It’s dark, so I can barely make out a few faces that I saw on the bus ride over: a tall, heavily muscled lawyer named Evan, who seems to be constantly losing his shirt; the group of blonde somethings from Florida who all look vaguely related and love to clink Solo cups with me when they walk by; and Arun who now seems intent on avoiding me whenever I’m near him.
By 2 a.m., the crowd drinking by the fireplace near the docks is 30 or 40 people thick, and it’s starting to get sloppy.
Everyone here, thus far, is very drunk: The six Floridians in front of me, the 14-person (14!
) bachelorette party further up, the cooler guy in the back who is now standing with a group of 10 or so attractive girls and guys, all drinking and laughing together like they’ve been friends for years.
Only a fraction of us are here on this first day — the rest are coming tomorrow — but the bar is open and they’re serving chicken wings and chicken fingers and crudités.I’m certainly trying — I’m handing out compliments like my life depends on it — but I can already feel myself slip.Arun makes fun of me for holding a notebook and my phone for most of the drive, and when I put them away he yells, “Finally! I stand up to look behind me and see a small blonde Reese Witherspoon doppelgänger with a sharp chin and light eyes, sitting by herself and not talking to anyone. She’s a budding actress and generally seems unimpressed with everyone here. She says she’s going to another camp later this summer, a technology-free, sober one.The older we get, the harder it becomes to make friends, or to develop real human connections with strangers, particularly as we get further from school, the place where human connection was mandatory for survival.
By your mid-twenties, you can largely live your life knowing the same three people in your same industry, in your little corner of the world.
Camp No Counselors started as a camp weekend in 2013, the brainchild of founder Adam Tichauer, when he first rented a campground for himself and his “20 closest friends.” The camp required a minimum of 30 people to be booked entirely, so he told his friends to invite their friends, and it ballooned to 90 people.