The Village Helix is a gathering of people who are interested in the arts and crafts, science and spirituality that lie at the center of the challenge to recreate sustainable community at the village scale. We come together to learn, to teach, to share and to support each other in the quest to master old skills and new ways.
Hosted by the Windward Education and Research Center, the gathering happens each year in the Windward Center's campground which lies north of the Columbia River, east of Portland, Oregon, and near the Klickitat River.
The event site is a mixed-conifer forest where wetland Douglas firs compete with dryland Ponderosa pines and ancient Garry oaks bear witness to the endless dance.
We come together because creating a critical mass of sustainable skills requires a broad community of arts and crafts. And so we join together to learn almost-forgotten skills and newly-learned ways that we can take back to our home communities to help our neighbors and ourselves weather the coming storms of change.
If you want to camp-out (with a contained play area set up for little ones so you can relax), eat good food, learn, and experience Windward's approach to sustainable community, we invite you to contact us about the Village Helix.
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For a list and descriptions of the workshops, presentations and children's activities for this year's Village Helix check out the workshops page.
Various kinds of participatory entertainment will be held on some of the evenings of the event. Folks from Windward will perform classic tunes and home-spun songs. There will be opportunities for drumming, dancing, campfire tales and games for the kids. If you have a simple sing-along song or a drum you would like to bring, please do.
The Village Helix is all about the free exchange of ideas and knowledge. For all those book worms out there, you are invited to bring books of all sorts to swap with others at the event. Of particular interest will be reliable resources on topics relating to traditional skills, crafts, sustainability, and intentional community.
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Timing and Site Access
The Windward Center is opening its 40 acre campground for a full 10 days for the Village Helix: from Friday June 29th to Sunday July 8th.
Workshops and seeded-potluck meals will be focused during the weekend of June 29th-July 1st. During the following week folks are invited to camp-out and explore the surrounding areas, continue to learn about life at Windward, or just enjoy a relaxing get-away in a beautiful stewardship forest.Another round of workshops may be arranged for the second weekend (July 6th-8th) if there is significant enough interest in doing so. This is still to be determined.
Participants who would like to arrive before or stay after the event are invited to do so. There are a lot of interesting things to do in the area, such as visiting the largest telescope open to the public in the US, kayaking or fishing the wild and scenic Klickitat River, climbing Mt. Adams, and hiking the Klickitat Trail. We want to help facilitate those who are coming from a distance and want to make their stay worth the drive. For details and reservations contact us.
Food and Meals
Much of the gathering will center around food: growing it, preserving it, preparing it, and enjoying it. Food is a way for us to bond, and a ritual that used to be celebrated more in societies past.
Since food is so central to the purposes of the Helix, we are asking each person attending the gathering to work with a small crew of Windward members to help prepare and serve one of the 4 seeded-potluck meals provided for in the admission cost. For those who are particularly interested in the food preperation component of the gathering are welcome to help out with more than one meal! Just let us know so we can plan ahead.
Food is so important, we gave it it's own page! Visit our meals page to find out more about what we you should plan for.
Water and Facilities
Water is available at various places throughout the camping area, so you do not need to bring all that you need. But do bring whatever water storage containers you require.
Private showers are available. Vault toilets with are located throughout the campground.
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As well as being an opportunity for Windward to open its doors to the public to come and learn, the Village Helix is an event to raise funds to help the Windward Center continue its ongoing internship programs for people wanting to gain hands-on experience within a living sustainable community.
Costs for attending the gathering are as follows:
- $10 per adult per day (ages 11 and up)
- $5 per child (ages 6 through 11)
- free for children five and under.
A "day" constitutes an overnight stay from noon-noon the next day, or if you attend for just a portion of a single day.
For those who wish to make a larger contribution, or to donate in-kind services or items of particular use to the community and its efforts, you can contact us about what you have to offer.
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The Village Helix is held at the Windward Community's 40 acre campground and surrounding Windward property. The site is located in the Pacific Northwest only a few hours drive from major cities in Washington and Oregon.
If you prefer to find directions for yourself, here is the address of the site:
Klickitat, WA 98628
If not, driving directions for folks coming from the North, East and West are available Here.
Given the rising importance of making travel energy efficient, we want to encourage people to ride out together. As this develops ride-shares will be posted on our Ride Share page.
If you're interested in car pooling to the Village Helix, let us know at windward(@)gorge.net , and we'll add you to the list. If you're interested in one of the rides listed, let us know and we'll get you in contact with the driver.
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If you are interested in joining us at the Village Helix, or would like some more information, Please send a note of interest to windward(@)gorge(dot)net. To help ensure we get your email, please include Ping! in the subject line.
Reservations are not required to attend; however, we would greatly appreciate getting a note from anyone who is interested in attending. This is especially true for anyone who will be unable to attend this year, but who would like to attend in the future‒we want to factor in your thoughts and interests too.
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The annual Washington-wide fire ban goes into effect on the first of July. Washington law allows for campfires on Friday and Saturday, June 29th and 30th, but starting on the first of July, campers will need to be prepared to use UL approved propane appliances for cooking. Propane lanterns can be used, but aren't really necessary since it won't get dark until after 10 PM.
Medication and Refrigeration
If you need to refrigerate you medications, please let us know so we can make the necessary arrangements for you.
We will have limited space for refrigerating perishables food items. So please plan on bringing ice packs, coolers, etc to meet your needs in this respect.
Alcohol and Tobacco
For those who want to bring alcohol, we ask that you store and handle it in such a way as to ensure minors do not have access to it.
We ask that tobacco smokers be courteous to others in your choice of times and places to smoke. Please respect other peoples preferences of not being subjected to second-hand smoke. Since we are in a fire prone area, and conditions will likely be dry during the event, we ask that you smoke on gravel roads or in areas devoid of leaf litter that could catch fire. Do no litter the ground with your butts, put your cigarettes out well on a non-flammable surface and place them in the garbage.
Hunting and shooting practice are strictly prohibited on Windward property during the event.
Vehicle Access and Parking
Unless you are physically handicapped, we ask people to park their cars and stick to walking during the event. Some parking spaces are available next to campsites, once those spots are filled, vehicles will need to be parked in the designated central parking area.
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