Your Next Team-Building Event Could be at Summer Camp

summer camp

Ever long for the days of childlike bliss? Wouldn’t just one more afternoon punctuated by strawberry ice cream melting under the sweltering sun or evening spent roasting sticky smores over a crackling fire be welcome about now? An epidemic of summer nostalgia is spurring “adult summer camps” around the country. For business groups, a sunny retreat takes team building to a laid back and cooperative level—bringing out the creativity and energy of childhoods gone by.

When planning a breakout session, consider taking it old school at summer camps like these.

Camp No Counselors

This popular getaway brand has 11 locations around the United States and Canada, placing it within a few hours drive to major cities, such as San Francisco, Chicago and Toronto. As the name suggests, the resort has all the classic tropes of childhood camp dusted with an adult spin. The largest site in Pennsylvania accommodates up to 475 campers and offers additional meeting space for when business presentations requiring four walls are on the agenda.

Corporate retreats can be customized. To build a base for camaraderie, consider T-shirts with your company’s name and logo. A charter bus is an optional add-on to transport your team to the campsite. Projection movies, karaoke, board game nights and talent shows are just some of the activities your team can engage in. Relax hard and party harder with a themed event. An open bar, late night snacks and smores are all included in your package. Live music performances are optional.

Rooms are mostly bunkbed style across the majority of the properties, with bathrooms attached for convenience. Limited single-occupancy rooms are available. All meals are included.

Soul Camp

This camp draws inspiration from childhood summer camps and weaves a healing, wellness and social justice motif. Serving no alcohol and promoting minimal distractions, the retreat has locations in Warrensburg, New York and Sanger, California.

The suggested time for corporate retreats is during the off-camp season for individual customers, which would be September through May. Recommended duration of stay is one to three days. The camps can accommodate 75 to 800 attendees and can be used to reward a group or ignite creativity, or both.

Wellness features include a Tibetan singing bowls class, yoga, a fear-burning ceremony, tarot readings, life coaching and health coaching. Hiking, horseback riding, archery and kayaking excursions take place among the mountains in national parks.

A deliciously healthy selection of meals accommodates vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and meat-lovers’ diets. With the help of sponsorships, Soul Camp offers a 24/7 canteen of unlimited snacks for those cravings in between meals. Chia bars and dark chocolate, here we come.

Camp Wandawega

This Midwest retreat in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, takes the art of gathering back to the very basics with a large emphasis on “rustic and vintage.” You’ll have to work for the summer magic—but it’s that detail that makes the camp so fun and memorable.

The vibe is laissez-faire, allowing campers to embark on a long list of team-building activities in the great outdoors. Some common pursuits include archery, hiking and fishing. If you brave a winter retreat, put sledding, cross-country skiing and hockey on your bucket list.

Food is not provided, but your team is welcome to cook up an appetite on the grills and smokers on-site. The local grocery store and ma’ and pa’ restaurants are recommended eats.

Campers are encouraged to review the camp’s Manifesto of Low Expectations and sign a liability to ensure an understanding of this “no hand-holding” experience. Major firms such as Facebook/Instagram Creative Shop and Anthropologie have staged corporate retreats here. This Airbnb-optimized adventure is best suited for smaller groups, with the biggest bunkhouse hosting up to 24 people. Larger groups can opt for cabins.