Raven’s Knoll itself, the Kaleidoscope Gathering, and other events at the Knoll could not exist without the hard work and dedication of staff and volunteers.
Austin, sometimes known as “Auz,” is one of the Stewards of Raven’s Knoll. Auz has a Master’s degree in Anthropology, which has lead to a full time career that he does alongside the “hobby” of running Raven’s Knoll and the Kaleidoscope Gathering with his wife, Maryanne Pearce. Austin is a Heathen who is an oathed goði associated with the American Vinland Association, since 2008. Auz is interested in Medieval Martial Arts and all things Old Norse. Auz is also a former Stag King of the Kaleidoscope Gathering.
Maryanne, also known as “MA,” is one of the Stewards of Raven’s Knoll. Maryanne has a Master’s degree in Anthropology, and a background in Women’s Studies. In 2013 she finished a doctorate in law, with a focus on missing and murdered women in Canada. She is writing two books based on An Akward Silence. She has a full time career, as well as running Raven’s Knoll and the Kaleidoscope Gathering with her husband, Austin Lawrence. Maryanne is of Mohawk and Celtic ancestry, whose spirituality is grounded in the Mother Earth. Maryanne is involved with Great Pyrenees rescue, does the taxes for all of the women’s shelters in Ottawa, and is on the board of Minwaashin Lodge.
Brendan Roche is also called “Brendan the Handy” because he is often around other people named Brendan, but more importantly because he is a Mr. Fix-It. He is the Groundskeeper of Raven’s Knoll, living at the property and keeping everything in order and running. He makes sure everyone in the surrounding area is connected to cyberspace by risking his life climbing tall towers for Bonnechere Community Internet. For years, he has been a dedicated maintenance volunteer behind the scenes at many Pagan events, in particular the Kaleidoscope Gathering.
Volunteering for Work Weekends
The Stewards (Auz and MA) and Land Managers (Brendan) of Raven’s Knoll host Work Weekends where people volunteer to help contribute to the upkeep of Raven’s Knoll or assist with any number of our projects. Volunteers get basic camping for free in exchange for sweat and labour, camaraderie is had by all and our community is built! (All parents of teens and teens take note: we sign for high school co-op and volunteer hours. We are also pleased to act as references for teens, should you wish it.)
By popular request, work weekends will begin at 9:00 a.m. following breakfast, which is served between 8:00 and 8:30. On Saturdays we will end work around 5:00 to 5:30 p.m., on Sundays we will end around 4:00 p.m. After breakfast and lunch, we do a team meeting (basically, standing around the white board) and assign tasks.
Most people arrive on Friday evenings. Others may do a day trips rather than stay the whole weekend.
The fire is generally the evening on Friday nights. For Saturday evenings, we will be having a variety of different events: movie night in the Rookery, card games, mini-Bardic, archery or axe throwing (nothing says relaxing like throwing axes after a day of manual labour!), etc. but often we just hang by the fire again.
We offer an optional food plan run by volunteers for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday, and breakfast and lunch on Sundays. The cost is just what is required to cover the costs of the food and is $5 for breakfast, $6 for lunch, $8 for dinner, which includes HST. Children under 12 who are with a volunteer that is on the meal plan will eat for free. Coffee and tea are provided for all.
Unless there is an event at the same time, all meals will be at the Rookery. If you do not wish to join the meal plan, you are welcome to bring your own food and join us. We will be having some type of short ritual / ceremony / toast before every Dinner.
Our main volunteer Kitchen Witch, Gwen, has food sensitivities herself and is easily able to adjust meals for most limitations without prior notice. If you are vegan or unable to eat eggs, please do give us a few extra days’ notice (firstname.lastname@example.org). Gluten-free, vegetarian, dairy-free, sugar-free, etc. can easily be accommodated. Don’t forget that we need volunteers in the kitchen to clean, cook, deliver and prepare the food.
Indoor accommodation in the Nest (Cabin) or trailers are available, especially for early work weekends! Please contact MA (email@example.com) to secure your spot.
What to bring:
- Ditty bag containing bowl, plate, cup, utensils
- Travel coffee mug
- Travel water bottle
- Towels (shower and swimming)
- Bedding (like a sleeping bag and pillow)
- Tent & related camping gear (if not indoors)
Children are welcome to attend. Depending on the ages and numbers, a child wrangler may be available from among the volunteers. For those with small children or babes in arms, as well as those with physical limitations, we will happily find work that is suitable for your needs. Pets are also welcome, but they must be on-leash. In addition, please be sure your pet has shade, water and food, and is not left to bark.