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March 05, 2015

Summer camp for adults is finally here

Camp Bonfire packs a season's worth of nostalgia into one weekend

Events Camps
Owego Cabin Exterior Lake Owego Camp/for PhillyVoice

Cabins at Lake Owego in the Poconos.

If you were a summer camp kid like Benjamin Camp (yes, his real name) and Jacob Winterstein were, you know what it's like to yearn for those long days of fun in the sun. If you are Camp and Winterstein, then you turned that nostalgia into a brand new summer adventure -- for adults.

This summer the pair is offering grown-ups the chance to get away for a weekend and go to a real, live camp just for them. At Camp Bonfire, guests will spend three days chilling out, playing games, going on adventures and making crafts just like the old days. 

Winterstein and Camp first met at Camp Dark Waters where Winterstein was a camper and Camp was a counselor (say that 10 times fast). Winterstein also became a counselor, but as they grew up the pair recognized the need for a grown-up version of their summer hangout. After taking a look at other adult camps on the market, the two decided to create one that reflect their values of community, nature and play. 

So this summer, June 12 through June 14, about 180 campers will head to Lake Owego in the Poconos. Once they settle into their cabins, they'll sing songs around the campfire, play capture the flag, canoe on the lake, make friendship bracelets, take the stage at a talent show and more. 

The focus of Camp Bonfire really is plain old fun. Each day is broken up into mix-and-match sessions. That way, campers can try out something they know they like (like yoga or soccer) then try out something they've never done (like zip-lining or archery). This ability to be spontaneous and let loose is part of the summer camp philosophy.

"Camp is a place where you get to just play and make friends, and I think as adults we have a lot of opportunities to better ourselves," Winterstein said. "You can go to a retreat and learn a skill or you can go to a brand camp and develop your business and you can go to a spirituality camp and learn to be more mindful. But there's not a lot of places for us to just connect with each other and build friendships and have fun just for the sake of [it]." 

Since the camp is located between Philadelphia and New York and buses will run from each city, Winterstein is expecting all kinds of campers. He said that so far it's a pretty mixed bag of groups of friends and individual campers with most in the 25-35-year-old range, though a few are in their 40s, 50s and 60s, too. 

Moreover, Winterstein and his counselors are ready to dispel any awkwardness between strangers. The first night they'll split the campers up into random teams for an Olympics-style activity so everyone can get to know each other. 

Those looking to unplug will love Camp Bonfire's technology-free zones, too. There will be designated areas to use your phone if you need too, but the idea is for campers to disconnect for a while and do something silly without worrying about any embarrassing Instagrams.

There will be meals provided and the occasional beer around the campfire, but if you're looking to get wasted this experience isn't for you. 

And if the r-word (rain) comes into play? Well, Winterstein and Camp purposely chose a location with plenty of covered activity areas like an indoor gym and art center, so you won't even notice a little bad weather. They really did think of everything.

Want to go to Camp Bonfire? Use discount code phillyvoice while supplies last to get $100 off your registration

Camp Bonfire

Friday, June 12 to Sunday, June 14 | $489
Lake Owego
US-6, Greeley, PA