No longer must we settle for living vicariously through our kids’ or grandkids’ summer camp experiences. Now we can relive, or experience for the first time, the joys of nature and hone our skills or pursue our passions — with like-minded grown-ups.
Today’s adult camps offer everything from music to sports, from cattle ranching to performing arts, and from weight loss to spiritual study. And the timing and costs also cover a wide range: You can go to a three-day day camp for as little as $150 or a weeklong camp with upscale residential quarters for as much as $2,700.
According to the American Camp Association, more than half a million adults attend camp each year, and that doesn’t include people who go to family camp with their offspring. The association has kept records on adult attendance for only the past five years, but it notes that in that period, the numbers are up by 20 percent.
Hitting the Camp Trail
Bruce Henderson is a 60-something school psychologist in North Carolina by day. But by night but he’s an amateur saxophone player whose dream is to perform in lounges and jazz clubs when he retires. Six years ago, in an effort to improve his skills, he enrolled at a summer jazz camp on the campus of California State University, Northridge. It was there he met members of one of his favorite groups, the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band, who were serving as faculty.
Henderson was hooked. So much so that each summer he checks out a different jazz camp. Last year he discovered Tritone Jazz at Naz at Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y., which inspired him so much he says he's returning this year.
“Jazz camp is an experience like no other,” Henderson says. “I keep coming back because of the bonding I have with fellow musicians through creating art and sharing a love of musical expression. And it’s not all work — we have some really great laughs.”
Whatever your fancy, there’s probably a summer (or winter) camp that specializes in it. Here’s just a sampling of what’s out there for the kid in us all.
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