty far out there. It is unlikely that you’ll get a US cell phone connection, but you may sometimes get a Canadian one. Be prepared for a weekend free from your cell phone!

If you absolutely must connect, Wi-Fi is available in the Lodge and possibly the Dining Hall. Camp Cavell posts connection information where Wi-Fi is available.

If you’re the type to leave emergency contact information with people, the most reliable phone number is the Camp Cavell land line, which is (810) 359-2267.

They’re like you!

Yeah, it’s called "dance camp". But really it’s "people camp" where all the people happen to be dancers or musicians or both.

Maybe it’s the campground. Maybe it’s the tribal dancers & tribal spirit. Maybe it’s all the good things Camp Cavell has done for people for over 100 years running. Maybe it’s all of that put together. Whatever it is, something about Sacred Circles at Camp Cavell brings out the happy and friendly in people, and that’s why we do it.

Ditch your shell. Meet. Mingle. Share ideas. Exchange phone numbers. Friend each other on Facebook.


Camp Cavell is a campground out in the middle of the woods on a great lake. You’re smack dab in the middle of “up north”, Michigan. That means leaves, spiders and other bugs, raccoons, squirrels, bats, birds, all manner of things (but we haven’t encountered any coyotes, wolves, or bear yet).

If you bring food, make sure it’s sealed really well, even if you leave it in your cabin. And please don’t kill the spiders! They eat mosquitoes!

Camp Cavell is nestled back in the woods, right on the beach. As you leave the main road, you’ll wind your way (slowly!) through some trees and emerge facing the camp’s Lodge and Lake Huron.

Please drive right up to the Lodge and go into its main entrance. There, you’ll find someone to greet you at our registration desk. We’ll offer you your Sacred Circles SWAG, answer any questions you have, and direct you to your cabin. Quite often, someone will be available to escort you to your cabin if you would like.

Please make sure you remember where the Lodge is since all the dance classes are there and how to get to the Dining Hall since that’s where all the food is!

The cabins are a bit rustic, but they do have furnaces, electricity, hot and cold water, and washrooms with commodes, sinks, and showers.

If you’re the first into your cabin, please verify that the lights work, that the hot water is hot, and that the furnace runs and produces hot air. We always check all the cabins before anyone arrives, but it’s possible for things to stop working in the interim. If anything seems amiss, please head back to the registration desk in the Lodge right away to let us know what’s broken!

The cabins theoretically hold 12 people, but understanding how dancers’ bags tend to explode everywhere, we try to limit occupancy to 6 or fewer. We do our best to assign people into cabins together who have asked to room with each other. Please make sure you make your roommate request when registering. If you forgot to do that, please reach out to us on our Facebook group or via email. After honoring roommate requests, we typically fill cabins out the rest of the way based on geographical proximity.

You and your cabin mates may rearrange the cots and decorate however you see fit.

All meals are served in the Dining Hall. Meals are served buffet-style. Generally we form a line starting near the back of the dining hall, near the fireplace, and wind our way past the buffet tables. Like any similar event, the later you arrive, the longer you can expect to stand in line. Unlike some similar events, the kitchen staff constantly replenishes the food, so it’s all fresh and hot when you get it.

Most of the food served is made from scratch from favorite recipes we’ve collected over the years. Eat adventurously!

After eating, there’s a spot right inside the kitchen doors on the right to drop your plate and utensils so the kitchen staff can run them through their dishwasher.

If you have special dietary needs, please let Tim and Krisztina know right now. Don’t wait until camp starts; that will be too late for camp to buy anything special they need! The time to tell us is now. Please remember to list your special food needs when you register or reach out to us on our Facebook group or via email to let us know ahead of time.

There we have it! Now that you’ve made us aware of your special food needs, the camp will magically have food ready for you with every meal!

If you are vegetarian, vegan, and/or gluten-free, simply line up in the buffet line. Options for you will be clearly labeled.

If you have any other dietary needs, please talk to the kitchen staff to get your meal.

If you ever have any questions about any of the food, please ask the camp kitchen staff. They’re always in the kitchen and are very friendly and helpful!

We provide a variety of snacks around the clock during Sacred Circles. Snacks are on a table in the Dining Hall between the washrooms and the kitchen entrance. Typically we offer a variety of fruits, candy, chips, hard boiled eggs, string cheese, and whatever else looks interesting as we do our last-minute shopping.

We also provide a variety of beverages. Bottled water is always available in the Dining Hall near the snacks and in the main room in the Lodge. Hot beverages – coffee, tea, and often hot chocolate – are available in the far corner of the Dining Hall.

Please feel free to help yourself a snack or beverage any time, day or night.

But also please remember to bring the camp’s mugs back to the kitchen frequently. Our weekend tribe is big enough that we run the camp out of them if people leave them in their cabins.

Vendors may arrive and set-up any time beginning Thursday afternoon. You’ll find them in the back room of the Lodge, in the area behind the stage. Please use the outside door to access this area during classes and during the Saturday evening Hafla. Vendors are required to be closed during the Friday show.

Massage appointments tend to fill quickly. If you plan to visit our massage therapist, we recommend you book your appointment early.

You don’t need to do or carry anything special to attend the dance classes; you just need to register with the all-access pass and then show up!

We schedule 15 minute breaks between classes to give people a chance to shop, chat, or just catch their breath. Feel free to arrive to your class’s location up to 15 minutes before class starts.

Friday night’s show is every bit as formal as we’re inclined to be in a giant log cabin on a beach in the woods way up north in Michigan, so not very formal. We invite past, present, and scheduled future teachers at Sacred Circles events to perform in the Friday night Tribal Reflections show.

The main room in the Lodge will be closed from about dinner time until about half an hour before show time so we can set up for the show. Vendors will be closed during the Friday show.

Food and beverages will be available after the show and, weather permitting, there will be a campfire, too.

Saturday night’s Hafla starts out with a handful of acts who’ve asked to perform beforehand (please do this via our Hafla page) or who’ve met during Sacred Circles this year and want to demonstrate the awesomeness of ATS® by dancing together out of the blue (with extra zagareets awarded for doing this to live music – just ask, they’ll play).

Following a handful of numbers to recorded music, we’ll all clear the room of chairs and participate in the ATS® Flash Mob. After that, we’ll ask our musicians to perform live music for us to dance to and, weather permitting, we’ll have a camp fire, too.

Food and beverages will be available during the Hafla. Each vendor may choose to be open or closed during the Hafla.