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When did summer camps become so upscale?

When I was a kid, we were lucky to get a burned s’more as a camp highlight. These days, kids in our area can attend archaeology camps, whitewater rafting camps, movie-making camps. They can perform in an off-Broadway-quality show or learn how to rappel down rocks. Maybe that’s why every parent I know secretly wants to go to summer camp. Why should our kids have all the high-priced fun?

If we could design the perfect camp for grown-ups, here’s what the schedule might look like:

9 a.m. Arrival

After conducting intake interviews, counselors will put their own spin on our introductions to fellow campers. You say: “I’m Bob. I work as a middle manager. My wife just left me for her personal trainer.” Counselors say: “Bob is a part-time Speedo model who likes to fly to Argentina in his private jet on weekends.”

10:30 a.m. Song time

Ditties include lyrics like these:

“The sun is up in the blue sky,
Your stocks have hit a new high!
You’re looking thin, so no need to go to the gym.
Oh, and never fear—your boss will get what’s coming to him.”

Noon. Lunchtime

Unlike in our daily lives, Camp Grown-up will never serve us the cut-off crusts of PB&Js or the remnants of a pot of mac ’n’ cheese because “we’re so freaking exhausted and it’s just easier.” Camp Grown-up also offers cloth napkins, not the ripped-off pieces of paper towel we use at home.

1 p.m. Nap time

Snuggle into 100-percent-never-been-thrown-up-on-or-peed-upon-by-a-young-child bedding. No dozing on undignified princess or superhero sheets. Here at Camp Grown-up, we don’t get behind on the laundry!

2 p.m. Arts & crafts

It’s time to make cards for your loved ones. Feel free to start with the passive-aggressive cousin who went to an Ivy League school and never lets you forget it (it’s purely a coincidence that this is the same school that laughed until it choked upon reading your application). Camp Grown-up offers a variety of newspapers and scissors so you can cut out all of the individual letters in your message; it also offers several sizes of fingerprint-hiding gloves. One of our counselors will personally mail your thoughtful note from a faraway location, so it won’t be traced to your hometown.

3 p.m. Swimming

Heidi Klum will be the lifeguard for our male campers. Upon your request, we will cue Baywatch music and she will run in slow motion around the pool.

George Clooney will be patrolling the pool area for our female campers. If you think you might be in danger of drowning, even if you’re not actually in the water, alert George and he will perform CPR. Remember: Don’t be shy about summoning the help you deserve.

5 p.m. Cleanup


5 p.m. Cooking

Learn about chemistry and cooking with this simple recipe:

Take one box of Jell-O.

Cook according to directions on box.

Add liberal amounts of vodka.

Pour mixture into individual shot glasses and refrigerate for as long as you can wait.


Repeat as necessary.

6 p.m. Goodbye

Camp Grown-up’s designated shuttle driver will take you home. Sorry, but the driver is under strict orders to make sure you arrive at your destination. Large bribes, heartfelt pleas and/or crying tantrums will not convince him to turn around and bring you back to Camp Grown-up. Besides, you need to get home to see what your children have done to the house.

Sarah Pekkanen’s second novel, Skipping a Beat (Washington Square Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster), came out in February. She can be reached at sarah.pekkanen@bethesdamagazine.com.

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