Weekend Wildling

When Karie Hansel invited me to her latest enthusiastic endeavor, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. An adult summer camp? With beer? Sign me up.

Using the 300+ acres of Camp Joy in Morrow, Ohio, Hansel and her team of life-loving compatriots have previously used these outings as team-building exercises for corporate groups. But the time has come, they said, to offer this wild weekend to all. And so, they’ve started their very own Camp Wild Child. It’s a place for people to come and check their inhibitions at the door. Of a yurt.

The focus on these weekends is squarely on you. Whether you want to get some exercise, or get some sleep. Make some crafts, or make some new friends. This camp experience brings back everything you loved about summer camp as a kid, but with beer.

Camp Wild Child was started to launch the non profit Wild Hearts. Each camp sponsor provides the kids with a service. So you can feel good about goofing off for a weekend.

Dear Journal,

Camp Counselor Karie said I should keep a camp journal, so I’m starting before I hit the road. I’m packing up everything I need, and digging around trying to find my old sleeping bag… I haven’t seen that thing in years. I have a bunch of emails I need to answer before I can hit the road in the morning. I’m pretty tired, but this should be good for me. I could use a chance to get outta dodge for a while. Gonna hit up the craft store before I go, and get some stuff to make a costume. This should be interesting…

Dear Journal,

Today was my first day of Camp Wild Child. It started with a giant hug from my camp counselor, and they immediately put a sandwich in my hand. I think I could get used to this. We are staying in yurts and they have air conditioning. I was going to check my emails once I got changed, but I only had time to drop off my stuff, and get out to the soccer field for the first activity. I found out why they asked us to bring old clothes–and that can of shaving cream. We did a shaving cream obstacle course with a slip and slide! The green team won the obstacle course, but the yellow team got cooler T-shirts.

I made a new friend on the giant swing. It’s the BIGGEST SWING EVER. A bunch of people have to line up on a rope, and pull it to pull the swing back, and then you pull your own ripcord and flyyyyyy! AND we crushed the 50 foot climbing wall! One girl did it blindfolded.

More after arts and crafts.

Dear Journal,

During arts and crafts, I got to make my own essential oil blend. I smell fantastic.

We also made tie dye T-shirts for the kids. That’s really what this camp is all about. They are connected to Foster Hope, which is a non-profit that benefits kids in the foster care system. We pay to go to our camp, and that puts foster kids through their camp. We made kid-sized T-shirts for them, and I made myself a wood cookie. It’s a little wood disc with my name on one side that I can wear on a string around my neck. My new friend asked me what I was gonna draw on the back, so I drew a butt on it.

Gotta go! They’re playing gagaball in the octagon and passing out beer tickets.

Dear Journal,

We just had Chipotle for dinner! (WIN). We’re outside by the fire listening to a guy sing and play guitar. I hid my new friend’s shoes and told her I put them in the port-o-potty. Someone is giving ukulele lessons on the patio. There’s a campfire, and I made s’mores with peanut butter cups. I’m not even sure where my phone is. It feels weird not having it in my pocket, buzzing.

It’s time for me to put together my costume for the dance party! The theme is “Galactic.” I got hats, pipe cleaners, ribbons, and glow in the dark paint and stickers. I don’t remember the last time I did crafts.

Dear Journal,

Last night was the best! We had a dance party at the observatory! It was all glow-in-the-dark sparkles, and smiles. People here hug. A lot.

This morning, there was yoga by the pond, and slacklining. It’s kinda like tightrope walking.

I got to try archery, which made me feel really cool.

I’ve come to know the other campers really well. It feels like I’ve been here a lot longer than two days. Last night, after the dance party, I came back to the yurt and stared out the skylight until I fell asleep. There are a lot of stars out here.

Never did answer those emails.

This October, Camp Wild Child is opening their yurts to bachelor and bachelorette parties, as well as holding another open camp October 20-22. Go to findyourwildchild.com for more info.