Growing old without growing up: Sleepaway camp for adults

Growing old without growing up: Sleepaway camp for adults

On this late October day, as I wheel into the Wonder Valley Ranch Resort nestled in the foothills of the spellbinding if drought-scorched Sierras, I’m struck by the notion that it’s a bit late in the season to be going to a summer camp for adults. But then, it would seem a bit late to be going to summer camp at all. For at age 45, I am what noted gerontologist Cedric the Entertainer calls “a grown-ass man.”

But that hardly matters anymore. For I am also a citizen of Infantilized America, where getting old has gotten old, and youth is no longer just wasted on the young. Maybe it’s due to narcissism or nostalgia, or all our institutions atrophying. (Even for rebellious souls, what old order is there left to upset?) Maybe it springs from the heaping buffet of cultural junk-food available to us as binge-eating consumers, or from wishing to simplify a dizzying world. But ours is a country whose adultescents now play with Legos and on “adult playgrounds,” color in “adult coloring books,” and read as much YA fiction as their teenage daughters.

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