Contra Dance to return to Camp Sturtevant

May 26-29, 2023

“Ridiculously magical fun!!!” -Jerry Wheeler

Established in 1893, historic Camp Sturtevant is the only camp from the Great Hiking Era still in operation in the Angeles Forest. Nestled in Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains, surrounded by the largest virgin stand of Big Cone Spruce Trees in the United States, Camp Sturtevant provides a unique opportunity to experience the wilderness. Leaving the Los Angeles bustle, crowds, and roads behind, the shaded and lush four-mile hike in leads campers through the breathtaking Santa Anita Canyon.

We strive to create a Contra Dance Camp community that is welcoming, inclusive, and safe for all dancers. We do not gender balance our roster, and have both gender free and gendered accommodations. We appreciate feedback on ways to make our dance space safer and more welcoming for everyone.

Camp Sturtevant uses gender free calling, and we encourage campers to dance any role, with any partner they choose. Our goal is to create an environment where dancers feel safe and comfortable both in asking for a dance and in declining one. Ask partners kindly, and accept their answers graciously.


Calling by Susan Petrick

Susan Petrick, An avid dancer for many years, Susan started calling for contra dances in 2000 and teaching couple dances, including waltz, cross-step waltz, and hambo, shortly thereafter. Susan lives in Redwood City, CA and has become a regional treasure with national prominence, calling for dance weekends and festivals throughout the country. She is known for her clear teaching, efficient guidance, and expert pacing, making even complex dances accessible to all. By profession Susan is a cognitive psychologist who manages a team of User Experience researchers at Google in Mountain View, CA.

Music by Uncle Farmer

Uncle Farmer is Ben Schreiber on fiddle and Michael Sokolovsky on guitar. With an Irish and New England sound at its core, the duo is known for its original dance tunes, modern twists on old favorites, and sets mixed with pop rhythms and improvisational flair. Their performances range from sweet and nostalgic to gritty and energetic, and their sound truly fills the room.

Registration – Will be open in 2023

Contact us:

Camp Organizer – Dan Vilter or 626.422.4364

Camp Registrar – Lynn Ricketts

Accommodations & Amenities

Complete with heated bunk-bed cabins, tent and hammock spaces, bathhouses with hot showers, and dining and dance hall, Camp Sturtevant is an intimate location for 40 campers. Gender free and gendered cabins are available.

In addition to dancing, campers may enjoy the 30-foot tree swing, zip-trolley line, volleyball and badminton court, plethora of hiking trails, and late nights spent singing and telling stories by the fireplace, complete with milk and cookies.


There will be nine nutritious, delicious, and filling meals provided over the course of the weekend, specially prepared in modern kitchen facilities by our chef Brenda Goodwin. A variety of refreshments will be provided throughout the days and evenings. Please indicate any dietary allergies or restrictions on your registration form.

The Hike

Camp Sturtevant is only accessible by footpath. The hike itself is mostly shaded by trees, with the trail winding alongside a running creek. It is a fun, leisurely hike, with only 1400 feet of elevation gain over four miles.

We will meet at the Chantry Flat trail head at 1:45 PM on Friday, May 22nd for a 2:00 PM departure. You should expect to return to the trail head by 5:00 PM on Monday, May 25th.

The parking lot at Chantry Flat Trail Head fills up quickly in the mornings, so carpools are encouraged. Weekend parking passes are required and available at Adams’ Pack Station near the trail head. Parking is not included in your registration.

Pack Train Portage

A pack train of donkeys and mules will haul our food, fuel, equipment, and supplies up the canyon for us. The pack train will haul 15 lbs of your personal items round trip, included in your registration (additional weight may be added at $1 per lb.)

Items must be delivered at a drop off point (2 or 3 throughout the L.A. area) by Wednesday night. Out of town campers can send their gear ahead of time for inclusion in the pack train.

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