On this late October day, as I wheel into the Wonder Valley Ranch Resort nestled in the foothills of the spellbinding if drought-scorched Sierras, I’m struck by the notion that it’s a bit late in the season to be going to a summer camp for adults. But then, it would seem a bit late to be going to summer camp at all. For at age 45, I am what noted gerontologist Cedric the Entertainer calls “a grown-ass man.”
But that hardly matters anymore. For I am also a citizen of Infantilized America, where getting old has gotten old, and youth is no longer just wasted on the young. Maybe it’s due to narcissism or nostalgia, or all our institutions atrophying. (Even for rebellious souls, what old order is there left to upset?) Maybe it springs from the heaping buffet of cultural junk-food available to us as binge-eating consumers, or from wishing to simplify a dizzying world. But ours is a country whose adultescents now play with Legos and on “adult playgrounds,” color in “adult coloring books,” and read as much YA fiction as their teenage daughters.
It’s a place where 9 out of 10 of the top-grossing films last year were of the cape’n’codpiece superhero variety. It’s a place where the average gamer is 35 years old. Where the average Brony (a man obsessed with the My Little Pony franchise targeted at little girls) is 21. Where the average backwards-cap wearer is . . . well, nobody’s ever done a study of that. But just trust me and ask your dad to knock it off.
So it stands to reason that “adult sleepaway camp” would become a thing, as the kids say — though I rarely hear kids say that, just adults trying to sound like them. Even everyone’s idea of a forever-young fun maven says so: “We really need camps for adults,” Hillary Clinton told an American Camp Association gathering this spring. “I think we have a huge fun deficit in America.”
In fact, the American Camp Association reports that around one million adults now attend camp each year. So many, that some camps have even gone niche, such as Club Getaway in the Berkshires, which experimented with a reduced-rate summer camp for the unemployed. There are hobbyist camps, everything from space camp to wine-tasting camp to rock-band camp, where frustrated workadaddies can escape their cubicle farms to reimagine themselves as Jimmy Page.
Source: Weekly Standard | MATT LABASH