For adults of a certain age, those two words can evoke powerful memories of innocence and coming-of-age.
Perhaps those memories are of sleeping in cabins or learning archery. Perhaps they are memories of canoeing rivers, roasting marshmallows, participating in camp talent shows or playing games of capture the flag.
Perhaps summer camp is where you had your first kiss. Perhaps that kiss happened while you were sitting on a huge tree trunk that had fallen across a creek — you know, the one that’s behind the arts and crafts cabin — where perhaps Bridget Aubrey agreed to meet you after the camp dance and where she totally kissed you back but then told Hannah Laguna that she didn’t really like you, after which maybe Hannah told that to Damian Simmons who for some unknown reason felt compelled to share what he heard with everyone in your cabin, all of whom made you worried that you were a bad kisser and left you feeling desperate to avoid Bridget for the rest of your life. Um, you know, hypothetically speaking.
At Spot Cool Stuff, we were reminiscing about summer camps when a question popped in our heads: Are there camps where adults can relive, at least in part, the kid-like experience of being away at summer camp?
The answer, it turns out, is a resounding YES. In fact, there’s a whole website dedicated to cataloging adult summer camps.
Below, we’ve outlined four cool adult-only summer camps we found in our research. Each is located somewhere in the United States. Each have similarities to the sorts of sleepover camps children attended in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Each receives rave reviews from past participants, in part, we suppose, because Bridget Aubrey has to our knowledge never attended any of them.
What: A classic, faithfully-recreated summer camp experience. Campers eat together in the dining hall and sleep in cabin bunk beds. Activities include pillow fights, making friendship bracelets and campfire singalongs. The whole thing even takes place in a camp used by Boy Scouts in the 1970s.
Special feature: Camp Grounded places prime importance on leaving work on technology behind. Networking is strictly prohibited as are computers, cell phones and discussions about current events and other “modern” subjects. Even digital cameras are forbidden, though campers are encouraged to share photos — taken with an instant film camera.
Where: Anderson Valley, California
When: Three 3-day sessions every summer
Learn more: campgrounded.org
Adult Color Wars
What: Color-coded teams of adults compete at tug-of-war, water balloon fights, capture the flag and other classic kids camp events.
Special feature: It’s fun and it’s all for a good cause: raising money to help send (non-adult) children to camp.
Where: Malibu, California.
When: Twice per year in the spring and fall (and so, technically, we suppose it isn’t a “summer” camp).
Learn more: adultcolorwars.com
[ ALSO ON SCS: A Review of the Super Lightweight Osprey Exos Backpack ]
What: A women-only camp (no word if there’s a men-only camp on the other side of the lake) that’s partly about having kid-like fun and partly about mental and physical wellness. Activities in the former category include kickball, campfire games and a zip line. Included in the latter category: a “Sh*tty Mom Interactive Parenting Workshop” and sessions with life coaches, energy healers and relationship experts.
Special feature: There’s a psychic medium presentation in which campers can try to contact lost loved ones. Light as a feather, stiff as a board . . . .
Where: In Florida, California and other locations around the United States
When: 4-day camps take place at various times throughout the year. There are three scheduled for 2014.
Learn more: campowerment.com
Cabin-Time Art Camp
What: A self-described “roaming creative residency to remote places.” Artists and artsy-types find inspiration in each other and in the natural surroundings of an isolated location. There’s a huge emphasis on community with campers sharing chores, cooking group meals and helping each other with their creative projects.
Special feature: There’s a selective application process, with prospective campers chosen on the strength of their portfolio and their fit with a particular camp’s theme. For those who are able to participate, there’s an active alumni network.
Where: Varies. Past locations have all been in the United States.
When: The dates and duration of the camps seem vary randomly. Check their website for the latest.
Learn more: cabin-time.com