BY: JESSICA BEUKER
The smell of bug spray and campfire smoke wafting through the air. A slightly out of pitch voice singing Wonderwall. Ghost stories. Bunk Beds. Friendship bracelets. Apparently that’s what summer camp feels like.
Unfortunately for me, I never went to summer camp and therefore never had those experiences. My camp experience consisted of living vicariously through the kids in the movies. Which meant dreaming of sloppy Joe food fights in the dining hall with the Olsen twins a la It Takes Two, imagining what schemes we would cook up if I’d only found my long lost twin like Lindsay Lohan did in The Parent Trap, or hoping I’d have my first real kiss with a guy like dreamy, denim-wearing Andy from Wet Hot American Summer. Whatever it was, I longed to be a camper, but after a while it looked as though my chance had surely passed. Not quite.
Now these adult summer camps are here to save my inner child.
1. Camp No Counselors
This camp boasts all of the traditional camp activities from your childhood, but with an added adult bonus: all day open bar. With themed socials at night and a new take on slip n’ slide, Camp No Counselors offers a three day weekend of pure fun. The days are perfectly scheduled just like the good ol’ days, with an early breakfast, followed by two activity periods of your choosing, lunch, more activities, naptime, happy hour, dinner, camp-wide talent show or scavenger hunt and ending off the night with a dance party.
2. Camp Grounded
Branded as a place where adults go to unplug, get away and be kids again, Camp Grounded prohibits the use of wireless mobile devices and encourages campers to reconnect with each other and the environment. With focuses on personal freedom, creative thinking and individuality – each camper even gets their own nickname upon arrival. This camp is loaded with over 50 different workshops, arts and crafts, rock climbing, kickball, hiking, sing-a-longs, face painting and the classic capture the flag. Your inner 13-year-old is probably squealing with excitement.
3. Camp Throwback
A weeklong summer extravaganza, Camp Throwback is the creator of Drunk Field Day, which I can only assume is like track and field day but with a lot more booze. On Saturdays they even have a morning activity called ‘hangover yoga’. This camp is bursting with group activities, which means that you’ll likely go home with a few new friendship bracelets.
4. Camp Bonfire
Camp bonfire lets you mix and match your day to create your own unique schedule. There is something for absolutely everyone. If you fit in with the crafty folk you can choose from terrarium building, charcoal drawing, friendship bracelet making and letter writing. If you’re an adventure seeker, than perhaps zip-lining, kayaking, archery and survival skills are more up your alley. Maybe you just want to relax, in which case your schedule would be bursting with yoga, tai chi, cloud watching and silent hikes. And of course there is the every-person activity – freestyle rapping.
5. Soul Camp
Specifically tailored to immerse the body, soul and mind, Soul Camp – part of Camp Towanda – is nestled comfortably in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. This is the real location of Wet Hot American Summer, which means this camp will offer a familiar setting. A wide range of special activities selected to feed your mind and soul includes: dream catcher making, tarot card readings, Kundalini yoga and breathing classes. There are also educational classes available where you can talk about topics such as organic farming and self-love. If that isn’t enough to make you feel refreshed and renewed – all of the meals are prepared for you everyday by a certified health coach.
Adult summer camp is the perfect getaway for the kid that never got the chance to sleep under the stars, perfectly nestled amongst friends. It’s for the nostalgic, who long for a simpler time, when the worst thing that could happen in life was a leg full of mosquito bites and a sunburn on your back. It’s for the nine-to-fivers, who need a break from the world of email, Instagram, phones and clocks.
In a statement from Camp No Counselors founder, Adam Tichauer:
“We arrived at the camp in Upstate New York with no expectations and left the weekend recharged, alive and inspired by the amazing circle of new friends that we had all made. I watched in awe as we disconnected from our day-to-day lives and truly connected with each other, collectively becoming carefree kids once again. Epic dodge ball showdowns, tug-of-war matches, stellar slip ‘n slide runs, dance-offs under the stars and of course, Color War, became our weekend currency.”
It turns out my childhood dreams of sleepaway summer camp are not dead at all. I guess it’s time to dig out my strappy Velcro sandals, fleece pullover and bandana.