Frequently Asked Questions

Please take a good look at the FAQ below before contacting us. Of course, you can always contact us at

In General, What Do I bring?

There is a packing list on the FAQ. The accommodations are rustic - it's like camping in a cabin, but with hot showers. Please bring your own linens/sleeping bag, pillows, towels, soap, toothpaste and positive attitude. The main thing you need to know is that the cabins are not heated. It gets chilly when the sun goes down, so please bring some clothes for warm days and cool evenings/mornings. An electric blanket is a good idea - there are outlets near every bed. This is the last weekend of summer, so we just don't know if it's going to be hot or cold. Keep yourself posted on the weather, and come prepared for either so you can be comfortable. You can bring a space heater if you wish, but the camp will want to check them out to make sure they are fire-safe.

Please bring instruments - we provide as many instruments as possible, and we provide rentals for certain items, but it is always better if you bring your own djembe, conga, cajon, frame drum, Brazilian percussion, etc. so that we have have more instruments for folks who don't own any.

What is the weather like out there?

The past couple of years have been in the 70s and 80s during the day, and in the 40s, 50s, and 60s at night. Please look at the weather online for examples in that area around the time of camp. Use "Reeders, PA" for the most accurate weather, since we are in the mountains. We have put in a request for the best weather possible as always, but you never know. Because we are due west of NYC it should be the same weather as there, except evenings and mornings are cooler. Please see the "In General, What do I bring?" for more on this.

Which airport should I fly into?

The Retreat is only a couple hours from New York City, and we have Wula Bus transportation available from New York City to and from the Retreat. If you are planning on renting a car or getting picked up somewhere, EWR airport in Newark, NJ is much closer and you can skip the whole NYC traffic, etc. Most folks flying in should fly into any New York City Airport and then take the Wula bus.

The airport closest to the Wula Bus in Harlem is LGA (LaGuardia).
Other airports in the area are JFK International and EWR (Newark, NJ).

You can take public transportation (NYC Subway, Long Island Railroad, other trains) from ANY of these airports to the exact block where the Wula Bus stops in Harlem (149th + 7th Ave. or 2580 7th Ave New York, NY 10039).

What Class Level am I? Where do I go?

You will notice when the schedule comes out that classes are organized by level (beginner, advanced, etc.) We don't do auditions or placements but the basic idea is: please don't go to an "Advanced" class if you are not an "Advanced" drummer. The beginner classes have plenty of action, and Advanced does not necessarily mean "faster" or "more exciting". Please be modest and start small - there is plenty of opportunity to grow over the course of the weekend. You are always welcome to watch! 

Can I bring my kids?

Yes.  All tickets include a pull-down option for a kids rate. Youth Rates are published on the Tickets and Rates page. Kids 6 and under are FREE. If enough kids sign up, we will have youth programming for part of the event. There is no childcare provided at the Retreat, but kids are welcome to watch classes and to participate if they are old enough.

Are the cabins heated?

No.  Sorry.  Although there are hot showers and beds in every cabin, they are not heated and you will need to prepare for this like a Fall camping trip.  Bring a good sleeping bag and/or extra blankets and warm clothes for sleeping.

I forgot to get a bus ticket, what should I do?

Please go back to the Registration store and checkout with a bus ticket so we have you on the list! Go back to "Register" and add the bus tickets you need to your cart.

Do you have bottled water?

No. There are plenty water fountains at the camp so please bring your water bottle! (see "List of what to bring")

Do I need to rent a djembe?

Yes, if you want to take djembe classes, you will need your own drum. You are welcome to bring your own, arrange to use a friend’s, or rent from us. More information about instrument rentals can be found on the info page under Instrument Rentals.

Do I need to rent a dundun?

Yes, if you want to take dundun dance classes with M'Bemba Bangoura, you will need your own drum. You are welcome to bring your own, arrange to use a friend’s, or rent from us. 

Dundun rentals are only for the dundun dance classes with M'Bemba Bangoura. On the 2018 schedule there are 6 dundun dance classes.

Due to the popularity of the dundun dance class, we can't provide “extra” drums for the class unless - you need rent one in advance or bring your own.

Dundun Rentals include basic drumsticks to use and return to Wula.

More information about instrument rentals can be found on the info page under Instrument Rentals.

What time does the bus leave?

Please refer to the "Plan your Trip" section for all current information.

What is Drum Building, how do I sign up?

Drum Building is hands-on instruction from our production manager in Guinea in building a djembe, starting with a finished shell with fitted rings. For more Drum Building information please see this news post.

I'm coming with my spouse/friend/etc. - can we have our own cabin?

The Pocono Valley Resort is a venue with large cabins designed for groups (8 to 14 bed cabins). There are also a small number of small rooms in a lodge with shared bathrooms. To accommodate couples and others wanting their own space, we use some of the cabins as "Private Housing" as well.

Here’s the thing: We have about 20 “units” of Private Housing available, and they are in very high demand. When we open registration in January or February it's a race for private space! We are usually sold out of Private Housing by the end of February. If there are Private Housing products available on the Retreat store where you buy your tickets, that means we still have them! If not, that means we are sold out of Private space. 

There are some other options too, including staying in a nearby hotel - please read here for privacy options.

Did you put me in a cabin with the people I requested on my registration?

Yes. Unless we make a mistake or contact you specifically to clarify your request, we always put you where you ask to be.

It's really easy for us if you and your friend BOTH write each others names in your registration, but the minimum amount of information we need is for one person to write the other person's name.

Please read more about Housing Arrangements here.

None of those tickets work for my schedule, can I come from ___ to ___?

This is a Retreat, so it is designed to dive in and go deep. For this reason, we provide a variety of ticket options for different schedules and budgets. We want as many folks as possible to enjoy the Retreat, so over the years we've added more and more options.

  • There are many ticket options - please find one that fits your schedule

  • Every ticket is all-inclusive, there is no discount for "I won't eat lunch there on Friday, how much would that ticket be?"

  • Please don't just show up in Pennsylvania... you need a ticket to get in!

How much would the ticket be if I...

  • Don't eat the food - same price, no discount, all tickets are all-inclusive!

  • Arrive at night but my ticket started at 4pm. - same price, no discount.

  • Camp at the resort in my own tent - same price, no discount.

  • Stay at the resort in my own RV - same price, no discount.

  • Don't stay on campus - "Hotel discount" of $25 per night, per person.
    Click here for more information.

  • Don't take classes - we have a ticket for that! It's called the "Supporter" ticket. All tickets have a separate option and price for "Supporter" (somebody who is at the Retreat but does not take classes). Simply go through as if to buy a regular ticket but select the "Supporter" option.

Can I get a discount? 

There are two ways to get a discount at the Retreat:

1.) Sign up early to get the Early Bird Discount

2.) Bring more people for a Group Discount. If you bring a group of 10 people, we'll give a of 5% off the total. Please read this information about the Group Discount.

3.) Workstudy/Scholarship. If you truly can’t afford the cost of the event, you can apply for a Workstudy position.

Your ticket price includes all our costs, from paying John to type this FAQ, to renting trucks to bring down all the equipment, to buying plane tickets and providing good salaries for our faculty.

If you do write us to ask for a discount, please let us know what you can offer in exchange in these crucial areas, and we can consider working out an exchange:

  • Help with the Wula Wellness team: massage, yoga, meditation, etc.

  • Major transportation to the Retreat (buses for people, trucks for instruments)

  • Chaperone services for kids programming

  • Printing services (print 400 schedules, maps, etc.)

  • Clothing racks, display racks, drum racks, etc. for Wula Store

  • Provide sound re-enforcement services for Saturday concert

  • Professional videography services

  • Professional photography services

  • Digital design services

  • Professional publicity and promotional services

Can I Cancel my registration?

We hope you don’t need to, but if you must cancel, our policy is you must cancel more than one week before the start date of the Retreat. We will only keep a $25 fee (per person) and refund the rest. Please give us 1-2 weeks to refund you.  

If you cancel within one week of the beginning of camp, or after camp starts, we cannot refund you. This is because we have to pay the camp in full before everyone arrives so they can make all their preparations.  Please let us know more than one week in advance by emailing

If I bring my RV, will it be in a parking lot or a wooded area?

RVs park in the Auxiliary parking lot, which looks like this:

Auxiliary Parking Lot - RV area

As specified in the Camping section, here are no RV hookups, but you can use the facilities in the nearby Lodge (bathroom, shower, etc.).

List of what to Bring


  • Warm clothing for evenings
  • Cool clothing for day-times
  • Loose, comfortable clothing for dance classes
  • Check the weather and bring appropriate gear (hot/cold, sun/rain)

Sleeping Gear

  • All linens - The cabins include a simple mattress (see image), but you need to bring everything you want to sleep on:
    • A cold-weather sleeping bag or equivalent with a pillow and extra blanket
    • Extra blankets for folks who forget to bring blankets! (Bring blankets)
    • (Safe, Fire-Resistant) Electric blanket or Space Heater

Toiletries and Supplies

  • All bathroom supplies you might need - soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.
  • Towels (good to have 2 in case one doesn't dry in time)
  • Shower shoes
  • Extra supplies to help with lots of drumming and dancing, e.g. shae butter, salves, ointments, bandaids, athletic tape, rehydration packets, ibuprofin, etc. 


  • If you have drums, please bring them with you
  • Please bring instruments for others to use, if possible
  • Anything you want to show off for student performances
  • Instruments to play around the campfire
  • Instrument maintenance supplies
  • A comfortable way to move around the Retreat grounds with your drum - a high quality bag with backpack straps or a small cart are two options.


  • Yoga Mat for Yoga and Meditation classes
  • Fabrics, flags, etc. to decorate your cabin/remember where you live
  • Your preferred snacks (we provide all food and snacks but you might like your own thing)
  • Your preferred drinks
  • Earplugs
  • Swimming suit for the swimming pool
  • Comfortable walking shoes to get around camp
  • Sunscreen
  • Audio recording device & camera
  • Wifi device for wifi (available near the camp office only)
  • Smartphone to access the digital Retreat program
  • Money for the marketplace (Wula Drum store, lots of other vendors, t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc.)

Driving Directions, Mileage, MARTZ bus

Directions to Pocono Valley Retreat Center

Pocono Valley is located in the heart of the Pocono Mountains, conveniently located within 2 hours of both New York City and Philadelphia. 

The Official Address of the Pocono Valley Resort is:

300 Camp Akiba Rd, Reeders, PA 18360

You may see it come up as this after you type it into Google Maps:

300 Camp Akiba Rd, Stroudsburg, PA 18352

Stroudsburg and Reeders are both fine, as long as you are going to 300 Camp Akiba Road you'll make it there!

Driving Directions

From East: (NYC) Take Interstate 80 (I-80), then follow directions below:

After Stroudsburg:

  1. Take exit 302 toward State Route 611/Bartonsville 0.4 mi
  2. Merge onto PA-33 N 203 ft
  3. Turn left onto PA-611 N 1.0 mi
  4. Turn left onto Golden Slipper Rd 1.6 mi
  5. Continue onto Bartonsville Wood Rd 1.3 mi
  6. Continue onto State Route 3028/Bartonsville Woods Rd 1.1 mi
  7. Turn left onto Neola Rd 0.7 mi
  8. Take the 1st right onto Camp Akiba Rd/Smith Hill Rd
  9. Continue to follow Camp Akiba Rd

From the west: (Pittsburgh) Take Interstate 80 (I-80), then follow directions below

  1. Take exit 284 toward PA-115 S 0.4 mi
  2. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Lake Harmony/Brodheadsville and merge onto PA-115 S 10.2 mi
  3. Turn left onto State Rd 1.1 mi
  4. Continue onto Sugar Hollow Rd 1.8 mi
  5. Sharp right onto PA-715 S/Sugar Hollow Rd
  6. Continue to follow PA-715 S
  7. Turn left onto Akiba Rd
  8. Destination will be on the right

Miles To Camp from: 

NYC: 90 miles

Philadelphia, PA: 90 miles

Morristown, NJ: 67 Miles

Rochester, NY: 257 Miles

Chicago, IL: 707 Miles

Albany, NY: 174 Miles

Hartford, CT: 185 miles

Ottawa , Canada: 586 KM

Toronto, Canada: 634 KM

Ashville, NC: 637 Miles

Pittsburg: 286 miles

Atlanta, GA: 828 Miles

Nashville, TN: 832 Miles

Boston, MA: 294 Miles

Washington, DC.: 224 miles

Ann Arbor, MI: 528 miles

Peurto Rico: 1,693 miles

Conakry, Guinea: 4,336 Miles

Bamako, Mali: 4,493 MIles

The Moon: 238,900 MIles

Public Transportation

Take MARTZ TRAILWAYS Bus to either of the Stroudsburg stops (there are two, they are right near each other)

Then you will be a 20 minute drive from the Retreat - you'll need to get an Uber, or a Taxi, or use the Retreat Forum to find others who are coming on the bus to share these costs with.

As of 9/5/18 the round-trip fare is $71.75.

Check in for Retreat

Please consider the arrival time on your ticket. All arrivals (except Saturday day tickets) are at 4pm. so that you can be in your cabin by 5 pm., join us for dinner, and then dive in. 

If you want to take any classes before 4 pm., you need to buy the Ticket Extender Add-On for $75 - then you can arrive at any time after 8am on the day of your ticket!

When you arrive at the Retreat, please:

  1. Check in at Registration - follow signs from the parking lot when you arrive.
    • Tell us your name/the name of the person who bought the ticket
    • Get your cabin assignment
    • *If you have a "One-Nighter" ticket, you will need to put a credit card on file (like a hotel), which will be released when you check out.
  2. Settle up any remaining balance or ticket adjustments
  3. Do not drive your car onto the Retreat grounds - all vehicles can only be in the parking lot. We have a crew with golf carts that will help you get your luggage to your cabin. 
  4. Get settled in your cabin and then dive into the Retreat!