What do you get when you combine sleepaway camp, adults, and online dating? Camp Meets Bagel, of course!
What is Camp Meets Bagel, you ask? It’s everything you loved (or hated) about summer camp as a kid, only this time with lots of booze included. Organized by the good folks over at the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB) in conjunction with Camp No Counselors (aka camp grown-ups), it was designed as a way for people who may be looking for love or simply just new friends to meet face-to-face and hopefully make some connections.
Growing up, I’d gone to sleepaway summer camp maybe four or five times and I HATED it. I was homesick all the time and with my active imagination, I always thought something was going to come out of the woods and get me. Thanks a lot, Blair Witch Project. Luckily, now that I’m older, I’ve moved past that and any opportunity to leave the city and breathe some fresh air is more than welcome.
For those not familiar, Coffee Meets Bagel is almost the anti-Tinder in the world of online dating. They provide you with a few curated potential “matches” each day at noon and the women get to pick and choose who actually reaches out to them. A few weeks ago, they partnered with Sofar Sounds, a company that puts on small, intimate shows, and hosted an event in which they gave away nine Camp Meets Bagel tickets and I was one of the lucky winners! So, off the camp I went, bringing my older sister along for the ride.
For reasons unknown, the camp location got changed at the last minute from Paradox, NY to a camp in Equinunk, PA known as Indian Head Camp, which was quite fine by me since it meant less time driving. Friendships began forming almost immediately on the three-hour bus ride there, and once we arrived, we checked into the camp and headed over to our bunks to finally settle in.
One of the rules of camp was that we weren’t allowed to talk about work, which I loved! This meant that we had to find other ways to relate and also that no one could judge someone based on what type of work they did (or didn’t) do. We met young guys and gals looking for love (or their next hookup – no judgment), others who had also won tickets and therefore had no expectations, people from other countries, a ballroom dancer turned scuba diver, and even a married couple. I also made sure not to connect my phone to Wi-Fi so that I could stay as in the moment as possible.
The days passed in a blur of scenic canoe trips around the lake, adrenaline-inducing games of dodgeball, intimate fireside chats, rousing games of volleyball (with the occasional skinned knee thrown in) and, of course, the Bagel Relay which our team, the Blue Team, won!! After a rough start in which both our flag (which my sis and I helped design) and our lip sync to “Wannabe” by the Spice Girl’s came in fourth place, I wasn’t so sure what our chances of winning would be. Nevertheless, our team pulled it together and, in the end, proved that our slip & slide and flip cup abilities were ultimately superior.
Some of the highlights of the weekend included both the costume dance party, with a movie night theme, and the show organized by Sofar Sounds, which featured three very different, but equally amazing acts. For the costume party, I had to break out my Marty McFly costume and my sis was the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. We didn’t realize until after we got ready that both of our costumes coincidentally revolved around time!
The Sofar show was also so much fun! Covey made you feel all the feels; Rue Brown was giving me all the old-school, 90s R&B/house music vibes; and Decora brought that hip hop edge. It was truly an unforgettable evening.
With all that said, the weekend most definitely exceeded my expectations. For the first ever Camp Meets Bagel, I thought that the attention to detail was great; the no-counselor counselors were fantastic at their jobs and you could tell they really loved what they did; the activities were fun and varied; and I met some incredible people. I’m also so happy to have gotten the opportunity to experience this with my older sis, because we’ve never done something like this before together.
We laughed, we cried, we played in the rain, and froze our asses off at night, and it was honestly one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time. I may not have met my “everything bagel” (as Coffee Meets Bagel calls it), but I did make memories will last a lifetime and I’d definitely do it again in a heartbeat.