Hold on to your mess kits: Seattle magazine is going to summer camp. In early June, I'll pack up my sleeping bag and bug spray and head into the wilderness to spend three days at Camp Rahh!, an all-inclusive camp experience for grown-ups (if the website photos are to be believed, these are grown-ups of the millennial persuasion). The catch? I must surrender any electronics, alcohol, credit cards, methods of time-telling or illegal substances and be one with my fellow humans.
You're thinking: She’s crazy. Why on Earth would anyone want to spend time in the great outdoors--47 acres on the nearby Samish Island to be exact—sans booze, pot or an occasional game of Candy Crush?
Camp Rahh's founder, Brian Oh, had a hunch there'd be more than a few takers. "I wanted to go back to my youth when I used to go to summer camp," he says. "There was no technology, no professional networking and when you left camp, you felt like you had this new group of friends you shared experiences with. Being able to provide an opportunity for adults to go and take a rest from technology and stress just like when we were kids will make a huge difference."
Oh and four of his close friends devised their activity-packed, rustic brainchild and initially launched it as a 30-day Kickstarter campaign. After experiencing an overwhelming amount of feedback and interest that people and companies wanted to get involved but couldn't commit within that timeframe, the Rahh gang switched to Eventbrite, which allowed them to open up registration through May and set up payment plan options (now closed) so anyone who wanted to join in on the fun, but couldn't afford to pay the $395 signup fee at once, could do so.
The notion of playing and exploring "just like when we were kids" is interesting, especially when nostalgia for the '90s—when a lot of millennials like me were actually heading off to summer camp—is all the rage. Earlier this year, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon reunited the Bayside High gang from popular '90s TV show Saved by the Bell in this video. The skit (good god, Zach Morris is ageless!) went viral and brought back a slew of memories for me, like plopping on the couch after school—my Fruit by the Foot snack in hand—and consuming three-and-a-half straight hours of television until the commercials started to shift from fun toy-related things to boring adult stuff like life insurance. Then there are Buzzfeed's endless listicles blazing with '90s glory: I had all these Ken dolls. I blew into Nintendo cartidges (it worked, dammit). And I was practically betrothed to Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
The gist of Camp Rahh definitely plays on that nostalgia: You have the option of filling your day with as little or as much hiking, archery, kayaking, candle-making, water balloon fights, scary stories around the campfire, stargazing and capture the flag (my third-grade self rocked capture the flag). And you've got to leave the adult accoutrements behind: Contraband items include phones, any sort of chargers or USB cables, computers or tablets, cameras (digital or film), iPods or mp3 players, headphones or earbuds, any timepiece, credit cards or cash, drugs, cigarettes and alcohol of any kind.
Courtesy of Camp Rahh!
Even so, Camp Rahh has its grown-up side; i.e. there will be coffee, not to mention cooking classes, yoga, slacklining and music from the likes of Bellingham electronic artist Manatee Commune, Bainbridge Island singer/songwriter Zach Fleury and classically trained pianist and singer/songwriter Susy Sun. Rahh recently announced that it snagged Hollywood Tavern's executive chef (also former exec chef at Skillet) and Huxley-Wallace Collective part owner Brian O'Connor as head camp chef who will "craft an entire menu of fresh, mostly local ingredients to serve up to happy campers all weekend long," notes Rahh founding team member Billy Thompson. (See the menu here. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options are available, too.)
As for lodging, we're bunking up by gender in the campground's range of dwellings including huts, A-frame chalets, tree houses and cabins. And just like at old-school summer camp, each cabin is assigned a camp counselor.
You can read all about my Camp Rahh! experiences (once I return, of course), including copious “Kumbaya”-ing and playing of capture the flag, right here at seattlemag.com.
Maybe I'll see you there? There's still time to register.
Camp Rahh!, June 5-7 on Samish Island