Childcare Information: Brother Sun for Boys Ages Five through Ten (5-10)

Boys Childcare Information and Guidelines

The following provides information and registration materials for Brother Sun Boys Childcare for boys ages five through ten. Please read the information carefully and send in the Registration Form and Waiver of Liability postmarked by July 20th to register your child(ren) for Brother Sun. If you do not pre-register your child by the July 20th postmark date he will not be able to participate in Brother Sun or attend the Festival with you.

Brother Sun sign Using our experience and your feedback we have thoughtfully planned how our childcare areas are organized. We have created the three different childcare areas to provide care for our children and to support the womyn-only environment of the Festival. Please respect and participate in these organizational efforts so that we can continue to provide safe, secure and fun childcare for our wonderful, growing number of children. We appreciate your support and cooperation as we continue to define and develop the different childcare areas. Your participation in making this week a good experience for the children, complete with a positive understanding of the value of womyn's space, is important to the fabric of community that we build each year, and the values that we teach our children during this time. Our childcare areas get better each year because of input we receive from Moms, so get involved and let us know what you think!

Children's Ticket Information
There is a separate ticket fee for children aged three to sixteen and there is no additional fee for childcare or for Brother Sun outings and field trips. (See ticket information for prices.) Your child is not automatically registered for childcare when you purchase their ticket – you must fill out and return the childcare registration form postmarked by July 20th to complete the registration process. We can only provide childcare for those who are pre-registered by the July 20th postmark, and we realize snafus happen in the mail occasionally. To safeguard against this we strongly recommend that you mail your registration via the U.S. Postal service with a certificate of mailing. Bring this certificate along with a copy of your registration to Brother Sun and in the unlikely event that your registration never reaches us, this receipt will show us that you mailed your registration by the July 20th postmark. Your copy can then serve as your registration. The cost for this is approximately $1.15. We also welcome you to call us before the July 20th postmark deadline in order to confirm your child's registration in Brother Sun.

How Does Brother Sun Operate?

  • Brother Sun opens on Monday at 2pm.
  • It operates daily from 8am to midnight.
  • Once you arrive, plan to do an on-site check-in and orientation with your child even if you are familiar with the Festival and Brother Sun. While you're there we'll get additional information about your child and provide you with more detailed information, a schedule and go over the organizational procedures of Brother Sun.
  • We do require that you camp overnight with your son(s) in the Brother Sun camping area and we expect you to be present more often if your child is five or six years old.
  • This childcare is a service; please respect the Brother Sun staff and pick your child up by midnight or service may not be provided to you the following nights.
  • Brother Sun is a 15-20 minute walk from central activities of the main Festival area, and we do operate a shuttle that makes periodic trips from downtown out to a shuttle stop near Brother Sun. It is a beautiful section of the Land with large shade trees, quiet and privacy.
  • Please schedule one of your Festival workshifts in Brother Sun. You will work alongside the Brother Sun staff caring for all of the children in addition to your own during the shift. Field trips are scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, however, they can only happen if enough parents sign up for these work shifts to drive. Please let the staff know your vehicle seating capacity if you sign up for one of these work shifts.
  • Brother Sun closes Monday post-fest at noon. There is no supervision past noon. Please plan time to find and pack your child's belongings and be ready to go by noon.
  • By creating a warm and stable family campground and respecting that boys over four cannot be in any other part of the Festival grounds, you become a positive and supportive factor in maintaining the balance that honors all of us.

Programs will be a combination of structured and unstructured activities. We will play "New Games" (non-competitive, everyone-can-do sports), do arts & crafts, go for walks in the Michigan woodland environment and enjoy stories and treats around the campfire. We'll have workshops especially organized for the boys. We also plan excursions off the Land to area parks, beaches or lakes; other special environmental activities; or indoor activities in case of bad weather. Be sure to let us know if your child has permission for these outings and whether he is able to swim. We request that anything resembling a weapon (including pocket knives) not be brought as a toy to the camp. A schedule of activities will be available when you check in at Brother Sun.

Meals and Medication
There will be a planned breakfast and dinner, with snack foods (peanut butter & jelly, fruit, etc.) for lunch. Meals will include chicken franks and other traditional camp-out food. We do occasionally serve sugar, such as marshmallows and s'mores, as well as snacks like potato chips or ice cream on outings. If your child is usually on a vegetarian and/or no-sugar diet, please indicate this on the Registration Form. Please do not supply your child with a stash of candy or snacks!

We serve the children and staff at Brother Sun with food prepared at Brother Sun. However, Brother Sun's camp-style kitchen isn't set up to accommodate more than the boys and staff, so please bring your food from the Festival Kitchen if you'd like to join us at mealtime on every day except Thursday. On Thursday (burrito night), we welcome you to eat with us (we'll have food for everyone!), and to watch our annual talent show starting at 6pm.

Should your child become ill during his time at Brother Sun, please be prepared to attend to him at all times. Also, if your child has any special needs that require individual attention or specific care, please inform us of the extent of his needs so that we may try to address them. You will need to bring an adequate supply of any medication your child uses, and you must administer it yourself. We are not able to administer medication on your behalf. Additionally, any dietary supplements you bring for your son will be placed in a kitchen cooler. No food is allowed in tents for many reasons, not the least of which is our friendly raccoons!

What to Bring
(Please mark all clothes and other belongings with your child's name.)

  • An adequate tent (should be sturdy and rainproof). There will be a few communal sleep tents for families who do not own or who cannot borrow a tent.
  • Warm sleeping bag
  • Rain fly or tarp/rope for your tent
  • Wash cloth and towel
  • Toothbrush
  • A flashlight
  • Swim suit and beach towel
  • A small backpack for field trips
  • A familiar toy or stuffed animal
  • Clothes for a range of weather
  • Rain gear
  • Change of shoes
  • Hats and sunscreen (30-45 SPF)
  • Lots of extra clothes (The boys tend to get very, very dirty - and wet!)

How's the Weather?
Michigan weather varies from the high 90's during the day and can go as low as the low 40's in the evenings, so pack to be comfortable across the full range of summer weather, including rain showers.

Festival Environment
The Brother Sun Camp is a special campground for young boys and their mothers/caregivers in its own section of the Festival property. This gives the boys a feeling of having a fun and special place of their own, while also maintaining the all-womyn environment of the main Festival areas. It is required that sons five years of age and older enroll in Brother Sun and that they not travel into the general Festival grounds with you. It is up to you as mothers in our community to actively support the age guidelines and definitions of the different childcare areas. Brother Sun provides a healthy, strong and loving program for our sons and is a wonderful experience for them. However, since most boys are not used to having their own space separate from an all-womyn environment, it can be an adjustment for them. If your son has attended Sprouts in the past, your support and extra attention at bedtimes and partings can make for a very smooth transition to Brother Sun.

Before coming to Festival it is important for you to discuss with your son(s) the unique Festival environment, how often they can expect to see you and how this is a special opportunity for both of you. You will need to camp in the Brother Sun campground to care for your son(s) overnight, and there will be an area of Brother Sun designated for larger families if you also have daughters attending with you. We want to stress that you should not confuse the overriding safety of the Festival with an absence of the need for supervision and guidance for your children. We cannot become their guardians in place of you; we can only give you some of the tools you need to make parenting decisions at the Festival.

If your family includes children who will be in one of the other childcare services, please take some time to talk within your family about the different childcare areas and the reality that the kids will be separated for the days of the Festival.

Sprouts Toddlers Camp is for girls and boys ages infant through four and operates from 8:15am to midnight, Tuesday through Sunday. Many moms/caregivers find this a warm and supportive place to connect with other moms, and an easy way to have informal shared care of infants. If your child is aged infant through four, Brother Sun Camp will not provide care for him.

Gaia Girls Camp is for girls ages five and up and operates from 8:30am to 5pm and 7pm to midnight Tuesday through Sunday.

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