If you went to sleep-away camp as a kid, you probably reminisce about those long summer nights spent in the woods with late-night snacks, scary stories, and a few moments of debauchery. Now you can relive the glory days — or experience them for the first time, because not all parents let their children spend a month in the wilderness — at Camp No Counselors, an all-inclusive sleep-away camp for grownups.
"When you're a kid, you meet tons of people who enjoy the same activities," creator/visionary Adam Tichauer says. "But as an adult, it's tough to meet a dude and say, 'Hey, here's my number. Let's meet up.' At camp, you create quick bonds and fast friendships that last a lifetime."
Although the concept might sound bizarre, Tichauer describes it as "a way to get away from work and have a fun weekend with friends." As a kid, he went to camp every summer, which was the inspiration for this adult version.
"It was really just an excuse to get out of the city with my buddies," he says of the first planned Camp No Counselors weekend. "But it ended up turning into a real event. Everyone who came wanted to get away for a little, and everyone who left now had new best friends who all lived around the same area."
Tichauer's first adult camp was in September 2013, for which he initially invited 20 of his closest friends. It then turned into 90 campers ready for four days of fun, games, and booze. "After the second one we did, a light bulb went off. I realized it was more than just a weekend party — it was actually impacting people's lives."
He asked a few friends what he should name his newfound idea, and a friend's mom's suggested Camp No Counselors. The name stuck. "At the time, I was running a music technology company," he says. "But I quickly turned it into a full-time gig."
Since May 2014, Tichauer has hosted about 20 camps in locations across the country, including New York and Los Angeles. "What we try to do is enable adults to create genuine friendships through shared experiences," he explains. The organizer says about 40 percent of all campers return. Friendships, relationships, and even marriages can develop after a technology-free weekend in the woods.
"It's for people who want to have fun," he says, describing the atmosphere. "It's for someone who likes to be active, but it's definitely not for everyone. If you went to camp as a kid, it has that nostalgic feel too."
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Florida's Camp No Counselors will be located in Lake Wales, with activities including paddle-boarding, table tennis, happy hour, lavish dinners, open bars, and themed parties. Other locations this summer include Austin, Boston, Michigan, San Francisco, and Toronto.
"It started in New York, and word just spread organically," Tichauer says. "Next was L.A., and this year we're up to ten cities. The great thing about Miami is we can do camp year-round because it's nice and warm. In the Northeast, there's only about a month before and after the kids' camps use the venues, usually in May or September. Down South, we have a lot more options."
Tichauer says interested campers should sign up for the Camp No Counselors' mailing list, and based on demand, new locations will be added. Each interested adult must fill out an application too, because guests are limited to 200 adults per weekend. Each camp's environment is always safe, fun, and diverse.
"Basically, if my fiancé were going to a camp in the middle of the woods with her girlfriends, and she were in a bunk with someone, I'd ask, 'Would she be safe [with this person]?'" he says of the selection process. "If the answer is no, then they don’t get in. If answer is maybe, they still don’t get in. If the answer is, Yes, this person adds so much value, and they'd be a great addition, then they're in. That's how we treat every guy and girl who applies."
Camp No Counselors
Camp No Counselors runs September 8 through September 11 in Lake Wales, Florida. Registration costs $550 per person, which includes three nights of lodging, all meals and snacks, an open bar all weekend, and activities. For more information, visit campnocounselors.com.