Summary of “Summer camp for adults? Bring on the s’mores! – Experience Magazine”

Everyone is headed to Club Getaway, an all-inclusive, weekend-long sleep-away camp for grown-ups in Kent, Conn. For the next 48 hours, they will sleep on scratchy mattresses in no-frills bunk beds, clamber onto huge inflatables in a lake, play tennis and tug-of-war, all as part of an increasingly sought-after experience: summer camp for adults.
Across the country, adult summer camps take pains to replicate the lost days of youth, right down to the campfires, s’mores, mess hall meals, and classic activities such as tennis, swimming, archery, volleyball, water skiing, and arts and crafts.
There is Camp Bonfire in Philadelphia, Camp Rahh in Seattle, Camp Halcyon in Wisconsin, and Camp No Counselors in multiple locations throughout the U.S. Some are alcohol-free or electronic-device-free; others, like Camp Camp, cater to a specific clientele, in this case the LGBTQ community.
Penny Harvey, a PhD sociology student at Georgia State University who worked as a camp counselor for seven years, says summer camps serve an important purpose for adolescents and adults – allowing them to escape from their day-to-day personas.
“People are able to show up and say, ‘This is who I want to be here.’ You don’t get many chances to be unknown somewhere for a limited time, and have the opportunity to be at a place where you can reinvent yourself,” says Harvey, whose master’s thesis is entitled, “It’s Camp: Summer Camp Culture, the Renegotiation of Social Norms and Regulation of Gender and Sexuality.”
“Adults want to create those bonds again and recreate a camp family,” Harvey says.
As campers finish lunch, color war team leaders are announced, and the adults come running out waving large colored flags.
Marisa Mahler, a clinical psychologist in private practice in New York City, has spent the last two summers as co-director of camper care and camp psychologist at Camp Ramah in New York, a summer retreat for kids.

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