🎉 Want to go to CNC this September? Use code ALEXSHEBARCNC for $50 off!
A few weeks ago, as summer was starting to creep into the season, Shamaine told that she’d never had a sleepaway camp experience (in her words “it’s not a thing we do in the UK”), and being the nice Jewish boy I am who spent many-a-summer away at camp, I made it my mission to change this.
One search later and I stumbled upon Camp No Counselors, which is exactly what I was looking for: Its camp. It’s for adults. It’s all-inclusive and that includes booze. Who wouldn’t want to be there?
A few back-and-forths later and we were invited down to try this experience and cover it for you all. And like a zipped-up sleeping bag, cover it we will!
SLEEPAWAY CAMP FOR ADULTS?
Response number one: “What! Does that exist? I want to go!”
Response number two: “… why would someone do that?”
I, as it may surprise no one, fall squarely into the former. I love doing the fun, the weird, the wild, the absurd. The more nostalgia the better. If it’s a hipster or millennial or eyebrow-raising, I want in.
Here’s what Camp No Counselors says about themselves:
Camp No Counselors provides all-inclusive adult summer camp experiences, hosted at world class summer camps in New York, California & Florida.
Our purpose is to bring people together and build better connections.
Camp No Counselors is an Escape to Happiness. A place to disconnect from the real world and enjoy just having fun as adults.
The Camp No Counselors packages include: accommodation, drinks, meals, nightly socials and all of your favorite classic camp activities!
WHAT DOES SOMEONE DO AT CNC?
Now, you might be asking, what does one do at a sleepaway camp for adults? Well, let me tell you.
We came in from NYC, where we were able to book a bus with everyone else traveling out of the city. Right away we knew this was no ordinary field trip when we were handed hard seltzer after the bus took off. Yes, please.
When we arrived, we were given our bunks, given dinner (pizza for the first night), and then were able to socialize and chat around the space, which eventually turned into chats around the fire.
The next two days were pretty similar with one big exception*. You wake up in the morning and come to breakfast, which was, of course, filled with people in warm morning clothes (that often consisted of adorable onesies).
After that, the day was yours, and you could do everything from
Archery • Ropes Corse • Swimming in a pool • Swimming in a lake • Kayaking • Canoeing • Arts and Crafts • Tubing • Dodgeball • Tennis • Lawn games • Basketball • Volleyball (sand and pool) • And of course, massive amounts of the boozing.
On that note, the drinks were top, top-notch. I was kind of expecting terrible beer all weekend long, but no! They had Fat Tire Beer, Fruit Smash Hard Seltzer, Austin Eastciders (a personal favorite from our Austin days), Volley Tequilla Seltzer, and even Swoon Lemonade if your liver needed a break!
Also, the food, pretty decent. It was your standard camp fare (pizza, tacos, burgers and hot dogs, etc.) but always cooked fresh and full of flavor and even came with a pretty decent salad bar for lunch and dinner. Did not expect that. Plus they went super out of their way to take care of people with food issues.
One of the people I met there had a ton of allergies, issues, and intolerances and they went out of their way to cook things she could eat and, more importantly, enjoy solid.
Then, after dinner, the camp became a party, and I mean a party – DJ in the cantina, lights, ever-flowing drinks, people getting drunker and drunker. You know how these things go.
On the final night, they even had a live band (Scranton’s own Modern Ties) and it was awesome. I also realized it was the first time I had heard live music in over a year and then I got all kinds of emotions as they were rocking out to some Blink 182.Now, I did mention one exception, and let’s get to that now, because it’s time for…
Ah, good old camp Olympics, when you’re arbitrarily put onto a team and suddenly you hate everyone else on every other team just for arbitrarily being put onto that team.*Shaking fists at grey team! Damn you grey team!*I kid, but like, not really. There’s nothing like a rivalry and oh man does it start when this starts. Camp Olympics is a half-day experience that starts as soon as you throw on your colored shirt.
We kicked it off with a giant rock, paper, scissors tournament and from there it was a series of challenges (dodgeball, volleyball, flag making, lipsynch contest) all culminating in a camp-wide relay race.
This last part was insanity as it combined different stages across the entire camp. People swam across pools, hurled themselves down waterslides, popped balloons, and spit out pudding into a cup held in someone else’s mouth (I may or may not have participated in that last one).
The whole race ended with a giant slip-and-slide into a game of flip cup, because, of course, it did. How else could it end?
A few thoughts about camp Olympics. First, a lot of fun when people got into it. Second, not everyone was into it. Our team consisted of a lot of members of a bachelor party who couldn’t care less about the whole thing, which kind of brought our team down. In fact, they struggled to get people to sign up for a few of the stations.
This was the only time during the weekend where activities felt forced, a jarring difference between the “do whatever you want and enjoy it” kind of vibe the right of the camp had.
I actually really enjoyed the whole thing because I was in, “screw it, let’s try everything and do it to the max” kind of mode and it was a blast, but others were clearly not and it kind of brought it all down. Not sure how to fix that because it’s easy to see that Olympics are a staple of the CNC experience, but it’s also easy to see that a bunch of drunk, chilling millennials may not feel the “everyone do things together whether you want to or not” atmosphere they were putting together.
Anyway, what I’m saying is, if you go, just do it. You’ll be happy you did, damnit.
Of course, there were theme nights. Did you not think there would be theme nights?We had two and it does seem like they change from camp to camp, but ours were Wild West:
And Disney, because the house of mouse clearly controls everything up to and including our drunken themed parties:
Ain’t nothing wrong with a costume party.
ANYTHING YOU DIDN’T ENJOY AT CNC?
Wellllllllll, not so much as didn’t enjoy, but would change if I had a chance:
Before I arrived, I was a bit worried about being… what’s a nice way to put it… old as hell compared to some of the other people there. At 35, I’m not ancient but I’m also not a little spring chicken. And as I boarded the bus, followed by a group of 20-somethings for a bachelorette party, that fear did not go away. I had nothing to fear though as the ages ranged from 21 all the way up to 60. Although to be fair, it does seem like the older you were, the fewer people your age there were. You wouldn’t be out of place if you were, say, 50, but you would be in the minority for sure.
Additionally, when you sign up for CNC, they send you a list of things it says to pack. Most of it is pretty standard (shirts, workout shorts, shoes for the previously mentioned activities, sunscreen, etc.) However, there were a few items like old-school camp tube socks and onesies that they said we’d need and so we bought them and then never really used them. Ah well, still fun.
I will also say that at night, like previously mentioned, the evening becomes one gigantic party, which is a lot of fun… if you want to dance and drink. I loved it the first night, but after meeting some really, REALLY excellent people the next day, I would have loved to just chill with them somewhere else. It would have been nice if they had something else to do in the evening besides drink and dance: A movie night, board games, etc. Something that’s a little more chill if you don’t want to go 24/7 all the time.
Also, no capture the flag? What kind of camp has no capture the flag! (Ok, now I’m just whining).
That’s really about it for my complaining though, and again, not even really complaints. More like nits to pick if I had to nitpick anything.
YOUR FINAL THOUGHTS?
Turns out sleepaway camp for adults is a messy and beautiful four days that lies somewhere between an all-night college party and a nostalgic trip into your childhood. You think that might be an insane mix and, hey, at times it is – but it’s also exactly what you need right now, especially after this last year.
The truth is, the four days were amazing. If it wasn’t apparent from the photos above, the experience was incredible. Just getting out of the city and into nature (even if it was drunken fun nature) was as amazing as the people I met.
When we were leaving, people were already talking about signing up to come back for the Labor Day session, if that shows you how people felt about it, and I’m already planning on meeting up with a few people in the city that I really got along with.
So, whether you’re the first person mentioned before who can’t wait to try it or the second, who can’t understand why anyone would go, hopefully, you’ve been swayed into thinking again about some drunken nostalgic fun. Because there was plenty of all three for sure.
Moose. Alpaca. Moose, moose, alpaca.🎉 Learn more about Camp No Counselors here. Use code ALEXSHEBARCNC for $50 off the September session.