I'd never been to summer camp before. Well, I've attended day camp when I was little, but it was never the super serious, sleep in a cabin, hunt for your own dinner
type of deal. And I have never looked at that as a huge loss… Until I was served a little taste of the sleepaway camp lifestyle last weekend. Now, I can't help but think my parents simply did not want me to be happy as a child.
The Wild Honey Pie
hosted their fifth annual Welcome Campers event last weekend, which once again took place at Camp Lenox in Massachusetts. To sum it all up, it's basically like actual summer camp, except with A LOT of beer -- so much beer
. Sponsored by High Brew Coffee and Brooklyn Brewery, all of the campers chugged cans of High Brew (each one containing about 130mg of caffeine, which is a lot) in the afternoon and then immediately switched to beer once the magical alcohol fairies came around on golf carts, handing out free drinks. Don't get me wrong though, this event wasn't all coffee and beer -- there were also several wonderful bands interspersed between all of it.
First of all, the nearly 4 hour-long bus ride from Williamsburg felt like a vacation in itself. The counselors hyped everyone up with seltzer and coffee as we watched movies and listened to music while driving down a pleasantly scenic road. As campers started rolling in to camp grounds on Friday afternoon, Workman Song
kicked off the weekend during a little happy hour. During their set, gorgeous rain showers took over, and that's when it really started to feel like autumn. After that we were taken to the dining hall for dinner, which had tons of options for every type of diet, and then we followed up dinner with more beer(!) and a very special performance from indie pop duo Overcoats
around the campfire. The one downfall of the weekend was the cold weather -- at around 40 degrees, I wrapped myself in two pairs of sweatpants, two pairs of socks, two shirts, two sweaters, and a flannel and still, I was shivering… But, when they brought out the s'mores after Overcoats, the suffering was worth it.
Saturday featured a full day of various activities and really allowed for any active people to get their athleticism on. After breakfast, waterfront yoga was offered (but if you're like me and hate yoga, you skip that and go back to sleep on the dock, with a double espresso High Brew in hand). Then, the campers went on a nature hike which led to a peaceful waterfall and an acoustic performance from Future Generations
. Then we did several other summer camp activities like tie dying clothing, basketball, volleyball, and trivia, all while getting more performances from Rose Hotel and Mobley. After dinner, there was - you guessed it - more beer! Plus awesome dance parties with the help of Future Generations and Glassio.
Although it was the warmest day, Sunday was bittersweet. After a long brunch and more arts and crafts and music, it was finally time to say goodbye. I was surrounded by adults, but I felt like a child for the weekend, with no real obligations but to make new friends and beat the yellow team in kickball (I didn't). As a last hurrah, everyone jumped in the nearly freezing lake together, which felt like the perfect ending to a great weekend. On the way home, counselors asked if we learned anything new about ourselves over the weekend, which I did: I am not
capable of jumping on water trampolines without gracelessly falling.
Like I said, I have never attended sleep away camp as a child, but Welcome Campers made me feel weirdly nostalgic for it.