New York Times
Summer Camp For Big Kids
July 8, 2001

Ellisa Cassuto, a special-education teacher in Manhattan, grew up going to sleep-away camp all summer, every summer. When she got to old to be a camper, she became a counselor. Then she became a grown-up and, except for the occasional camp reunion, gave it all up: the campfires, the color wars, eating in a mess hall.

Until she discovered a place in Kent, Conn., called Club Getaway.

"They say you can never go back," she said. "But it's totally like camp. Without the supervision."

When Victor Fink started Club Getaway 25 years ago, he had little company. Now camps for grown-ups --some, like Club Getaway, geared to weekends, not week long stays --have become a healthy sector of the travel industry. About 7,000 programs are listed with www.grownupcamps.com, according to Nancy LaPook Diamond of Boca Raton, Fla., who runs the website.

Some, like Club Getaway, are what Mr. Fink calls "a camp camp," offering the traditional outdoor activities -- including singing around the campfire -- that children experience at sleep-away camps. Others are specialty camps, from the familiar golf, tennis and baseball fantasy camps to a ballroom dancing camp in Vermont. Accommodations range from cabins in the woods with bunk mates to luxurious inns.

"There are clogging camps," Mrs. Diamond said. "There are rock-and-roll camps. Racing camps have become very popular: Richard Petty, he's got his his Web site with us."

She said to qualify as an adult camp - as opposed to a resort - a program must offer instruction. "It's a learning experience, where you have to stay over," she said.