Camp No Counselors:  You Just Might Have the Time of Your Life…

I never attended summer camp as a kid, but I’ve seen Meatballs and Dirty Dancing enough times to know that I probably would have loved it. Bugs and uncomfortable beds aside, the idea of meeting people from all over the country – possibly the world – while enjoying the great outdoors and bumping and grinding with the likes of Patrick Swayze sounds delightful (ed. — Patrick Swayze never showed up at my Girl Scout camp!).

Alas my opportunity for summer camp has passed. Whether you’re like me and pine for the camp experience you never had, or have fond memories of long days by the lake that you’re dying to recreate, you’re in luck. Camp No Counselors (CNC) is a weekend getaway for grown-ups that takes the best parts of summer camp (endless days in nature, making new friends) with the best parts of being an adult (alcohol and freedom from the watchful eyes of counselors).

CNC began, unofficially, in 2013 when founder Adam Tichauer wanted to relive his childhood camp experience, so he gathered a group of friends and looked for a place to rent.  He was told his group was too small for a camp rental, so he rounded up his friends’ friends, and their friends, etc. and soon the group ballooned to 90. With a large enough crowd, he found a camp in Texas and created an unforgettable weekend for all (as well as an incredible business model, so it turns out).

This summer, there are 16 camps located throughout the United States and Canada, one of which is here in New England. Though it’s called the Boston camp, it’s actually located in Winslow, Maine.  Campers meet up in Boston and are bused north. That 3-hour trip is where the party starts, and it never truly ends, with mimosas and Bloody Marys served each morning, beer and wine at lunch, and an open bar all night.

I’ll admit that when I first heard about this camp I had images of shit-faced college kids, venereal diseases and mosquito bites in unmentionable places. What I learned, however, is that CNC is nothing like that. Yes, it attracts the younger set and yes, there’s plenty of alcohol, but the focus is more on making new friends (and there are no orgies or Tantric sex rituals to help that along).  Even run-of-the-mill hook-ups aren’t commonplace, as campers are kept so busy there’s not much time (or privacy) for bumping and grinding. In other words, this is no episode of “The Bachelor.”

The age range of your typical camper is between 26 and 34 and their backgrounds and lifestyles vary. Some are single, some are part of a bachelor/bachelorette party, some are coupled up – even married. Some come alone, others in big groups. Some people come to relax, others come for the activities. You create the weekend you want to have.

When you first board the bus in Boston, you’ll meet your “No Counselors” who’ll facilitate getting to know your fellow campers in a more meaningful way than “so, what do you do?” Once you arrive at camp, you’ll greet your new bunkmates and the fun truly begins. You can try activities such as archery, kayaking or zip-lining. You can get competitive with dodge ball, capture the flag or ultimate Frisbee. You can say “screw it” to all the activities and sit by the lake all day. No counselor will reprimand you for being lazy or not participating. And, unlike other adult camp experiences, there is no agenda; no cleansing rituals, mindfulness training or forcing you to turn in your cell phone (though cell service is limited, if at all, and there is no wifi). CNC is all about being laid back.

Three times a day, campers get together to share a meal. Unlike the summer camp of your youth, the food at CNC is actually tasty, with a full breakfast buffet each morning, and dishes like fish tacos, rosemary skirt steak and Texas barbeque, along with a signature cocktail, for dinner. Each night there’s a theme party where you can get into costume and let loose. The parties often go into the wee hours of the morning, as bonfires are lit and conversation continues to flow.

Though all that alcohol surely makes for a good time, the old fart in me felt concerned about putting a bow and arrow in the hands of someone who’s been drinking all day. I surely wouldn’t trust my 20-something self with any weapon after a breakfast of mimosas. Fortunately, however, CNC takes the safety of its campers very seriously and, while there’s plenty of alcohol, it’s not free-flowing all day while the activities are going on. And you will get shut off.

The bottom line: If this existed when I was single and young, I would have signed up faster than you can say, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” But sadly, like childhood summer camp, the CNC ship has also sailed for me – an almost 50-year-old mom from the suburbs. Maybe someday Adam Tichauer will create a getaway for middle-aged campers, replete with comfortable beds, Botox treatments and perfectly chilled rose. Until then, I’ll live vicariously.

The cost of a CNC weekend is all-inclusive, meaning you can leave your wallet at home. If this sounds like a fun weekend, register soon as camps do sell out. Check it out at campnocounselors.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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