T R A V E L Summer camp for baby boomers? Yes, that’s a thing. And it’s probably great if you loved summer camp the first time around when you were 10 years old. Or if you never had the summer camp experience back then and want to see what all the fun is about. If your only summer camp experience was not having a belt to hold up your shorts and resorting to using the rope that came with the duffel bag, it may be more of a “not so much” proposition. (Yes, that was my camper experience. My belt was at the bottom of my brother’s duffel bag…a fact that he denies to this day).
Camps geared to adults are becoming a big deal. According to the American Camp Association, about a quarter of their accredited camps offer adult-only programs. Prices range from $375 on the low end to more luxurious camper digs for $1,170. Adults in their 60s and 70s are signing up in big numbers.
Canoeing, swimming, archery, tie-dyeing and crafts are still mainstays of the camp experience. But the counselors are there to provide support rather than keeping an eye on rambunctious kids. There is still storytelling and singing songs around the campfire, so nostalgia is very much a factor if you’re wondering what would motivate a 70 year-old to sign up for summer camp.
My memories are a little fuzzy (except for the missing belt….that part is seared into my brain), but I remember the canoes being fun and we made potholders (OK, hotpads for some of you) to bring home to Mom. The highlight for me was making a lanyard out of something called gimp. I think we were supposed to use the lanyard to hold a key. I didn’t own a key so it’s unclear what use I would make of it, but I was pleased that I could learn how to do a box stitch to create a multi colored marvel. Little things can entertain little minds.
I get why a baby boomer would want to relive summer camp life, especially if the away camp experience was the highlight of their adolescent years. I’m going to stick with independent travel that does not include potholders and gimp. And I’m going to wear one belt and pack a second one just in case.
Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He’s written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.