More and more people across the country have been traveling to summer camps for adults in recent years.
There are multiple reasons why someone past their adolescence might look to return to summer camp. Perhaps they are feeling nostalgic for simpler times. Maybe they just want to spend some time outside. Or it could be that they’re simply looking for a weekend to feel good about themselves. (The American Camp Association told GrindTV that 92 percent of people who go to summer camp report improved self-confidence after attending.)
Regardless of your reason, there are dozens of summer camps across the country to choose from. But it can be hard to pick the right one, so we’ve profiled some of the more prominent options to help you decide.
What is Camp Bonfire?
Camp Bonfire is a camp for adults who want to relive the truest aspects of camp, with absolutely zero judgment. On its website, Camp Bonfire lists its philosophy as “We’re not here to fix you, cleanse you or launch you. We think you’re fantastic just the way you are. We’re here to be at summer camp, a place to relax, adventure and connect.”
How did it start?
“My business partner and I both grew up at the same summer camp, and he and I both went into event production in the professional realm,” Winterstein tells GrindTV. “He’s a theater artist and I’m a poet. One year, he decided to throw his 30th birthday party at the camp we grew up in.
“We participated in all the camp activities we used to and had a really great time together. And it planted this idea in our heads that it could really work. A year or so later, we saw a camp for adults out on the West Coast, and that was the kick in the pants we needed to start our own.”
What can you expect if you visit Camp Bonfire?
You can expect to enjoy the pure aspects of summer camp without any BS.
“Camp Bonfire is one of the only summer camps for adults that is just focused on fun,” says Winterstein. “It’s not about bettering yourself or about getting wasted. It’s fun-centered. There are plenty of opportunities to grow yourself or improve your habits outside of here, but there aren’t a lot of opportunities in the real world to just be somewhere and enjoy yourself.
“The fact that you can try 20 activities in one weekend is really appealing to people. It’s just a place to be joyful and reconnect with that inner part of ourselves that just likes having good, clean fun.”
Who’s the typical camper at Camp Bonfire?
“We get people who grew up at summer camp and loved it and want to go back and experience it again,” Winterstein says. “We have some people who felt they missed out by never going to camp, [and] some people who didn’t have a fun time at camp and want to reclaim that experience.
“But we don’t really have any specific ‘typical camper,’ and that’s intentional. We make a strong effort to make sure our campers have diversity in the cities they come from, in their racial and religious backgrounds and in their genders and sexualities. And we make sure every camper knows that the camp is designed to be a welcoming and inclusive space for all people.”
What sets Camp Bonfire apart from other adult summer camps?
It’s the most authentic recreation of the childhood summer camp experience.
“We’re on the smaller side, so it doesn’t feel like a faceless festival or an amusement park where you’re just getting shuffled from one spot to the next,” Winterstein says. “But, most importantly, we’re not using this as a vehicle for something else. This isn’t about spiritual enlightenment or launching your brand or breaking bad habits. We’re using it for what camp is about: getting out in nature and focusing your time and energy on having fun.”
Anything else we should know?
“There’s space for 175 campers at each session, so if you want to book a weekend, make sure you do so quickly,” Winterstein explains. “We intentionally keep each session small to build community. We think that with that number of campers, by the end of the weekend everyone’s face will be recognizable and easy for you to connect with.”
For more on Camp Bonfire, including locations and weekend availability, head over to the camp’s website.
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