Author Archives: Dana Dwinell-Yardley

Seeking storytellers, workshop tips, and volunteers for Epic Skill Swap 2017

Dear Epic Skill Swappers,

Happy new year! Your ESS organizing committee had a very productive retreat in December, and we identified a few items that we’d love some community help with:

  • Telling our story: We’d like to profile a handful of ESS attendees about who you are and why you come to Skill Swap. We are also looking for someone to take on the task of coordinating, collecting, and editing these short profiles, with support from the ESS organizers. If you are interested in being profiled, or if you’d like to be Storytelling Coordinator for this project, let us know.
  • Tips for workshop leaders: We are working on developing more robust resources for attendees on how to lead a good workshop at ESS. If you’ve led a workshop, we want your tips! What do you wish you had known before you led your workshop? What parts were most successful
  • More hands to make light work: We could use a few more folks to help us plan, organize, and make ESS 2017 happen. We’re looking for folks to take on smaller, specific tasks (like coordinating carpools) as well as folks to join the core organizing team.

If you can help out with any of these tasks, send us an e-mail:

And in case you missed it, here are the dates for Epic Skill Swap 2017. Mark your calendars!

  • Weekend A: May 26–29, 2017
  • Weekend B: June 9–12, 2017

With epic love and hope for the new year,

Your ESS 2017 Organizing Team
Alison, Annie, Dana, Eric, Ethan, Marvin, Meghan, and Onnie


Epic Skill Swap dates announced for 2017!

Dearest swappers,

We are delighted to announce the dates for Epic Skill Swap 2017!

Based on the very useful feedback you all provided to us, we have decided to host two swaps again this year, on the following dates:

  • Weekend A: May 26–29, 2017
  • Weekend B: June 9–12, 2017

We’ll begin the skill submission process in January. Start thinking about those skills!

If you have any questions, please contact us at

With epic thanks,

Your ESS 2017 Organizing Team
Alison, Annie, Dana, Eric, Ethan, Marvin, Meghan, and Onnie

Epic Final Details for 2016!

Dearest and Most Epically Skilled Swappers,

We’re closing in on Epic Skill Swap(s) 2016 and we are so tremendously excited! This email has some final logistical details. It’s a long one, but everything in here is important (including information about the site, food, transit, packing, alcohol, etc.), so bear with us.

First, our site! Camp Wilmot, our home for the last four years, is a wonderful place, boasting a pond for swimming, cabins, camping areas, a barn with fireplace, a spacious dining hall with a commercial kitchen, and beautiful woods. A few things to remember:

  • It is located on N. Wilmot Road in Wilmot, NH. Here’s a map. GPS has been known to be unreliable in the woods of New Hampshire, so we recommend these driving directions.
  • It is a summer camp. That means rough surfaces, shared bathrooms, etc.
  • There’s no ATM in the vicinity, so bring cash with you if you anticipate needing it for any reason (the only reason we can think of are a few modest materials fees for workshops).
  • It’s a bit of a hike to the nearest grocery store, so if you think you will need snacks, be sure to provision before you arrive.

Second, registration! If you have registered and can’t come, please notify us ASAP so that we can plan accordingly. We take cash or check for registration fees upon arrival. If you know someone who wants to come, but didn’t register, have them email us.

Third, packing! Here is our recommended packing list:

  • Layers! June in New Hampshire can be unpredictable.
  • Rain gear (which you hopefully won’t need)
  • Sunscreen/insect repellent
  • Bathing suits and towels
  • If you are teaching a workshop, anything you might need in order to do so
  • Anything you might need for participating in workshops (for example, if you’re planning to take a movement workshop, you’ll want to have appropriate clothes; if you want to take the graphic design workshop on weekend A, bring a laptop if you have one)
  • A pen and a notebook, because more likely than not, you’re going to want to take down some notes about something you learn over the weekend
  • Musical instruments if you want to jam/teach/whatever
  • A tent, if you’re planning on tenting
  • Sleeping bag/bedding for tent and cabin alike
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • A water bottle
  • A blanket or camp chair for sitting on the ground
  • Snacks, if you anticipate wanting them
  • Your wonderful selves, your bright smiles, and your village-building attitudes!

Fourth, food! We will provide meals three times a day on Saturday and Sunday, and breakfast on Monday. All meals are vegetarian and vegan friendly. Most of the meals are also sensitive to gluten- and dairy-free folks. Feel free to supplement this bounty with your own ready-to-eat snackies. If you have specific dietary needs and opted out of group food when you registered, a small refrigerator will be reserved for you. Please note, however, that group meal prep will take priority in the hours directly before meals. If you are preparing your own food, please take that into consideration. You may want to bring a camp stove.

Fifth, potluck: Friday evening is a potluck dinner. Please bring a dish to share, and please remember to label what’s in it for those with allergies and dietary restrictions.

Sixth, carpooling! If you’re able to offer, or are looking for, a ride, we’ve got you covered. We have a great rideboard system, and are especially looking for folks to connect to/from the Boston area. Check ‘er out:

Seventh, skills! Every year, we intentionally leave space in our schedule (here’s weekend A and here’s weekend B) for last-minute workshop additions. We do this in order to ensure that people who may have heard about Skill Swap recently can have a chance to teach, and to make space for inspiration as it strikes. This space will be given out to teachers on a first-come, first-serve basis, starting on Friday afternoon. If you’ve got an idea for a workshop, please find Meghan after you arrive.

Eighth, Sunday night & cost! We were able to negotiate a deal with Camp Wilmot to pay half price for Sunday night on both weekends, so ESS will conclude on Monday morning as originally planned. Since we know only a few folks plan to stay until Monday morning, we’re going to ask everyone to chip into a clean up session on Sunday evening. It’s going to be a big ole cleaning party, and it’s going to be epic.

With the discount, plus some additional registrations that came in last week, this puts us at approximately $70 per person, and as ever, we will operate on a sliding scale.

Finally, other notes:

  • Dogs: We love our furry friends, but there is a no-dogs policy in place at Epic Skill Swap (except for service animals).
  • Interwebs: There is spotty wireless internet at Camp Wilmot and the password will be available; however, please be conscious of helping us cultivate mindful interactions between people, and limit your web use to the physical spaces we’ve set aside for it.
  • Kids: We love kids! Kids are the future! They should teach and learn with the best of ‘em. We have a number of workshops that are kid-friendly! However, we are not set up to provide childcare at this juncture. You are welcome to bring your children–we love it when people do–but if you do, they remain solely your responsibility. If you are under 18, you must attend Epic Skill Swap with a parent or guardian.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol is permitted at Epic Skill Swap due to a gracious flexibility in policy on Wilmot’s part, but please drink responsibly.
  • Drugs: Illegal drugs are absolutely not allowed at Epic Skill Swap. If you use illegal drugs, you will be asked to leave. Please understand that failing to observe this puts the organizers in a very awkward position, and there will be no exceptions here.
  • Legal Stuff: When you check in, you will be asked to sign a waiver. This basically indicates you understand what you’re getting into and you won’t hold the organizers or Camp Wilmot responsible should something go amiss. We also have event insurance for the weekend. That said, please take care of yourselves and be safe.

With anticipation for imminent epicness,

Meghan, Alison, Jamie, Onnie, Dana, Eric, Ethan, Annie, and Marvin ESS 2016 Core Organizers

Registration is now OPEN for Epic Skill Swap(s) 2016!

It’s that time: registration is now open for both weekends of Epic Skill Swap 2016! If you know what this means and want to get right down to business, here are the registration links:

Register for Epic Skill Swap Weekend B: June 10–12, 2016

Registration is officially closed for weekend A, June 3–5, but we may be able to accommodate a few last-minute swappers. E-mail if you’d like to attend weekend A, and we’ll work something out!

If you want to know more, read on:

Space at Epic Skill Swap is limited to 120 people on each weekend. This is for two reasons—we want to maintain the intimate, community-based orientation of previous Skill Swaps, and Camp Wilmot cannot comfortably hold more visitors than that. Because we have two swaps this year, we’re not sure how the demand will map on to the supply, but we encourage you to register as soon as possible.

When you register, we ask for a deposit to reserve your space and to help offset the up-front costs of putting the festival on. Epic Skill Swap operates on a sliding scale price model, out of a recognition that folks have different abilities to pay. At the event, we will let you know the cost per person with as much detail as you’d like (last year, actual costs were $60 per person). When you check in, you may pay any remaining balance in an amount of your choice. If the registration fee is a hardship for you, please contact the organizers at and we will work something out. Nobody will be excluded because of an inability to pay.

Cancellation policy:

  • Please let us know ASAP if you’ve registered and decide not to come.
  • If you let us know by 2 weeks prior to the event (May 20 for Weekend A, May 27 for Weekend B), we will refund your registration fee.
  • If you notify us with less than a two-week threshold, we cannot guarantee a refund of your registration fee.

The preliminary schedule will be forthcoming in the next couple of days, so keep your eyes peeled. We are so much looking forward to swapping with you!

With epic love,

Meghan, Alison, Jamie, Onnie, Annie, Marvin, Eric, Dana, and Ethan
Core organizers for Epic Skill Swap 2016

ESS 2016 is now accepting workshop proposals!

Dear friends,

We are delighted to announce that we are now accepting proposals for our festival’s fifth birthday party, a.k.a. Epic Skill Swap 2016!

Those of you who have Swapped in the past know that our schedule-building and teaching processes are participatory. Swappers (including your fine selves) are now able to request workshops that they would like to take, and propose workshops that they would like to teach, via an online tool.

If that’s all you need to know, head over to our rockin’ proposal tool and get a-goin’! (You will be prompted to create a username and password, because, you know, anti-spam protection is a desirable thing in modern life).

If you need instructions for how the whole shebang works, click here. (It’s really straightforward. We promise).

We will continue accepting proposals for workshops until March 17, at which point we’ll open up a brief voting period. People will be able to indicate their interest in a potential workshop using the same online tool (we’ll post another note about that).

So let’s get this show on the road! We can’t wait to see what all you wonderful people come up with this year.

Epically yours,

Meghan, Alison, Jamie, Onnie, Annie, Ben, Marvin, Eric, Dana, and Ethan
Your 2016 Epic Skill Swap organizing team

Workshop submission process opens Feb. 17

Greetings, dearest Swappers!

Happy New Year to you all. We’re writing with a brief update about what to expect in terms of schedule for Epic Skill Swap 2016. We hope you have some ideas cooking, because this is about to get awesome.

Those of you who have Swapped in the past will know that our schedule-building and teaching processes are participatory. Swappers (including your fine selves) will be able to request workshops that they would like to take, and propose workshops that they would like to teach, via an online module. The workshop submission site will open on Wednesday, February 17, 2016. (Don’t worry — we’ll send an email with a link and post here when it’s ready to go).

You, the ESS community, will then have a month to propose workshops and to think about what classes you would like to attend.

On March 17, we’ll close submissions and open up a brief voting period (you’ll get an email about this too). People will be able to indicate their interest in a potential workshop using the same online tool.

Voting will close on March 31, and our scheduling team will be in touch with workshop instructors shortly after that. The schedule will be finalized by April 30 at the latest.

Then we’ll prepare for two awesome weekends of skills, sharing, music, playing outside, conversation and community. On the weekends of June 3–6 and June 10–13, we will undertake skill-swapping and merrymaking with glee and gusto.

Questions? Email us at

If you do the Facebook thing, you can find Epic Skill Swap (and the occasional corny joke) here.

With epic anticipation,

Meghan, Alison, Jamie, Onnie, Annie, Ben, Marvin, Eric, Dana, and Ethan
Your 2016 Epic Skill Swap organizing team