Camp Grounded’s ‘Kumbaya was infectious’


The Camp Grounded summer camp for adults held at a Camp Navarro in California June 14-17 has been talked about in seemingly every corner of the internet for the last few months but as strong as the chord it struck online only 325 people were able to actually attend the Digital Detox event modeled after a traditional summer camp experience. Unlike a lot of so-called summer camp for adult programs that use summer camp as a marketing tool, it sounds like Camp Grounded was pretty legit at least as described by one of those in attendance, Hillary Kaylor, who reflected about the experience in Huffington Post.

There was sleeping under the spiders and the stars, grass stains and field rashes from Capture the Flag. Wild costumes. Skinny swimmin’ and streaking through the 80’s themed prom. Outrageous contests that resulted in me diving my face into a pie plate of flour to find a piece of bubble gum to chew, blow a bubble and then pass on. I coughed up enough flour to make a batch of scones, but we did place second. There were haircutting contests where scissor-wielding amateurs treated volunteers to choppy services. And then? The scraps of hair on the ground were swept up by the final competition: the best beard contest, where girls and boys alike literally had the floor-hair glued to their faces.

We pranked each other, we danced like maniacs, and we never knew what time it was or where we had to go. We moved as a group in tune, as a flock of birds or wave. We whispered into the wind and had a silent candlelit dinner under the trees. Many people choked up. When we were finally allowed to speak again (and eat), we devoured our gluten-free mac and cheese and mustard greens like a Thanksgiving dinner.

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Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at and I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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