Our Programs

Groundswell Institute is excited to announce our 2017 programs. This year we have 20 unique programs, each designed to serve LGBTQ communities in different ways. Whether it’s arts retreats, leadership conferences, eco-skillshares, or community celebrations, there are lots of ways to participate and let Groundswell help you lead a healthier, more fulfilled, and more impactful life. Registration and full event pages for all programs will be coming soon.


2017 Groundswell Programs

Wellness Weekends – 1/27 – 1/29, 4/14 – 4/16

Groundswell is starting a series of Wellness Weekends that will give you everyday tools to improve your health: physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Each weekend will have a different LGBTQ health expert focused on teaching wellness practices.The first will focus on stress- and anxiety-reducing skills and is being led by Dr. Sam Zoranovich. Participants will also be invited to enjoy the land and it’s many gorgeous features.

Queer Forestry Camp – 2/17 – 2/19

Spend a weekend in the woods learning and practicing sustainable forestry skills. Topics range from forest ecosystems and management to felling and crafting with trees. We will also be spending some time reconnecting with nature and its healing properties. People with all skill levels of forestry are welcome.MUSE: Inspire 2016 Queer Creative Retreat

MUSE: Queer Creatives Retreat – 3/3 – 3/5

This will be our third MUSE, a retreat for LGBTQ creatives of all types. MUSE isa mix of skillshares, workshops, and group art projects that aid artists in exploring and expressing their creative voice. We will also be bringing back our popular workshop track focused on the skills one needs to thrive as an artist. This is a co-created program and we are still looking for workshop presenters / activity leads.

Some Like It Hot Spa Weekends – 3/18 – 3/19, 6/10 – 6/11, 9/9 – 9/10

From sacred hot springs to the roman baths, hot water has played a healing role in people’s lives for many millennia. Groundswell invites you to rejuvenate in our own healing waters, at our new spring-fed spa. Come spend a weekend soaking, hiking, and enjoying nourishing food. We won’t have any official programming during these weekends, just lots of relaxation.

Beltane Gathering – 4/28 – 5/2

In the sun we’ll gather once more to celebrate and dance and weave our community together. Beltane is a time for reflection on where you are, where you want to be, and how you move yourself forward with intent. The weekend will feature the main events, with campfire dancing, maypole and creek rituals, as well as the legendary Miss Mayhole Talent Extravaganza. Guests are invited to stay until May 2nd for more woodland delights and community connection.

Bayard Rustin at Washington MarchBayard Rustin Bootcamp for Community Organizing – 5/12 – 5/14

Bayard Rustin was a key architect of the civil rights movement, a passionate supporter of nonviolent resistance, and a gay man. This program, both in his memory and for our futures, will be a series of workshops and activities that will teach the fundamentals of nonviolent resistance and community organizing. We will be focusing on time-honored tactics that helped historic communities and movements realize social change.

Into the Woods – 5/26 – 5/29  

The Haus of Towers and Groundswell are teaming up for a weekend of reveling in the beauty of our queerness. Your favorite SF parties are calling you into the woods, with Dick @ Nite, Sir/Ma’am, Slumbersexual AND Ladies Who Brunch. It’s going to be nonstop genderqueer fabulosity which ALL will be invited to join in on. Bring your own gorgeous looks or find something outrageous in our drag closet. Pond parties, dance parties, slumber parties – it’s going to be quite the weekend.

Nature=Nurture: Eco-camp – 6/16 – 6/18 

It’s common wisdom, and now scientific fact, that nature is a nurturing force in our lives, helping us lead healthier, less-stressed lives. And, in these days, it’s ever more important that we nurture nature. All weekend we will be teaching regenerative ecology skills and how to work with the woods in ways that benefit both you and nature. The program will culminate with a group natural building project. This is a co-created program and we are still looking for workshop presenters / activity leads. (Date changed 2/3/17)


Forth Queerly – 6/30 – 7/4

Summer is in high heat so why not come to Groundswell for a weekend of pond parties and campfire dancing. We have a special pond dock “swimwear” drag show, great music all weekend, and some performance treats, too. There will also be workshops and discussion groups exploring how we go Forth Queerly into the world and act as fierce beacons for those who do not yet have the freedom to.

Queer-It-Yourself-main-image-webQueer It Yourself – 7/21 – 7/23

Q.I.Y. is a makers festival for LGBTQ crafters and creators of all sorts. Previous years have included workshops ranging from screenprints to resin casting to felt animals to marketing your crafts. Group projects and craft areas will be happening all weekend and people are encouraged to bring projects of their own to work on. The program culminates in a large-scale collaborative sculpture project that invites all to co-create a work of art with found materials. This is a co-created program and we are still looking for workshop presenters / activity leads.

XRYSALIS – 8/11 – 8/13

A unique program by and for LGBTQ people of color, XRYSALIS creates a truly safe space for those communities to come together, explore their common experiences, and deepen connections to their selves and their communities. To get a glimpse into what happened the first year of this program check out this feature article about it from the Guardian. There is an organizing team that plans this event – please get in touch if you are interested in being involved.

Convergence: LGBTQ Healers Retreat – (cancelled)

Too often, the healers in our communities don’t have the opportunity to heal and grow themselves. We’re hoping to change this with a weekend of learning, sharing, and regenerating by and for LGBTQ healers of all kinds. Whether you are a body worker or social worker, there will be workshops to help you deepen your practice and your passion for healing. This program is being co-created with Embodiment Arts Collective, a community-based wellness space in San Francisco where holistic and sex-positive wellness practitioners collaborate to care for their clients’ mind, body and spirit. (Date changed 3/30/17)

Self Care Is Sexy Retreat – 9/29 – 10/1

Rarely do we spend enough time and energy on self care. So, Groundswell is creating a program dedicated to teaching people simple skills and practices that will help with care for the mind, body, and spirit. We will be bringing in teachers of many different modalities to give simple classes and lead wellness group activities, like yoga and massage. Our goal is for all participants to come away with increased skills and awareness around self care.

Where the Wild Queers Are – 10/6  10/9

Come out to Where the Wild Queers Are for a weekend of dancing and delights as Groundswell brings out some great DJs and performers for a celebration of queer culture. Swim in the pond, go for a hike, and soak in our hot tub during the day, then shake your booty all night long. DJs soon to be announced.

TRANScend – 10/13 – 10/15

TRANScend is a gathering for trans and gender non-conforming folks to come together, heal, and celebrate the ways in which we experience our diverse genders. We will create a space for deep connection to self and each other, to rise up as a community, and to foster a world where we can openly live our authentic lives.There is an organizing team that plans this event – please get in touch with lead organizer Spring if you are interested in being involved.

Halloween Gathering – 10/27 – 10/31

It is only because of our ancestors, the honored dead who fought to get us here, that we are able to live and love as freely as we do. Let’s live, love, and laugh in their honor with a weekend of community revelry and ritual. We will have the Ghastly Talent Show on Saturday, followed by our Dead Diva dance party. Sunday will be focused on ritually honoring our dead beloved, both those we knew personally and those we didn’t. Guests are welcome to stay on through Halloween day.

Lavender: LGBTQ Leadership Conference – 11/17 – 11/19

Leadership takes many forms: you might head an arts collective, lead a nonprofit, run a small business, or be engaged with civics. One thing that is common of nearly all leaders, though, is a need for connection to others with similar passions and a desire to grow their skills. In addition, LGBTQ leaders face unique opportunities and challenges. Join us for a weekend that explores those topics while building on individual’s capacities for leadership. There is an organizing team that plans this event – please get in touch if you are interested in being involved.