by Heidi Mayer Kruse
• Reconnecting with nature and your team
• All the fun of youth summer camp for your attendees
• Significant upgrades and charming extras
As Spring transforms to Summer, your mind may be wandering back to a simpler time. A time where hours were measured in open skies, canoes, and toasted marshmallows. The creative, carefree days of summer camp were both restorative and invigorating: two things most adults need badly. And that may be exactly what your attendees need too. You can make it happen.
If you’re imagining your Executive team sleeping on stained mattresses and swatting mosquitoes, think again. Many of the camps targeting this clientele have bought into another big trend, ‘glamping,’ – by offering significant upgrades and charming extras. Think bourbon tastings to accompany your marshmallow roast.
The facilities are usually located in stunning settings far removed from boardrooms and cubicles. Nestled on lakes and deep in the woods, these locales boast activities ranging from zip-lining to painting and lodging options from tents to luxury cabins. Quite literally, you can ‘choose your own adventure.’
Camp Ihduhapi, just 30 minutes west of Minneapolis, offers 165 acres of beautiful woods, lakes, and prairies with the added enjoyment of fun camp activities. Their rustic lodge has multiple meeting spaces, the largest comfortably holding 150 attendees. The lodge houses a dining hall and is surrounded by 16 cozy, heated cabins and a bunkhouse. Groups can partake in swimming, canoeing, and broomball or take things up a notch with multiple ropes course teambuilding options.
Wisconsin’s Camp Wandawega has hosted such big name firms as Facebook/Instagram Creative Shop, Anthropologie, Trek, and Threadless. They’ve also been the setting for several music videos and films. (Yes, it’s that picturesque.) The former Catholic Church Camp has been lovingly restored and today is known for its attention to simple detail and 90 years’ worth of rich history. They specialize in culinary and creative retreats. The wide variety of lodging is beautifully upgraded while retaining its authenticity and charm. Among your choices: a treehouse, a teepee, and a rustic lodge. There are dozens of options for you and your attendees to explore. The facility was named one of Travel + Leisure “World’s Greatest Hotels” in 2013 and one of the “BIG 6: Coolest Campsites in the US” by the London Independent.
“For our wedding vendor retreat we host at Camp Wandawega, called Camp Wedding, it’s the perfect setting for entrepreneurs to be able to re-ignite their creative spirit and break away from their day-to-day work to see more of the big picture of their dreams and reality,” explained Sarah Sarbacker, co-owner of Cherry Blossom Events in Wisconsin. “The positives and possibilities of hosting an event at an ‘adult camp’ are many…Camp Wandawega is a beautifully designed camp where guests can enjoy a cocktail in the Lodge’s retro bar with the window open and the breeze off the lake pouring in; they can curl up next to the campfire with a wool plaid blanket and enjoy a hot chocolate, if they’re staying as the iconic WI fall starts to turn; being able to walk the trails and explore the A-frame and Teepees - all to feel as if they are a child again who is carefree and adventurous.”
Camp Forever Fun is located in Reading, Michigan, offering “Everything you did as a kid, plus craft beer.” It only operates for a limited time each summer season, but does offer group rates. Being only three hours from major hubs like Chicago, Indianapolis, and Cleveland, this camp offers an array of activities to get your team’s creative juices flowing in Michigan.
Look at home – Know of a great camp near-by or from your own childhood? Reach out. This concept is one that many in the camping industry are watching but haven’t started to actively pursue. Most locations are family or small business-owned and willing (and excited) to listen to your idea and accommodate. The facilities are almost always built to house and entertain large groups making them ideal for planners to stretch their creative muscles.
Pro Tip: Call early and get on the calendar. Their seasons are relatively short and occasionally the accommodations are only appropriate for several months a year.
Summer camps are an American tradition which should not be reserved for kids alone. Your attendees deserve to share in the fun and reap the benefits. Happy camping!