I sit on my couch covered in aloe vera on my sunburnt bits and hydrocortisone cream on my mosquito bitten bits, the faint whir of my dryer working on the second of three loads of bonfire-scented laundry waiting for Uber Eats to arrive with a juicy bacon cheeseburger reflecting on the incredible weekend I just experienced with Camp Our Way. The idea of returning to summer camp as an adult made me equally excited and trepidatious–outdoor activities, s’mores, new friends, bonfires, and other fun, but with booze and a touch of freedom. Yes, it’d be a blast … but would 15 years of aging since my last camp experience prove to be a damper on the camp highs that I previously experienced? I was a great camper back in the day–I had the towels with my name embroidered, wrote the ‘rents postcards, played the part of “Susie Camper”, and always seemed to find a camp romance. Well … it turns out that not much has changed.
Camp Our Way held its first public adult summer camp this past weekend just outside of Austin. Tiffany, one of my contributors, and I headed down south (in a tricked out, lifted Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro … a beauty of a tank if I’ve ever seen one), taking our time and making an experiencing of the 35 road trip–Czech Stop, Pokey O’s Waco, Coffee Bean, the whole nine.
Campers are invited to drive on their own (and surrender their keys upon arrival) or hop on the camp bus from their originating city. Since we were traveling from Dallas and not San Antonio or Austin, we got to camp a bit late; and let’s just say that the party bus must have been an actual party. We arrived and were already behind, but we did our best to catch up.
COW is working finding just the right camp to host–enough freedom to let the adults do their thing, but enough structure to make the camp experience fully immersive. You could say that they’re doing a damn good impression of Goldilocks right now.
The venue for this past session was Camp Young Judea, a Jewish (children’s) camp complete with a kosher cafeteria and brightly colored Semitic murals adorning the cabins and set on a quiet river. (Oh, and the cafeteria is kosher so we had to observe certain rules; only kosher items were allowed in the cafeteria, so we quickly learned that Lone Star Beer is kosher. Boom. And hence the bacon cheeseburger upon my return to Dallas.) We found the lodging itself to be perfect–the cabins were clean, bug-free, and allowed for enough privacy for everyone to be comfortable. We unpacked, made our beds, and then headed to the party. The awkward “hey, where are you from, why are you here?” conversation started slowly and was egged on with drinks poured by the badass head counselor, Justin.
Each day campers were invited to take advantage of various activities–a high ropes course, zip lines, a giant swing, archery, etc. The beauty of this concept, though, is the freedom to do them only if you want to. Don’t want to break a sweat playing dodgeball? Sweat it out at the pool while working on your tan. Too lazy to do yoga? Do corpse pose in a hammock for a couple hours. Just don’t feel like being an adult? Head to the river and slide down the giant water chute. Just want to hang out? Stop by the treehouse with a beer or three. (Each camp will offer different activities, and the Dallas camp promises a lake, complete with a blob!)
So yeah … activities are fun, but doing them with a beer in-hand kind of makes them more fun. The entire weekend we had access to adult beverages. One of the “activities” was the chance to do a wine tasting with Flat Creek Estate, learn how to make Justin’s killer margaritas, and enjoy some hand-dipped root beer floats with Not Your Father’s (boozy) Root Beer.
Like I said … I’m knackered from all the fun (my memory foam bed was truly worth every penny I paid for it when I starfished on it last night), but it was a pretty fantastic weekend and I’m already missing the fun, people, and activities … and having a bit of trouble adulting.
That said … COW will be hosting other camps throughout the summer, including one for Dallas residents on Lake Trinity. I’ll be there–either as a counselor (if they’ll have me) or a camper–so come party with me at camp!
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