Imagine three days all to yourself after your kids wrap up school to focus on nobody but yourself.
What a year it has been for many parents who had to manage and juggle kids at home full-time during long stints of remote learning along with remote work.
You might have already lined up a summer camp for the kids this summer, but what about a little getaway for you? A time set aside to indulge in a little fun.
This summer is your chance to break away from it all by taking some time off to bring out the kid in you by participating in an adult sleepaway camp. A place where you can find mimosas and Bloody Mary’s on the breakfast menu. A place where during the day you can make tie-dye T-shirts and then head to the water slide before trying out the flying trapeze. Expect evenings to include bonfires and s’mores along with entertainment and an open bar
“If you have been to summer camp 20, 30 or 40 years ago and want to relive that experience or if you never had the opportunity and want to experience it, it’s a way to have that,” said Bill Reifsnyder, camp director and founder of Camp Runabout in the Pocono Mountains.
Camp Runabout is an all-inclusive camp like Deerfield Health and Retreat Spa, which is another adult getaway option taking place in the Pocono Mountains this summer. Deerfield is a “camp” where you can stay up to a week that focuses on fitness, food, healthy lifestyle education, and spa services.
“It’s a safe, fun, and healthy getaway that we playfully call our 'adult sleep-away fitness camp',” Deerfield describes on their website.
Camp Runabout’s three-day camp experience for those age 21 and older also centers on fitness, but it’s more centered on reliving the ultimate camp experience again as an adult with some of the signature offerings such as arts and crafts, bonfires with s’mores and water sports like canoeing and kayaking.
Many who attend Camp Runabout have a shared love of running, but it’s not a requirement to be a runner to attend the camp.
“Our only requirement is that you want to come to have a good time and have a good state of mind,” he said.
The average age of campers is 42.
“We have had as low as 21 and as high as 72 years old, but there is no limit,” Reifsnyder said.
Regardless of age, activities such as zip-lining and trying out the flying trapeze enables campers to push their limits.
“After they climb a pole to get on the flying trapeze or zip line and then when they let go, to see the smile on their face, is the most amazing thing,” Reifsnyder said.
While there are offerings held at different times between the different arts and crafts classes and fitness classes, you can do as much or as little as you want at Runabout Camp.
“Some people love the flying trapeze and do it all day long and some go from one activity to the next,” he said. “Others want to get away from the rat race and find a shaded tree to relax.”
There are other ways to unwind at Camp Runabout that include booking a massage.
“We have a team of massage therapists who are completely booked all day,” he said. “We are trying to make it between summer camp and a little bit of retreat.”
Whether you sign up for the camp on your own, go along with a friend, or are part of a group, the camp provides an opportunity to make life-long friends.
“Whoever they stay with in the cabin, they stay in touch and they have come back asking for the exact same cabin with those people because they want the exact same experience,” he said.
At Camp Runabout you don’t have to rough it because only bottom bunks are used and cabins are equipped with showers and bathrooms. Reifsnyder makes an effort to make sure that those coming solo are grouped together.
“I put singles with other singles,” he said. “You make friends almost immediately.”
Reifsnyder, who holds his camp at existing 200-acre-plus summer camp locations, launched Camp Runabout in 2017 after being inspired by an episode of "Shark Tank," ABC’s entrepreneurial-themed reality show, that centered on a camp experience for those in their 20s and early 30s.
“There was a lot of partying and craziness,” he said, adding that instead, “I wanted to do something around running that was healthier and included a little running and a lot of fun for three amazing days.”
The camp has grown ever since he started offering one getaway weekend. Now he holds up to three adult camp sessions per summer, except for last year that was canceled due to COVID.
A former professional runner and winner of the 1989 and 1990 USA Marathon Championships, Reifsnyder then transitioned his career to the endurance industry including a period of heading up sports marketing for Adidas. Now he has his own marketing agency that caters to endurance sports brands.
A testament to his link in the industry, as part of the evening’s entertainment at his camp, Reifsnyder lines up high-profile guest speakers in the fitness realm to discuss fitness-themed topics. This year, running guru Bart Yasso will be the featured speaker.
Evenings also include an open bar. One night a karaoke DJ is scheduled to host karaoke and on another, a themed party will take place. Past themes have included Grease (the movie) and a country and western Hoedown.
“Disco is our theme for June,” he said. “Everyone comes and if you don’t dress up you’re the odd one out.”
While evenings are a time to let loose and have a little fun, bedtime might come calling sooner than later if you plan to participate in the 6 a.m. daily trail run that isn’t required of campers.
“Everyone runs as far or as short as they want,” he said, adding some opt to just walk the trails. “But if you would rather sleep in or go to a morning yoga class you can.”
The approximately 150 campers who attend Camp Roundabout come from all over the country.
“Our last camp had people from 30 different states,” he said, adding they have a Facebook group that enables campers to link up at the airport to head to the campsite.
As for Reifsnyder, he recently moved from Downingtown, Chester County, to North Carolina with his wife, who grew up in Oley Township, Berks County.
Based on past camps, Reifsnyder said that 90% of attendees are female, half who attend are single, and the rest come in groups or with a friend. According to Reifsnyder, most attracted to the camp are active and have an active mindset.
“It’s so non-judgmental — it doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, fast, or slow (at running),” he said. “Everyone is just there to escape and have an amazing time. It’s about going back and being a kid again in the mountains.”