Can I participate in the talent show?

The talent show is open to anybody who wants to get up and tell jokes, perform a quick skit, a song, a poem, or somehow entertain us. We have a strict rule that each performer MUST stick within a five minute time frame. We need to give everybody time to perform.

What happens in the opening circle?

The opening circle serves a couple of purposes. First, it is a chance to go over a little “business”. We introduce the members of the Organizing Committee so that guys know who to go to with issues/problems/questions. We talk about the campground rules and boundaries, info on respecting personal boundaries (personal space), and explain a bit about what to expect over the weekend. Once we have taken care of business, we move into a “check-in” of sorts. This is where we go around the circle, and each man can “check-in” in terms of where he is from, why he is there and what he hopes to get out of the weekend. Some of the regulars will say a little about what has been happening in their lives. If you are planning to give a workshop, you also have a chance to talk briefly about it to encourage others to attend. We always start out and end with a brief song.

What happens in the closing circle?

At the start of the closing circle we have a chance to thank all of the men who led workshops, helped with the talent show (performers and setup crew) and recognize all of the men whose contributions are very important to the continued success of MMG. Once we have completed this part of the closing circle, we go around the circle and offer a minute for each man to talk a little about the weekend and what it meant to him. As we do this we pass around a memory book for people to jot down thoughts about the weekend. As each man talks he takes a piece of bread from a loaf that is passed around, and holds it while he talks. Once he is finished he can eat the bread. This is very symbolic and traditional, and represents the brotherhood of the circle as we break bread together. We then have a closing song, and all pitch in to clean up the camp!

Who is in charge here? What’s the history?

This is a twice-a-year, participant-led gathering. The Organizing Committee (the OC) maintains a framework for the weekend, but not the content. Each participant brings his talents, his interests and concerns into the framework to keep that content rich and fresh. We are all co-creating this weekend together. Whether we are offering a workshop, attending one, or just de-compressing, we are MMG. MMG started in 1989 as a spin-off of Mainely Men, a semi-annual gathering in Maine that couldn’t accommodate all the out-of-staters who wished to attend.

Who can come to MMG?

We are happily married husbands, widowers, men still smarting from divorce, gay men, gay couples, and confirmed bachelors. We are lawyers and carpenters, software engineers, therapists, graphic designers, professional entertainers, healthcare workers and students. We are retired, unemployed, and thrilled to get away for 48 hours from the pressures of our stressful jobs.

MMG is inclusive of all men, regardless of their race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, age, or religion.

What will happen?

Friday afternoon registration opens around 4 pm.

A light meal will be available starting at 6 pm. At 8 we gather to formally begin the weekend with Opening Circle, consisting of low-key welcome ritual, orientation, and announcements. Here each man has a chance to introduce himself to the group. Workshop leaders make pitches for their offerings. An hour or so after Opening Circle, options for each of the four workshop slots will have been posted, and sign-ups for those sessions will have begun. Keep checking the tables with workshop listings during the course of the weekend because workshops with low enrollments may be cancelled while new workshops are often added. Weather conditions may cause a change in workshop location (like moving outdoors). Workshop presenters should see Wayne Williams about special space, heating, privacy or time slot requests.

During Saturday there are 3 optional workshop/playshop sessions with 2 or more choices in each slot. Before lunch there’s the optional Town Meeting (status report from OC and group input to planned changes) and taking of a group photo. After lunch, there are a couple of hours of free time. Saturday night right after a family-style served dinner we treat ourselves to an evening of open-mic entertainment. After the talent show there is both drumming and dancing and movement to recorded music usually in the talent show area.

Sunday morning brings a final round of workshops, Closing Circle, lunch and camp clean-up.

What are the rules?

  1. No smoking anywhere in Camp Joslin.
  2. No alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, pets or weapons.
  3. No skinny-dipping or nudity outdoors.
  4. Current agreement with camp forbids swimming, boating… any use of the pond
  5. Please arrive for workshops as close to on time as possible. Coming in late disrupts the bonding and safety-establishment process. If you decide not to go to a workshop you’ve signed up for, remember to cross your name off the list.
  6. Display material related to other men’s activities/issues/events on designated table in the dining hall. Each gathering we have an Expo, an exhibit space for art, pictures, or samples of interests that reveal your non-MMG side. Don’t leave behind anything at the end of the weekend that may disturb young campers or their parents.
  7. Cars must be parked outside Dining Hall, not by your cabin (disability exception)

What should I bring?

  • Pillow and sleeping bag or sheets and blanket.
  • Flashlight (indispensable at Joslin).
  • Warm clothing and raingear (indispensable at Joslin).
  • Shaving kit, towel, meds, etc.
  • Any musical instruments you play (sheet music).
  • Drums (if you want to participate in drumming circles).
  • Information about men’s issues and resources you may want to share.
  • Talent show props.
  • CDs with accompaniment music for talent show or dance mixes.
  • Fathers, Sons, Brothers, Sons-in-law, Friends.
  • Snacks to share after the talent show on Saturday night!

Please do not bring:

  • Alcohol.
  • Controlled substances.
  • Pets.
  • Weapons.
  • Consider giving yourself a vacation from all electronics!

Where do I park my car?

There is a parking lot at the end of the camp entrance road, directly behind the dining hall. You can drive to your cabin to unload your gear, but then you must return your car to the parking lot.

Where do I sleep?

Please check in with the Registrar before claiming any bed/room.  We are bunking in several areas. The biggest- the Senior Division – sleeps eighteen arranged in units of four, or so, divided by half walls.  “The Suites” has three rooms, each with four beds and a bath. The adjacent bedroom bathroom/kitchen suite (which we call “The Elbow Room”) may not be used for sleeping. The Nurse’s Cabin, the closest to the dining hall, is reserved for those with special needs.  While the cabins are unheated, most men can adapt to conditions. The campground is in the process of adding central heat to both the Suites and Senior Division. If need be, a sleeper could bring a mattress to the dining hall, which is heated (and air conditioned).  Particularly at Senior Division, be considerate about talking/making noise when others are resting or sleeping.  Politely invite noise-makers to take their conversation outside.

Due to camp regulations, all cabins are closed until 4 pm. Any time after 4 pm you can choose a place to bunk for the weekend, and unload your stuff. You can drive to the cabin to unload your gear, but you must immediately return your car to the parking lot for the weekend.

Because the Suites have become very popular with a number of men, we have begun a program where men can reserve these rooms for a very small fee, as long as they register and send full payment in advance. Complete details are in the brochure.

Where are the showers/toilets?

Each the sleeping cabins has toilets, hot/cold running water and showers.

How can I let other men know that I want to start a group or become part of a group?

In addition to the workshops, many other networking opportunities exist. Affinity groups – small informal meetings of men who share a common interest (twelve-step, healthy eating support, incest survivors, etc) – can be formed by announcing your desire to connect with other interested men around a particular issue during Opening Circle or during the short announcement times during meals. Affinity groups meet whenever and wherever group members agree to meet – at a particular table at a particular meal, during free time, etc.

Other guys prefer deep one-on-one conversations with old or new-found friends sipping coffee or walking the trail around the 22-acre pond. For continuing support after the gathering and to avoid post-MMG letdown/depression, some participants create men’s groups that start at MMG and meet in their local areas throughout the year. It’s wise to repeat where you’re from in both the Opening and Closing Circles and to note the names of men who live near you. Connect faces with names and contact info on the Preliminary Participant List, which is available at the registrar’s desk.

How can I help in creating the next MMG?

MMG runs as smoothly as it does because of the men who help in many behind-the-scenes service tasks to their brothers — from mailing out hundreds of brochures to setting up the lights for the talent show. At closing circle, there will be a call for volunteers for various committees for the next MMG. To join a specific committee, just ask the men who currently are on those committees. You may also approach any member of the MMG Organizing Committee with questions or concerns. These men will identify themselves at the event.