Some of you who follow Out of Office might remember when I went to Camp No Counselors (CNC for short) last year and if not, get caught up here. A few weeks ago, I went to the great state of Texas for my second camp (reading this aloud makes me sound like I’ve drank the spiked kool-aid). Our original plan was to hit up Austin, however due to unforeseen circumstances, we were moved to San Antonio which was a bummer because the Austin camp grounds were lit. No lie though, the San Antonio camp grounds held up too.
After going for a second time, I can confidently say that the folks of CNC have truly built something unique and special. In contrast with our always-on, social media dependent behavior was a weekend of connecting with and meeting new people, learning about them and hearing how they came to be at CNC (some with friends, other brave souls came solo), being outside surrounded by lush greenery (a lacking luxury for me as a NYC dweller), complete disconnection from Insta, Snap, Twitter and the media circus constantly informing us of the goings on at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We hung by the lake, played human foosball (must get), perfected our serve in tennis, channelled our inner Pocahontas via canoe, and climbed walls. Beyond the activities what I mostly value was simply being in the moment. My main concern for those 4 days alternated between: who is heavy enough to launch me off the blob, I hope we win Color War and should I have the hamburger, hot dog or both for lunch?
I commend CNC for creating an environment that is accepting, carefree, encourages individuality and most importantly, community. Last year I went with 1 friend and 2 of his friends whom I had never met. By the end of that camp, I left with a tribe: about 17 people who all stay in touch a year later, often crossing state and country lines to see each other. Sometimes I wonder if we had met somewhere else besides CNC, would we have connected and be as close as we are? We’re all so different however maybe meeting in an environment where we were all unapologetically ourselves, allowed us to bypass the small talk and move quickly to let’s have a damn good time. Now, don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all let’s sing Kum Ba Ya and do trust falls, booze is around all day but as adults, we can handle ourselves…for the most part. I’ve been to other adult camps but none like this. Credit to CNC for fostering this community and introducing me to a new tribe.
Pictures courtesy of Cade Bradshaw (@cbradsha)