Megan and I went to summer camp a few weekends ago. Yes, Megan and I are adults. You're probably very confused so I'll start at the beginning; Three years ago, I had one of the best summers of my life. One of my best friends, Ash and I were recently single and going on every adventure we could think of. We went to Mexico to swim with whale sharks, we went to Firefly music festival up in Delaware, we went to the mountains and to the beach and last but not least we went out on a limb and signed up for Camp No Counselors. It was something we had seen on Facebook and it looked fun. And no, Camp No Counselors is not giving me anything for writing this (although I mean, I would totally take a bonus free camp weekend haha).
For those of you who have never heard of it, you should seriously look into it. It's literally an adult summer camp squeezed into three days. Camp No Counselors rents out a kids summer camp for a long weekend and a bunch of adults go and just have fun (with the help of an open bar). They have all the activities open (a ropes course, canoeing, water skiing, arts n crafts, kickball, archery etc) but there's no requirements to go to any of them. You should sign up for stuff to be polite but you can always just wander around and try stuff out. You sleep in cabins, you eat in a mess hall, and there's nightly themed danced parties and a talent show (participation is luckily voluntary). There are no counselors but there's a group of awesome people called "non counselors" who are there to make sure everyone's having fun without accidentally burning the camp down or drowning in the lake.
That first summer Ash and I went to the Nashville camp and made lifelong friends we still keep in touch with. The second year, I went to New York camp with Megan and this past year Megan and I went to Nashville. They have camps all over the country though. I plan on going back every year because it is such an awesome reset for me. They encourage you to stay away from your phones (there's a photographer who takes pics all weekend so you don't even need to use your phone for that) and to make connections with people based on stuff other than what you do for work (which as adults tends to become the main topic of conversation a lot and let me tell you, it is SO refreshing to not talk about work- even though you know we love it- for three whole days) Here's some frequent reactions and questions I get about camp.
1. How old is everyone? I would say most people are 20-mid 30s but there are definitely a few older people.
2. Is it a giant orgy? No. Yes, camp romances happen (would it be summer camp without them??) but for the most part it's pretty discreet.
3. Is everyone wasted all the time? There are definitely a few people who are drunk the entire time but for the most part the people who go are people who actually want to do the activities and have fun and no one wants to puke their brains out while playing capture the flag or fall repeatedly off the rock wall. Yes, the dance parties get a little crazy but it has never felt unsafe or obnoxious to me and I know a few nondrinkers who go and love it.
4. Do I have to be super outgoing? No. I'm kind of shy and I make friends. There's enough friendly people to go around. If you're shy maybe bring a friend, but plenty of people go alone and like it more than going with a group. You meet people and not in a forced way.
5. Is it as druggy as a music festival? I've smelled weed a few times but other than that I've never seen or been offered any drugs which honestly surprised me my first time but again it's just not really that kind of environment. People genuinely are there to make friends and have fun DOING stuff and that's what makes it awesome.
6. What kind of activities do they have? If you went to summer camp as a kid they have all that stuff and more and the talent show is even better because some of the fellow "campers" are like actual song writers or stand up comedians in real life. Also, if you're not athletic (like me!) you're fine. They have arts and crafts and a water front and really non judgmental people if you do decide to go out on a limb and play kickball. Oh and sometimes you hike to a cool lookout for happy hour!
7. Its kind of expensive! Yea but like so is any vacation. And everything is included from the alcohol, to the food, to the T-shirts they pass out at color war (which is like a camp-wide relay race that ends in a flip cup slip n slide battle- pretty much the coolest thing ever).
8. What's the shower /bathroom situation? It's one step up from a music festival. If you need to have makeup on every day, your hair curled and private bathroom...camp might not be for you. Bunks are co-ed. You don't get a ton of sleep and it's a little more "roughing" it than that cabin you booked on Airbnb last fall. But it's totally worth it (for me at least).
Megan and I are definitely going again next year. We'll probably do the Nashville one again but Denver also sounds fun. Let us know if you decide to go!