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Outdoorsy Summer Camp for Indoorsy Women

kayaking womens retreat

Kayaking, archery, paddleboarding, basketweaving -- summer camp for grown women.

Summer camp for some families is sort of a rite of passage for the kids: the chance to get out of the city/suburbs, learn some new skills, hang out in nature with new friends, feel what life away from the family is like.

But one summer camp in South Carolina thinks all that sounds pretty good for grown-ups, too. For the past 20 years, the South Carolina Wildlife Federation has been offering weekend retreats for women, who spend three days getting out on the water, hiking, camping … and even that old summer camp mainstay, basket-weaving.

Maggie Fox from NBC News writes about her experience at the outdoorsy weekend over at Today.com. Fox and a bunch of other middle-aged indoors-women tried out paddleboarding, archery, sailing and other woodsy activities. Fox even got bitten by a snake, which earns her, what do you call it, trail-cred?

The thing about the camp, and I totally get this, is that it’s a chance to try these new activities that you may sort of be drawn to but not drawn to enough to actually figure out how to do it on your own. Camp counselors teach the women how, they encourage them, offer feedback — all in a low-pressure, kid-/partner-free zone where no one wants to know what’s for lunch and everyone sort of sucks at the skills so you get to not be self-conscious about trying. (I know, I know, we’re all supposed to be so over getting laughed at by now in our lives but, still, something in that realm can hold you back.)

The learning curve for something completely new can be just the excuse we need to not take advantage of the different activities available, even in large metropolitan areas. Where can you rent the equipment? How much will it cost? What are the rules? Am I risking my life? Answerable questions but … it’s just easier to sign up for Zumba.


Screw fat camp and abs boot camp and all the mind-focus retreats. This kind of camp is how I want to spend my summer vacation.


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