+

Cameron McCoy is a 41-year-old higher-education worker who recently decided he needed a break.

"We really live in work-life integration," he told Upworthy. "There's no such thing as balance anymore."

So he decided to do something that might sound a little unusual: He went to adult summer camp.


Photo via Camp No Counselors, used with permission.

A million people in the U.S. go to adult summer camps every year, putting down their cellphones and turning to archery, water sports, and, depending on which camp they attend, a few cocktails to rediscover a world of few responsibilities.

"[Adult summer camp] was an opportunity to not have any technology with me," Cameron explained. "To not be concerned about time. Really, just to get more centered and to spend some time with other people going through the same situation."

Here are 19 reasons why summer camp for grown-ups totally rocks:

1. The first rule of summer camp: There will be dance parties.

Photo via Camp Grounded, used with permission.

2. And there's no age limit! Because you're never too old for a limbo competition.


Photo via Camp Grounded, used with permission.

3. You can go alone or with friends. It's all good.

Photo via Soul Camp, used with permission.

4. A lot of camps are strictly phones down. Or, at the very least, they have terrible service.

Photo via Camp Grounded, used with permission.

5. That's just part of what makes them so great.

"It's a disconnection from work and our phones and technology. It forces people to get out of their comfort zones," Adam Tichauer, founder of Camp No Counselors, told Upworthy. "When you see people in line for the bathroom, they're actually talking to each other."

Photo via Camp No Counselors, used with permission.

6. The science backs it up: Going away to camp is probably a really good thing for your mental health.

Researchers at Kansas State University found that having strict nonworking time or "psychological detachment" can be just the thing we need to keep from burning out. At a resort with great cell service and free Wi-Fi, the temptation to "just check in" can be pretty strong. At adult summer camp, most campers leave their phones in their bunk (if they're allowed to even use it at all).

And when you're finally ready to get back to the grind? You'll probably be a little more productive after unplugging for a few days.

Photo via Camp No Counselors, used with permission.

7. For Paige, a 29-year-old from L.A. (who is usually a total beach-bum), camp was a chance to relive one of her favorite childhood memories.

She went to sleepaway camp pretty much every year as a kid and thinks the grown-up version is just as good.

"I met this one girl [at adult summer camp], and we just started walking around to all the different bunks, because that's what you did as a kid," she said. "But all the bunks were empty. Everyone was out doing stuff. That was awesome to see."

Paige, Slip 'N Slide champ. Photo used with permission.

8. Other campers, like 37-year-old Jennifer, are making up for lost time.

Jennifer and her new friends at Camp No Counselors. She's the one holding the flag! Photo used with permission.

"I had never been to summer camp as a kid. I had never even heard of capture the flag before. Now I love capture the flag, and I'm actually good at it!" she said, adding that she likes adult summer camp because it's hard to make friends as an adult.

At adult summer camp, however, she says, "That's kind of the point of going."

She's been twice now and is ready to go back next summer.

9. Some camps have booze on hand to help folks relax, but there are plenty of options out there for all different kinds of campers.

Photo via Soul Camp, used with permission.

10. Most camps have dance-offs, lip-sync battles, talent shows, and other camper-led performances (if you're bold enough to join in).

Photo via Soul Camp, used with permission.

11. But one of the biggest draws is that these camps are a rare chance to really connect with total strangers.


Photo via Camp Grounded, used with permission.

12. Seriously — with total strangers! Holding hands! You won't find connections like these at an all-inclusive resort.

Photo via Soul Camp, used with permission.

13. Who you are and what you do for a living don't matter at adult summer camp. The fact that hardly anyone knows each other is kind of the point, according to camper Shelby Walsh.

Most of the year, Walsh is the very-important vice president of an online trend community. But for a few days, in the summer, at least, she was just Shelby.

"You're not allowed to talk about what you do," Walsh told Upworthy. She says there were a lot of young professionals there, but tubing, archery, and arts and crafts took priority over networking.

And perhaps most importantly? "I would definitely do it again."

Shelby (middle), on '70s theme party night. Photo used with permission.

14. At some camps, attendees are asked to take nicknames.

"It's part of letting your real life go," McCoy says, though he was skeptical of the request at first.

"Some people felt more comfortable that way. It wasn't about status or class or where you came from after that. Some people, you never even knew their real name."

Photo via Camp Grounded, used with permission.

15. Who wouldn't want to take a break from work to do this?


Photo via Camp Grounded, used with permission.

(I don't know what it is, but it looks fun).

16. Think about it — when was the last time you did arts and crafts (without your kids totally taking over)?

Photo via Camp Grounded, used with permission.

17. Of course, it wouldn't be summer camp without magnificent campfires.

Photo via Soul Camp, used with permission.

18. Like all things, though, camp has to end eventually. Going back to the real world is no fun.

"I wasn't in a hurry to get back. I wasn't eager to pick up my phone again," McCoy said. "But I was a lot more relaxed about my life when I left than when I got there."

Photo via Camp Grounded, used with permission.

19. The best part? Grown-up summer camp is a pretty affordable way to unwind.

Most camps run a couple hundred bucks for three days of lodging, food, and drinks; though your travel to and from the camp isn't covered.

And not only that, but the costs are totally fixed. Tichauer says a lot of the folks who sign up for Camp No Counselors do so because "it’s a simple turnkey weekend. You pay your money, you show up, and we have everything planned. Lodging, meals, activities, the potential for future friends. Everything."

Photo via Camp Grounded used with permission.

So there you have it. Adult summer camp is great! But it's certainly not the only way to disconnect with adult responsibilities and feel like a kid again.

You don't have to zoom down a Slip 'N Slide or wipe out on a wakeboard if that's not your thing. Camp is about making new friends, unplugging from technology, and trying new things.

With a little effort, we could all make a little more room for those things in our busy lives.

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

Keep ReadingShow less

Famous writers shared their book signing woes with a disheartened new author.

Putting creative work out into the world to be evaluated and judged is nerve-wracking enough as it is. Having to market your work, especially if you're not particularly extroverted or sales-minded, is even worse.

So when you're a newly published author holding a book signing and only two of the dozens of people who RSVP'd show up, it's disheartening if not devastating. No matter how much you tell yourself "people are just busy," it feels like a rejection of you and your work.

Debut novelist Chelsea Banning recently experienced this scenario firsthand, and her sharing it led to an amazing deluge of support and solidarity—not only from other aspiring authors, but from some of the top names in the writing business.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 01.22.19


The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn't have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women's rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn't something we'd choose—and we'd hope others wouldn't choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

Keep ReadingShow less