Kids Keep Out: Adults Only at This Summer Camp
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—This month, some 30 women and men from their 20s to their 70s will converge on the Smith College fields and gyms for an intense week of athletic activities at the college’s annual Adult Sports and Fitness Camp.
They will come from as far west as California and Washington, as far south as Texas and Florida, and from a smattering of states in the Northeast. Like their juvenile counterparts at summer sports camps across the nation, these campers will participate daily in a range of workouts, though of the adult variety—aerobics, badminton, climbing, in-line skating, Pilates, squash and water skiing.
“Children have lots of opportunities to do sports camps,” said Kim Bierwert, camp co-director and Smith’s assistant athletic director. “This camp plays to that inner child of an adult.”
The camp provides an environment in which people can improve the skills they have and learn new ones, according to Bierwert. Most of the campers are experienced in a few sports, but not all that are offered at the Smith College camp.
Begun 25 years ago, the Adult Sports and Fitness Camp has relied entirely on word-of-mouth to advertise, and many campers return year after year, Bierwert said.
Unlike kids’ camps, this one does not include evenings of “s’mores” and songs by the campfire. The Smith fitness campers bunk comfortably in a college residence hall after their daily exertion.
Still, in a nod to summer camp days of childhood, the camp pits them in fun competitions such as the water balloon toss and karaoke, along with a trip to the local ice cream shop.
At the end of the week, according to Bierwert, the campers leave “bone-tired” but with an inspirational DVD of the week’s activities set to music.
Ahead of time, though, campers may want to learn a different song—a variation of Allen Sherman’s best-known song parody about Camp Granada:
Hello son. Hello daughter.
Here I am at Camp Smith College.
Yes, I’m tired and black-and-blue.
But at least now I can keep up with you.
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