Summer Retreat 2018

Check out our stellar lineup of teachers, classes and camper services available during your holistic vacation.

Please note all personalized camper services are payable directly to the practitioner.

All sign ups for camper services will be posted at camp in the main dining hall.

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon...

Nancy Adler

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Nancy Adler is a career photographer and photography educator based in New York City. Nancy´s professional work focuses on portrait and event photography. Her sustained practice in macrobiotics, yoga and meditation have attracted her to health retreats worldwide to document the energy of the people, lectures, workshops and inspiring natural settings. The art of the portrait is Nancy’s specialty, she blends strobe and ambient light to create beautiful images. For her own personal artwork she incorporates collage and encaustic techniques to create lyrical, ephemeral imagery. Her body of work can be seen at

Class with Nancy

A Sunrise Photo Excursion to Pinecrest Lake
Early risers will walk or drive to the lake and take in all of the sights and sounds of pristine morning at beautiful Pinecrest lake.

Professional photographer, Nancy Adler, will suggest creative ways to “see,” and “frame” nature’s wonders.

Bring your cell phone or camera and find the yin and yang of morning light as the sun rises over the mountains behind the lake and illuminates the woods and beach.

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

Ariel Ashwell

Ariel Ashwell is a movement theatre performer, director and coach. She has performed throughout Mexico, USA, Canada and Europe including festivals in Edinburgh, Lille, Vienna, Montreal and Jerusalem. Ariel is a certified Pilates teacher. 

Classes with Ariel

Stretch like a cat, realign your spine, become conscious of our bodies, breathe, center, be vibrantly awake and alive for the day’s busy schedule of workshops and lectures.

A series of nonimpact exercises designed by Joseph Pilates to develop strength, flexibility, balance, and inner awareness. A system of physical conditioning involving low-impact exercises and stretches designed to strengthen muscles of the torso.

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

Cynthia Briscoe


Cynthia Briscoe was honored by Michio Kushi in 2012 with an Aveline Kushi Award for her decades of dedication to macrobiotic teaching and service.

Cynthia is one of America’s most respected macrobiotic cooking instructors. Her cooking is as delicious as it gets. She co-founded and co-directed The Macrobiotic Center of Kansas City during the 1980’s.

Cynthia was the co-owner and head chef of The Amber Waves Café, an award-winning macrobiotic restaurant in Kansas City, and one of the most successful and longest-running macrobiotic restaurants in North America.

From 1981-1991 Cynthia supervised macrobiotic cooking education in the central states, and from 1991-1998 she was a main cooking instructor, kitchen supervisor and kitchen apprentice trainer at the Vega Study Center in California, in association with Cornellia Aihara.

She has been the kitchen coordinator for macrobiotic camps and retreats, including the popular Harvest Moon Retreats and Tall Oaks Camps in the midwest. In 1999 she was the guest cooking instructor at the macrobiotic retreat on Hvar Island, Croatia.

In recent years Cynthia has served as a cooking instructor at the Kushi Institute’s annual Summer Conference and the French Meadows Summer Camp. In 2004 she was invited to appear on ABC News to demonstrate macrobiotic cooking. Her cooking instruction is admired for its clarity, patience and gentleness.

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

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David Briscoe was honored in 2012 by Michio Kushi and Kushi Institute International with a prestigious Aveline Kushi Award, regarded by many as “the Oscar of macrobiotics,” for his decades of dedication to macrobiotic education and counseling.

David is one of the most experienced macrobiotic teachers and counselors in the world today. Since 1972 he has gained expertise in every facet of macrobiotics, including personal practice, philosophy, healing principles, teaching, counseling, private healing chef service, restaurant ownership and educational center development.

He is widely considered one of the finest of macrobiotic chefs, having prepared countless delicious meals, including gourmet Hollywood buffets and ethnic international macrobiotic cuisine for large groups and events, and strengthening healing meals for health recovery for private individuals.

Through his 30+ years of cooking classes, chef-training programs, executive chef experience, co-owner of the award-winning Amber Waves Café, and world-wide travels, he has taught innumerable students the creative joy of healthy macrobiotic cooking. His private macrobiotic chef services are highly sought after and available to a limited number of selected clients. He is currently writing a series of cookbooks with Cynthia Briscoe.

David also provides consultant services to restaurants, professional chefs, macrobiotic business start-ups, web site creators, multi-media elearning authors, online course developers, and the natural foods industry.

One of the most experienced and respected public speakers in the world of macrobiotics, David now offers private public speaking training and mentorship to those wishing to develop their skill and confidence in this area.

In 1975 he was given the honor of being one of the few one-on-one macrobiotic apprentices to the late macrobiotic master, Noboru Muramoto, author of Healing Ourselves. In 1983 he was among the first to be certified by the Kushi Institute’s premier macrobiotic counselor accreditation program. During the 70’s and 80’s, David established macrobiotic education programs and centers throughout the U.S.

He has appeared on national TV programs and radio shows, including Dr. John McDougall’s radio show and numerous other live radio shows, ABC News, PBS, and the HBO® Special, “Six Months to Live.” He is the co-author of A Personal Peace, contributing author to The Whole Mind and a regular columnist for Macrobiotics Today, the world’s leading macrobiotic magazine.

David has developed macrobiotic curriculum and instruction programs for various educational organizations, applying his experience as a former secondary school teacher and as a trainer of teachers at the University of Kansas. He is a macrobiotic education visionary who first made use of the power of the internet for macrobiotic teaching and counseling, and has become the leader in developing online multi-media macrobiotic courses and training, launching his first online courses in 1999.

David’s online and on-site training courses have attracted many from the modern healing fields, including doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, pediatricians, gynecologists, body therapists, nutritionists, dietitians, and other interested students from all walks of life and over the world. He is regarded as one of the top trainers of macrobiotic counselors. Through his trainings, David hopes to be instrumental in developing the future generation of macrobiotic counselors, teachers and leaders.

David is well known for his skilled and personal approach to private macrobiotic counseling. He is highly regarded for his vast experience in the areas of macrobiotic healing diet, home remedies and lifestyle re-balancing.

In 1990 the late macrobiotic master, Herman Aihara, invited David to be his administrative, teaching and counseling associate at The Vega Study Center in California, and from 1991-1998 David worked closely with Herman. After Herman’s passing, David co-founded Macrobiotics America-Macrobiotics Global, the first macrobiotic organization to offer multi-media distance learning courses via the internet (, beginning in 1999.

David travels and teaches throughout North America and overseas, speaking to medical and lay audiences, and he has been a featured presenter at the major macrobiotic camps and conferences, including The Kushi Institute Summer Conference, French Meadows Summer Camp, The Fall Health Classic, One World Festival in the UK, and The Whole World Summer School in Belgium.

David also served as a guest faculty member at the world-famous Kushi Institute in Becket, MA. He holds the honorary position of being a macrobiotic counselor for The George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation of Chico, CA, the oldest macrobiotic education and publishing organization in North America. David was recently invited by Texas A&M University to participate in the design of a residential program to help patients recover from bowel conditions, such as IBS, through a macrobiotic diet. In 2016 he was invited by the UCSD Center for Integrative Medicine to be a teacher in their Integrative Nutrition program.

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

Kathleen Brennan Brown

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Kathleen is a Canadian-trained Traditional Osteopathic Practitioner based in Santa Rosa, CA. A veteran of western medicine as an emergency department registered nurse for over 20 years, she bridges somatic therapy sense alongside western medicine training. To look at the whole person while addressing dysfunction throughout the body lies fundamental to osteopathic principles and care. Kathleen's advanced concussion training allows her to tune in to the more subtle nervous system aberrations that can elude other practitioners. From back pain to acid reflux and headaches to foot pain, Kathleen helps people get back to life.

Client Services with Kathleen

Traditional Osteopathic Manual Therapy
Osteopathy is a hands-on natural treatment philosophy which seeks to identify areas of the body that are not functioning optimally then gently ease these restrictions so that normal function can resume.There is not one technique that is specific to osteopathy, but its practice demands the body be addressed as a whole unit and consideration be given to all of its components.

Please note there are additional fees for Client Services, paid directly to the practitioner.

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

Lance Brown


Lance is co-owner of Northern California's Return To Movement which specializes in helping people out of pain and dysfunction that might be interfering with desired lifestyle. He draws upon concepts from pilates, yoga, feldenkrais and developmental kinesiology to help people incorporate holistic movement for expansion of capability and function.

Classes with Lance

Move Better - Activity
This class is a mixture of core principles for building foundational strength and creating better movement out of them. While containing some familiarity to pilates and yoga, it parcels them down to the fundamental prerequisites for effective movement. So, it can be thought of as a preparatory class, that gets one ready for yoga or pilates (or life's curve balls!) It requires a curious mind, focused attention and a capacity for awareness within one's movement. Great for those who wish to move more freely and with ease.

Client Services with Lance

Movement Re-Education
As we mature in a lifetime, patterns emerge and form into semi-permanence. These patterns serve us well for efficiency in the short term. However, they could also prevent a healthy repertoire of capability from remaining available for the long term. Using developmental movements from the first stages of life and integrating them into the individual movement patterns in adulthood, we can help maintain a capacity to move well when needed. Movement re-education is for anyone who wants to incorporate activity in life that may be hampered by pain and/or restriction, or further with those that have plateaued with current lifestyle activities and desiring to identify the blocks that stand in one's way. This is not a one-time fix, it is part of the journey of self.

Please note there are additional fees for Client Services, paid directly to the practitioner.

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

Sheri DeMaris, M.Ed


Sheri is a holistic health counselor who has taught whole foods/macrobiotic cooking at various restaurants and cooking schools throughout the United States and Europe for over thirty years. She hosted, produced and directed a local alternative health TV show, "Tea With Sheri."  for 10 years.Sheri served as an adjunct professor in the Alternative Health Program for medical students at Hahnemann University, Philadelphia and has been a full-time counselor for 35 years.

She holds  a Masters in Counseling from the College of William and Mary and a Post Masters in Counseling from Villanova University. Sheri is a graduate of the Level 4 Certification at Kushi Institute and the Strengthening  Health Institute.

She was the guest speaker for the vegetarian festival of Tokyo Japan and has done Macrobiotic health counseling in Lier, Belgium. Sheri is also trained as a "Food is Elementary" educator and shiatsu practitioner.

Sheri offers macrobiotic cooking classes, lectures and seminars as well as individual counseling and cooking instruction. Her cookbook is entitled Macro Magic for Kids and Parents.

Classes with Sheri

Savory Summer Time Soups - Cooking Class
Looking for great ideas for soups when the temperature rises? Sheri will show you some recipes that will satisfy your taste buds as well as keep you cool all day long!

Fun Kids Snacks - Kid's Camp Cooking Class
Kids always enjoy snack time... here are some fun hands on dishes to help develop your creativity in the kitchen!

Decadent Desserts - Cooking Class
Even though we are in the woods we can still enjoy delicious desserts that you probably don't realize are so simple to make! Come enjoy some fun treats but don't lick the spoon!!

Plenty of Pasta - Cooking Class
You don't have to be Italian to cook like an Italian. We will explore all those yummy pasta dishes that are so quick to make when you come home late and are starving for something warm and satisfying.

Food is Medicine - Inside and Out! - Cooking Class
Join Sheri as she prepares and demonstrates some macrobiotic external home remedies using ingredients  you can find in your own kitchen. Sheri will also explain why they work according to Yin and Yang principles. External home remedies are simple and  fun to learn. They are important to know so you can start to become the master of your own health.

Seeing with the Intuitive Eye - Diagnosis Class Lecture
Learn the key points of diagnosis and see how this relates to you, your family and friends. We will also explore the workings of Yin and Yang in relationship to food cravings (which is always fun to explore!).

Client Services with Sheri

Private Cooking Consultation & Menu Planning Session

  • Sheri will have you complete forms on what you are currently preparing in your kitchen and suggest some new dishes and remedies that will help you along your healing journey.
  • She will also share some quick and easy cooking tips and help you with the process of menu planning.

Please note there are additional fees for Client Services, paid directly to the practitioner.

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

Jeanne Grosset

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Jeanne is a Natural Health Specialist in Los Angeles, California. Co-creator of 7Element Services with her husband Patrick, a professional French Chef. Their macrobiotic services company focuses on educating, nourishing and empowering people on the natural path of good health. Offering a weekly organic, seasonal, 100% vegan, Macro Meal Pack service. Jeanne is also the Retreat Director for the Vegetarian Educational Institute and a Kundalini Yoga Teacher. She is the creator of the Body Reset Cleanse, a 7 day plan based on macrobiotic principles for a reduce-recharge-reset approach to cleansing and detoxifying the body. Jeanne has an inspirational quick read ebook "Fit & Trim For Life: 7 Keys To Success" and also offers an online macrobiotic recipe library including cooking classes.

Classes with Jeanne

Foundational Foods - Cooking Class
Come explore the balance of plant-based, seasonal, whole foods for a happy, healthy life. Embrace the understanding of the energies that come to play in our daily nourishment and how to create self healing foods for yourself and loved ones.

Healing Mantras - Lecture
The origin of mantras goes back to the late 18th century, the Sanskrit meaning literally is ‘a thought, thought behind speech or action’, from man-‘think’, related to mind. Mantras aide in reducing anxiety and depression, they help release neuroses and naturally boost the immune system. Simple techniques to use for better health.

A Craving Free Life - Lecture
Do cravings rule your life? Or are they just a pesky problem that pops up under stress? Come get a handle on what these cravings are telling you and the direction to take to get yourself back on track and craving free. 

Breath Works - Lecture
Our breath is a continual process of intake and discharge that the body does naturally, every day of your life. Jeanne is a Kundalini Yoga Teacher who will guide you in the techniques and benefits of various breathing techniques used to nurture and cleanse the lungs, rebalance the chakras and shift your energies.

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

Patrick Grosset

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Patrick is a professional French Chef who has embraced the principles of macrobiotics to create powerful healing foods. He is a certified Natural Health Practitioner and with his wife Jeanne in Los Angeles produce a weekly Macro Meal Pack service, cleanse program and cooking classes. Their company, 7th Element Services, has supported the local community with nutritious, delicious dishes for over the last decade. And is the winner of the "Best of Burbank Award" for 2016 & 2017!

Summer Retreat 2017 Executive Chef - Patrick is overseeing all kitchen operations and menu items for our camp at Pinecrest Lake this summer. He specializes in macro/vegan fare and gluten free dishes.  Patrick will also be featuring a "teaching kitchen" environment for all of our work/study participants. 

Classes with Patrick

Our Summer Retreat Teaching Kitchen!
Patrick is the Executive Chef and Educator for our teaching kitchen experience all week long. If you are interested in being a part of our work/study program please click here.

Mochi Making - "Hands-On" Cooking Class
Come join Patrick in a cooking class that takes you through the whole process of making mochi from scratch. This brown rice treat is not only delicious it is fun to make - and it's a good workout too!

Creating Balanced Meals Without Recipes - Lecture
Tired of the extra time it takes to make your way through recipes, day in and day out? Well this class will get you on the path of understanding how to create your very own recipes to balance your menu for optimal health.

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

Home-based in Los Angeles, Ron has been associated with Shumei, a spiritual fellowship from Japan, for twenty-five years.  In 2003, he had completed a year of intense training at Shumei's mountainous headquarters located about an hour from Kyoto.

Among the practices found at Shumei is Natural Agriculture which encourages respect for the innate wisdom and spirit of nature.  With limited intervention in the growing process, nature has the ability to usher in balance and abundance.  As a means of promoting the philosophy and practices found in Natural Agriculture, Ron frequently coordinates garden startups, classes, and workshops. 

Additionally, through Shumei, Ron regularly shares the purifying energy known as Jyorei for greater health and happiness of the individuals.

Classes with Ron

Natural Agriculture - In Line with Nature

Natural Agriculture - Physical and Spiritual

Starting and Maintaining Your Garden

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

Ronald Koetzsch


Ronald grew up in Brooklyn, New York, long before it was a hip and fashionable place. His parents had immigrated from Germany in the 1930s. He graduated from Princeton University in 1965 and then entered Harvard University in a graduate program in the history of religions with a focus on East Asia. He was studying Japanese language and culture and was already a brown-rice-eating vegetarian when he first met Michio and Aveline Kushi in January of 1967 and became acquainted with Macrobiotics.

Ronald spent most of 1968 living in Japan, where he met Lima Ohsawa and many of the people who had worked closely with Georges Ohsawa. He was in Japan again from 1974–1976 doing research for his doctoral dissertation. In 1981 he received his PhD from Harvard. His dissertation was entitled “Georges Ohsawa and the Japanese Religious Tradition.” Ronald was for many years a teacher at the Kushi Institute, a staff writer for East West Journal, and also a senior instructor at the Hurricane Island Outward Bound wilderness education school.

Since the early 1980s, Ronald has been a student of the work of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925), founder of the anthroposophical movement, Waldorf Education, Biodynamic agriculture and other initiatives for cultural transformation. In 1992, under the auspices of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, Ronald founded Renewal: A Journal for Waldorf Education. Assisted by his wife, Anne Riegel-Koetzsch, he is still publishing the semiannual magazine.

In 1996 Ronald moved to California to teach at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks. He was on the faculty of the College and also Dean of Students until September 2016. Ronald lives in Fair Oaks with Anne, his cat Amelia, six bicycles, and seven fountain pens.

Ronald has a side career as a stand-up comedian, specializing in humor related to Anthroposophy and the Waldorf subculture, and has performed at schools and institutes all over the country and around the world.

He is the author of Macrobiotics Yesterday and Today;  Macrobiotics Beyond Food;  and A Parents’ Guide to Alternative Education.

Classes with Ronald

Vegetarianism in World History - Lecture
Survey of vegetarianism in history and around the world and the rationales for and against.

Health Beyond Food 1 - Lecture
Physical Factors in Wellness - Exercise, fitness, environmental factors such as electromagnetic field.

Health Beyond Food 2 - Lecture
Sensory and Emotional Factors in Wellness - Proper “feeding” of the senses and the cultivation of a positive emotional life.

Health Beyond Food 3 - Lecture
Psychological and Social Factors in Wellness - Habits of thought and human relationships.

Health Beyond Food 4 - Lecture
World View, Life Purpose, and Wellness. What are we here for anyway?

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

Yakira Lee


As founder of LifeChoice Consultant, Yakira helps those that have experienced trauma, abuse and addictions and individuals needing help with life's challenges and/or relationships. Divinely inspired, she started pursuing her passion of helping people when she was a child. From age seven to 15 she “shadowed” her doctor grandfather and learned to “see” in the body, and “hear” the messages of organs. When she was diagnosed in the early 1990s with final stage liver cirrhosis and hypo-functioning pancreas, she augmented her grandfather’s wisdom with classes in natural healing techniques. She left her management career in 1994 to teach others how to discover “stuck places” (blocked energy), release reactive responses and realize new ways of living life proactively. When spirit and emotions are healed, optimal physical living can blossom and thrive.

Classes with Yakira

Fabulous Fun Food Art - Kid's Camp Activity
Create art you can eat... lovely lions, teasing tigers and beautiful bears or how about creating a rocket or a ballerina or a plate full of food flowers. You imagine it, create it, write a story about your art. Then we will celebrate and have a FABULOUS FOOD ART FEAST!

Nature Art Classes - Kid's Camp Activities
Yakira is a talented artist who loves inspiring our youth to express their creativity and produce summer camp keepsakes.

Client Services with Yakira

60 Minute Massage

  • Release tension to experience deep relaxation.
  • Improve circulation.
  • Assist the body to detox.
  • Ease muscle pain.
  • Lessens the joint pains of arthritis.
  • Relieve the pain of fibromyalgia.

Intuitive Healing Session

  • Discover past life connections. How past lives can affect this life.
  • Womb discovery. Mother experience/child experience in the womb - the outcome.
  • What is your body needing? I will help you know specific foods your body craves.
  • And other messages divinely sent.
  • Through hand touch or through Massage.
  • Schedule an appointment for a consultation and together we will create your "Celebration of you - Living a Life Extraordinaire"!

Please note there are additional fees for Client Services, paid directly to the practitioner.

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

Mary J. Lore

Mary J. Lore is the founder and CEO of Managing Thought, LLC, which helps individuals and organizations develop self-awareness and change the way they think to attain profound change and long-lasting success. She is an internationallyrecognized thought leader, multiple award-winning author, executive coach, and mentor to key influencers and thought leaders around the world. 

 Her book Managing Thought: Think Differently, Think Powerfully, Achieve New Levels of Success and audio book Managing Thought: How Do Your Thoughts Rule Your World?® have received six best book awards in various categories including business motivation, conscious business and leadership, and enlightenment and self-help. Previous winners of the most recent award include the Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, and the Dalai Lama.   

Mary has devoted over thirty years to serving as a Certified Public Accountant, senior executive, crisis management and business start-up and turnaround expert, entrepreneur, and mentor to corporate leaders. Her background gives her the unique ability to apply her work to corporate culture, leadership, vision and strategy, creativity, communication, team building, motivation, and profitability. Her work is hailed internationally and is endorsed by corporate leaders, educators K-12, college professors, psychology professionals, spiritual teachers and executive, sports, and life coaches. 

Mary graduated valedictorian, with a BBA in finance anda minor in philosophy, from the University of Michigan-Dearborn College of Business. In 1997, she was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by the Alumni Society and was the chapter honoree for Beta Gamma Sigma in 2002. She served on the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council from its inception in 1993 to 2015. She was named one of Michigan’s Top 25 Women Business Owners of Distinction and her company was named one of Metro Detroit's Future 50 Companies for three consecutive years.

Managing Thought sprouted from an “aha” moment when Mary—feeling drained, unhealthy and completely out of balance—realized that she could take responsibility for her reality. She decided to apply the system of thinking and being that made her successful at work to change her entire life.

Mary, a CPA, is also certified in Gardening Fine Arts, as well as the practice of Dao-In, an ancient Chinese yoga practice. Mary enjoys camping, hiking, cooking, singing, traveling, and enjoying the company of family and friends. Her business, Managing Thought, is based in Denver, Colorado. She currently resides in Michigan and can be found at,, and

Classes with Mary

Welcome to Camp Sylvester!
Come one and all to the (Outside Picnic Area) to reconnect, meet new friends and learn what’s happening at this week’s camp.

Meet VEI’s Chairman and President, Sean Braniff; VEI’s Board Members, Michael Brown and Jean Richardson, and Retreat Director, Jeanne Grosset.

We have asked Mary Lore to help us get to know each other and set our intentions for an amazing week at Camp Sylvester.

Creating and Sustaining New Levels of Healthy Living - Lecture
Do you want health? Do you think your health could be better? Is it time to take your vision of health and healthy living to the next level? In this interactive workshop, learn:

  • How to know what’s working against you in your pursuit of healthy living.
  • How to re-imagine your vision of health and healthy living.
  • How to re-frame your goals and re-ignite inspiration.
  • Valuable Tips to create the next version of your highest vision of healthy living.

Transcending Stress - Lecture
Life is hectic. Work is fast-paced. Priorities change constantly.  Yes - "shift" happens. What we think, say, and do in these moments create who we are, how we feel, and what we experience at work and in life.  In this interactive session, award-winning author Mary Lore shares practical tools you can put to use immediately to understand what causes stress, and how to manage it, transcend it, reclaim your peace of mind , create profound change and your highest vision. 

Taking Care of Business, Starting and Running a Healthy Business - Panel Discussion
Panelists share challenges, successes, and lessons learned in starting, running and sustaining a business with products and services related to plant-based diets and healthy living e.g. restaurants; retail and wholesale stores; coaching, counseling and consulting practices, and; other holistic products, services, and practices.

Mastermind Session
Ask questions, get answers, share wisdom and counsel with fellow Campers.

This Camp brings together individuals from all walks of life, with diverse experiences, challenges and triumphs in vegetarianism, macrobiotics and healthy living. In this session, we tap into our wealth of knowledge and wisdom and serve as advisors and counsel to each other.  Mary Lore, who has taught thousands of leaders around the world how to powerfully conduct Masterminds, is facilitating this session.  Be prepared to give and receive!  Get to the core of an issue, achieve clarity, and create a forward path.

Kids Camp Welcome to Camp Sylvester - Kids Camp Activity
All kids and their parents/guardians are invited to the Outdoor Picnic Area to learn what’s happening at this week’s camp. Meet Retreat Director, Jeanne Grosset, the Kids Camp Counselors and Lifeguards.

We have asked Mary Lore to help the kids get to know each other and create their vision and commitments for being a great member of KIDs CAMP 2017.

That’s a Wrap! - General Session
Come one and all to the Outdoor Picnic Area for special announcements, thank you and closing messages withVEI’s Chairman and President, Sean Braniff and Camp Director, Jeanne Grosset.

We have asked Mary Lore to give us tools to help us put into action the intentions we’ve created after an amazing week at Camp Sylvester.

Client Services with Mary

Mary serves as a trusted guide, mentor, and mirror to help you discover and turn your highest vision and turn it in to reality. Mary has helped hundreds of adults, teens and pre-teens at previous camps to create a fulfilling life, relationship, family, career, business, academic study, consultation practice, wedding ceremony…. Mary helps you:

  • Gain clarity.
  • Discover what you truly want, what truly matters to you
  • Uncover and release thoughts that are not working for you.
  • Develop thoughts, practices, and rituals to achieve and sustain what you truly want
  • Choose your intentions and shape your thoughts to create inspired and actionable items.
  • Achieve a job well done and a life well lived.

Sign up for a 1-1/2 to 2 hour individual, couple or family session or join a group session with up to six participants.

Please note there are additional fees for Client Services, paid directly to the practitioner.

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

Chuck Lowery

Born, raised and still living in Southern California, Chuck was introduced to healthy lifestyles at age 22. A routine check-up opened his eyes when the doctor emphatically stated “Diet has nothing to do with your health!” Upon hearing that proclamation, Chuck went out and bought the book “You Are All Sanpaku” by William Dufty and read it while on vacation.

It was a life-changing experience.

As Chuck’s interest in the vegan-macrobiotic diet/philosophy grew, he studied and worked with Herman and Cornellia Aihara for more than two years. They inspired him to co-found Pacific Bakery, an all-organic, whole grain bakery with quality in mind. Twenty-plus years later, he sold the bakery and moved on to run for city council and is now Deputy Mayor of Oceanside, a position he still holds today.

Chuck will join us at this year’s camp. In addition to enjoying all Camp Sylvester has to offer, he will teach his home-made chapati/tortilla & pizza-making workshop. See details in the class schedule.

Class with Chuck

Chapati & Pizza Extravaganza: Back By Popular Demand!
It’s time to learn something completely different… and have fun doing it. 

Chuck Lowery, former owner-operator of Pacific Bakery in Oceanside, California, will take over the camp kitchen, make an essential dough, and fire up the stovetop to get cooking. If you’re one of the 15 who sign up to participate, you’ll do the same.

Anyone can learn to make a truly artisan bread starter. Brief printed instructions and overview in class will enable you to take your baking skills, whatever they may be, to greater heights. 

Mixing the dough by hand or machine, everyone will learn how to measure, shape and cook traditional chapati, a ancient form of tortilla. Using whole grain spelt flour, you’ll be amazed that such good food can be made with so few ingredients…and without yeast!

This workshop is moderately demanding and we will be moving rapidly around hot equipment. We will use the kitchen during the lunch break but no worries: Everyone will enjoy the day's lunch, but not all at the same time. Plan to bring a hair cover, wear long pants, and covered-toe shoes. An apron is a suggested.

Registration is limited.
Workshop fee of $25 includes basic recipes and delicious samples during the workshop.

The pizzas are consumed by workshop participants who will taste the fruits of their labors!

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

Tim Martinez


Tim Martinez works for a non-profit land conservancy to preserve, restore and protect open space in the San Gabriel Mountains. An expert on the uses of Southern California’s native plants, he is also an experienced macrobiotic cook and a graduate of Macrobiotics America - Macrobiotics Global Counselor Training Program. Tim is passionate about the history and traditional diet of his Mesoamerican and Celtic ancestors.

Classes with Tim

Rope Making, Primitive Fire & Cooking with Native Foods - "Hands on" Class
Learn the essential skills of the land! We will make cordage and soap out of the yucca plant and start our cooking fire with the hand drill the way our ancestors did. Sample acorn bread and other native foods cooked over a wood flame. Please bring a knife.

“It was the simple two-piece hand drill that the ancients revered... The ability to make fire in the wild is perhaps the most important survival skill one can possess - - literally the difference between a dark shivering death and a hot meal in the glow of a warming blaze. It cannot be taught by theory. Only through familiarity with the range of materials and techniques... in a variety of environments and by practice does the fire come forth."
-Paul Campbell

Edible & Medicinal Plant Walk - Hike and Learn
“People don’t protect what they don’t know.”
Identify common plants and learn their uses as we explore our surroundings. Learn to live in balance with your local environment, develop a relationship with the plants in your area and practice ethical harvesting in your own garden. Please dress appropriately and bring a canteen of water.

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

Saci McDonald

Saci has studied Energy Kinesiology (EK) since 1996; earning her certificate from The Kinesiology Institute under the leadership of John Maguire. She has been teaching EK domestically and abroad since 2012 and is currently on the faculty of the Kinesiology Institute. She has also been fortunate to have studied with two masters in the EK field, Dr. Sheldon Deal and Carla Hannaford, PhD. Saci has accumulated thousands of hours of experience working with clients in her private practice, the offices of chiropractors and the post-event therapy tents for athletic events. 

Saci undertook a 4 year apprentice in Breathwork starting in 1990 with Maia Dhyan. (Maia studied with worldwide Breathwork founders Leonard Orr and Sondra Ray.) Saci began leading Breathwork groups in 1991 and has done so ever since across the US and in the UK.

Classes with Saci

Ask, Listen & Respond with Energy Kinesiology - Cravings, Allergies and Addictions

In this fun and informative demonstration, we will explore Energy Kinesiology and the art of muscle testing. The focus will be cravings, allergies and addictions. Using volunteers among those attending, we will access the body's wisdom and discover what the body desires in order to return to balance and harmony.

Breathwork Circle
Breathwork- So simple- So effective- So safe

  • An easy way to a deep meditative peaceful state.
  • An easy way to connect your body and mind.
  • An easy way to feel centered.

Your breath:

  • Clears, cleanses and heals you physically, emotionally and spiritually.
  • Increases vitality, energy and enthusiasm.
  • Produces a profound sense of well-being, relaxation and bliss. 

To wear:  Loose comfortable clothing.
To bring:  Yoga mat, blanket, regular pillow and small pillow or towel.
** Please rest your digestion for 2 hours before class.

Client Services with Saci

Saci McDonald will offer private Energy Kinesiology sessions at the retreat, for more information about her work

Please note there are additional fees for Client Services, paid directly to the practitioner.

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Jessica Porter

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Jessica is author of The Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics (Avery, 2004) and co-wrote The Kind Diet with Alicia Silverstone. She has been practicing macrobiotics since 1991, managed the Way to Health Program at the Kushi Institute in the mid-nineties, and has worked as a traveling macrobiotic cook. She also teaches HypnoBirthing in Canada, the U.K., and throughout the U.S. She has created two hypnosis CDs for people practicing macrobiotics and one called HypnoParenting for the HypnoBirthing Institute. Jessica is a hypnotherapist and actress who makes her lectures funny, inspiring and informative.

Classes with Jessica

Surrendering to Seaweed - Cooking Class
This class is designed for all of us who find it hard to get those sea vegetables into our daily diet. We struggle, here is one of the planets greatest sources of bio-available minerals for better health and we just don’t like the taste, or the texture, there’s always some excuse. We avoid the slimy dishes even though their nutritious.

Come join Jessica for a class that combines the powerful practice of hypnosis with a cooking class to help you move beyond your sea vegetable blocks. Surrender to seaweed for a better tomorrow.

Homemade Seitan - Cooking Class
Seitan is a popular meat substitute used widely in the vegan world. There are many brands in stores - its quite popular - but the best, truly the best - is fresh homemade seitan from scratch. And it is really fun to make!

Explore creating high protein quick dishes for todays busy world.

Chew, Chew, Chew - Lecture
Chewing your food is so much more important than many of us realize! Come explore all the benefits of it in an entertaining and enlightening class with Jessica. Take the art of mastication to a whole new level.

Client Services with Jessica

Hypnosis for Healing
Drop some baggage at your campsite! With Jessica Porter as your guide, enjoy profound relaxation while identifying and releasing old emotional stagnation. Hypnotherapy helps with: smoking cessation, stress, phobias, insomnia, low self-esteem, co-dependency, and general stuckness.  Jessica specializes in childhood regression and does NOT do hypnosis for weight loss. 

Please note there are additional fees for Client Services, paid directly to the practitioner.

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Ginat Rice

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The art and science of hand analysis addresses both physical and psychological health, revealing our personality and the direction we are taking towards our fate. Hand analysis unveils conscious and even subconscious early childhood experiences and their adult manifestations to help us understand who we are and where we are going. 

Ginat Rice incorporates over three decades of macrobiotic principles of balance, diagnosis and food-body correlation in her presentation of personal life direction and meaning. She is author of Food, Faith & Healing: 40 Stories of Cancer Recovery and the cookbook, Macrobiotic Meals. Individual, personalized palm readings are available throughout camp.

Classes with Ginat

The art and science of palmistry is based on an understanding that the part reflects the whole. Palmistry is a convenient tool to assess both physical and psychological characteristics, revealing our qualities and the direction we are taking towards our destiny. We are free to change this at will, and watch the lines of the palm as they change!

The most important aspect of palm reading is to integrate the individual aspects of a reading for a complete understanding. This is both a technical process of interweaving the many disparate aspects revealed in the palm, and an intuitive, holistic sense that completes a reading.

NetHandYahu - Palmistry Lecture
This is the study of constitutional strength as seen in the hand. We’ll examine the palm, fingers and lines of Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and compare his findings to our own hands to get an idea of our personal power and native vigor.

Children’s Hands, Adult Hands - How Do We Know When We’re All Grown Up? - Palmistry Lecture
Understanding ourselves lets us know the forces influencing our lives so we can make choices and decisions from awareness & balance, and lets us make changes if we want to. This class will demonstrate what happens when grown ups exhibit babyish hand traits and how this affects our daly life.

Client Services with Ginat

Palmistry Readings
Ginat's hand readings incorporate macrobiotic principles of balance, facial diagnosis and food-body correlation to corroborate and clarify characteristics of the palm. The result is an accurate and fascinating understanding of oneself based on traits of early childhood behavior clearly revealed on the hands. 

About Ginat Rice, Palmist - Ginat interprets the palm on the physical and spiritual level, assessing body systems and their associated emotional/psychological meaning. Her deeply spiritual reading is possible from the open energetic channels she maintains from her more than three decades of macrobiotic study and practice. 

Please note there are additional fees for Client Services, paid directly to the practitioner.

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

Sheldon Rice

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Sheldon embraced a macrobiotic lifestyle that later helped him heal a serious illness in the mid 1980s. A powerful interest in numerology - interpreting a personality from a name and birthday - over the past fifteen years produced two books based on thousands of private readings, Getting to Know You: A Numerology Textbook, and Personality and Numerology: The Collective Behavior of Peoples from 21 Countries. Sheldon and his wife Ginat live on Israel’s Mediterranean coast where they have a center for macrobiotic studies, numerology, shiatsu and palmistry. They are the creators of the annual Whole Health Forum, a five-day natural health retreat near Jerusalem each May.

Classes with Sheldon

Numerology is a system of numerical calculations based on a person's birth name and date. A numerology reading is an analysis of one’s inherent traits–the energies with which one was born that describe one’s unique potential. 

Simple computations reveal ones strengths, weaknesses, innermost needs, emotional make up and inherent talents. Numerology allows one to discern his truest identity, how he fulfills his birth potential. Change is always accessible as an expression of free will.

Numerology "Relationships" - Lecture
What am I looking for in a relationship?
What kind of person turns me on or attracts me - What is the chemistry?
When difficulties arise in a relationship?
What should I do to sooth these difficulties?
What should I avoid doing?

Sheldon will discuss how to determine these traits, the meanings of each number and the harmony or disharmony of the two numbers related to relationships.

Numerology "Career and Money" - Lecture
Career fulfillment - What is the possibility of finding the right work to fulfill my needs?
Will I succeed or be appreciated?
Will I enjoy what I am doing?
What type of work suits me?
What work characteristics will bring me more money?

Sheldon will discuss how to determine these traits, the meanings of each number and the harmony or disharmony of the three numbers related to career and money.

Client Services with Sheldon

Numerology Readings for Individual or Couples
Do you want to know your purpose in life?
Are you confused or curious about your true strengths?
Are you in a new or long term relationship and want to know more about your mate, or your compatibility with someone important to you, a spouse, friend, lover or family member?

Numerology is a source of personality information including:

  • Who you truly are.
  • Your most compatible vocation and life path.
  • Relationships and adaptability.
  • Ability to feel and communicate emotions, to give and receive love and affection.
  • Relations with parents, children and relatives.
  • Emotionally and sexual relations; Physical compatibility with your partner.
  • You and money, business and possessions and income.
  • Ambitions individually and as a couple.
  • The current year in your life–opportunities, trends and influences.

Please note there are additional fees for Client Services, paid directly to the practitioner.

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

Jean Richardson

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Jean is President and Founder of Gold Mine Natural Food Company in San Diego. She has practiced macrobiotics for 40 years, studied with major teachers, and managed two macrobiotic restaurants in Boston. In 1985, Jean started Gold Mine, which carries a full line of macrobiotic staple foods. The company imports and distributes Ohsawa® brand organic/traditional macrobiotic foods from Japan, manufactures organic, raw sauerkraut and kimchi, and has been a supporter of French Meadows for many years. Jean has two daughters and three grandchildren.

Classes with Jean

Everybody Loves Tamales! - "Hands On" Cooking Class
Fun and Easy Tamale Workshop – Learn how easy it is to make them. Tamales can be frozen and reheated later. They make excellent fast food!

We will pre-mix organic masa and soak the corn husks. 
You will help chop veggies for fillings. You’ll learn how to make and fold them. Then we will steam them to eat later. It’s so fun and easy, it’s like playing with cookie dough. 
And, you get to take home the recipe.

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Anne Riegel

Anne is a graduate of Oberlin College, where she majored in philosophy and art. She has been involved with Macrobiotics since 1968 and was a member of the early Macrobiotic community in Boston. In 1970 she traveled through Central Asia studying ancient Buddhist art. She lived in Japan for two years (1971-73) and studied Macrobiotic cooking with Lima Ohsawa and other teachers, as well as tea ceremony, sumi-e painting, Japanese language and Asian art history.

Since the mid-‘70s, Anne has been a student of Anthroposophy, the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, founder of Waldorf Education and Biodynamic agriculture.  Since 1994, Anne has been involved in the production of Renewal – A Journal for Waldorf Education and is currently design director and assistant editor for the magazine.

From 1997 to 2007, Anne was a faculty member at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California, where she taught drawing, painting, nutrition, food preparation and Anthroposophy. Anne is also a musician, playing the piano, lyre and violin. In her artistic and musical activities, Anne is interested in exploring the threshold between the material and spiritual worlds.

Anne has two grown children, a cat, and a husband, Ronald Koetzsch.

Classes with Anne

Class One – Plant Observation
Contour drawing in black and white, using charcoal and pencil.

Class Two – Plant Observation
Effects of light and shadow, using colored pencil.

Class Three – Plant Observation
Effects of light and shadow, using colored pencil and ink.

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Masayo Sugimoto

Born in Japan and after extensive training and service there with Shumei, a spiritual fellowship, Masayo relocated to Shumei America's National Headquarters in Pasadena, California a decade ago.  Shumei promotes Jyorei, a healing art, and encourages the practice of Natural Agriculture, which is a means of growing food from pure seed in unamended soil. Having an appreciation for art and beauty is also an important practice within Shumei.

Masayo coordinates healthy lifestyle programs that include home gardening, healthy cooking classes with Jeanne Grosset, and sharing Jyorei healing energy.

Classes with Masayo

Purifying Morning Chanting “ Heavenly Chant”

Masayo will share an old Shinto style chant called “Amatsu Norito ( Heavenly Chant)” to help bring clarity, vitality and peacefulness for the day. The vibration of the chant will align your energy and purify all directions surroundings. It takes about seven minutes to intone the chant, and when you follow along, you will feel the energy coming from your inner body. 

After the chant, Masayo will offer individual Jyorei sessions (lasting five minutes or so) to anyone would like to receive during the program hour. Of course, anyone is welcome to remain in this calm and peaceful space for quite reflexation or meditation!

Client Services with Masayo

Jyorei – Spiritual Healing energy
No fees. Your donation will support our activities.

Jyorei is pure spiritual energy healing for all. It takes five to ten minutes. Receiving Jyorei is simple; just sit comfortably with your head up and eyes closed. Energy will be transmitted first to your forehead, then to the top of your head. It is very simple, profound and beautiful.

Jyorei brings inner peace, physical comfort, and emotional balance. It also appears to reduce stress and strengthen the immune system. Physical ailments can often show remarkable improvement, depending upon the amount of impurities that need to be removed. The ultimate purpose of Jyorei, however, is to increase overall health, happiness and harmony.

Featuring Wholesome Essence Products Sales Stand

Pure Soil, Pure Seed, Pure Heart

Wholesome Essence, Inc. nourishes communities with healthy, vibrant foods and other goods. All of our products are grown with love and care, and in harmony with nature using a sustainable farming method called Natural Agriculture (NA). NA growers do not use synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, or animal manure, but instead focus on building a balanced, ecological partnership between farmer, food, earth and eater. Fill your pantry with a Wholesome Essence foods such as ancient whole grain pasta, sweet rice and full-flavored olive oil and more.

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon

Shirley Tung


Shirley was born in Phoenix, is widowed, and has 2 grown sons. She has a BS in Nursing, a MA in Pastoral Ministry and a MA in Feminist Spirituality. Shirley has worked in medical/surgical nursing, emergency room nursing, office nursing, as a porta-medic (insurance physicals), in retail businesses and as a specialist in adoptions and foster care in Arizona. She is currently Manager of Real Estate and Coordinator of Refugee and Social Justice Issues. Shirley is an activist in political issues, frequently doing civil disobedience. She has taken classes for 17 years in Tai Chi and is now doing “weapons and 2 persons sets.” Shirley is a certified teacher of qi gong which can be found on the website of Master Hong and is also certified in Yang style Tai Chi with Kai Yung Tung, L.A. through David Block in Phoenix. She has taught Tai Chi and Qi Gong at Phoenix College, Sun City groups and at Camelback Inn Resort.

Classes with Shirley

Qi Gong - Activity
Literally - "Life Energy Cultivation" is a holistic system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing and meditation used for health, spirituality and martial arts training. With roots in Chinese medicine, philosophy and martial arts, qigong is traditionally viewed as a practice to cultivate and balance qi (chi), translated as "life energy".

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Cynthia Vann


Retired from the Air Force in 1993, Cynthia discovered macrobiotics at the Kushi Institute in 1995 which started her on a lifelong journey studying macrobiotics and its principles. She has attended Level studies at Kushi Institute and completed David Briscoe's counselor program. Cynthia has studied both iridology and sclerology incorporating eye studies into her counseling. She edited the Best of East West, 4 seasonal cooklets of recipes from the East West Journal in support of Planetary Health, Inc. and is a member of the Planetary Health board. She has written for both Macrobiotics Today and Amberwaves. She enjoys the outdoors and reading science fiction.

Classes with Cynthia

Topics to be announced - Macrobiotic Lectures

Click Here for our 2017 Class Schedule - 2018 Coming Soon