Welcome to Camp Bonfire, where adults get to be kids again. That’s right—this overnight camp for adults will bring you right back to the summer camp days of yesteryear. Archery, canoeing, capture the flag… you name it, it’s all here.
You might be wondering the exact same thing we were… who are the geniuses behind this madness? Their names are Benjamin Camp and Jacob Winterstein, and they are co-directors of Camp Bonfire, Real Summer Camp for Adults. We had the chance to pick Jake’s brain about camp and how it came to be.
How did you come up with the idea for an adult overnight camp?
My friend and Camp Bonfire co-director Ben had his 30th birthday party at the summer camp he and I grew up attending. It was a joyful surprise seeing adults delight in the place and activities we loved so much as kids. A year or so later Ben and I collaborated on an interactive theater event and really enjoyed working together. I asked him if he wanted to start a summer camp for adults, he said yes and after many many hours of work and perfecting s’mores, here we are.
How many years have you been doing this and how has it evolved?
This is our third summer. An exciting challenge this year is figuring out how do we keep things new and fresh for our returning campers and staff while also staying rooted in our nascent traditions. Some new additions for this year: we’re bringing in a hip-hop dance facilitator, we’re having a giant summertime snow ball fight, we’re creating an analogue “social media timeline” with polaroids and clothes line and I know our campers are excited about La Colombe.
Can people use their phones at camp?
Only in one small area of camp. We want camp to be a place that exists in the moment.
I teach, write and perform poetry. I also host a monthly poetry slam, The Philly Pigeon. And I get ready for camp, it’s a year round project.
Camp Bonfire’s campers are diverse in many ways. They’re different ages, genders, sexualities, colors, religions etc. We work hard to train and hire a staff that makes lot’s of people feel welcome. Our campers also come to camp for really different reasons. Some people just want to have fun and are most excited for kick ball and capture the flag. Some people come to have a transformative experience and are excited to disconnect from technology and be in nature. Some people come because they want to conquer a fear of heights on the rock climbing wall or step out of their comfort zones in someway. Some people come because they want to meet new people or a combination of everything above. Camp Bonfire is open and inclusive and 98% of campers say they would recommend us to a friend.
Who are some of the other sponsors?
Brooklyn Brewery, Black Button Distillery, KIND Snacks, Nature’s Bakery, Mallow Mallow s’more shop, Artists & Craftsman, Philadelphia’s illVibe DJ collective.
How do you take your coffee?
How many s’mores do you plan on eating?
Plan on eating? Only 1. Will probably actually eat…I hope less than 5.