As a coworking space owner/operator, I spend a TON of time thinking about how create an environment that lends itself to the formation of friendships and real connection.
These days, adults don’t make new friends easily. Our interactions are reduced to like, love, or LOL. We drive around alone in our cars listening to podcasts. At the end of a long work day, we catch up on our favorite Netflix or Amazon series. We can conduct almost every business we need online, so we don’t even bump into people running errands or standing in line. No wonder we as a people feel lonely!
I’m passionate about coworking because it’s a return to face-to-face interaction, community, and real-life friending.
Now, I’m also passionate about camp.
Camp TimeOut is summer camp for adults. It is the brainchild of Christin Marshall, a recent grad of the winter EforAll cohort, so we’ve watched her develop it from idea to launch at Groundwork! over the months. The premise is simple: go back to camp for a weekend, and take a time out from your busy life. Camp TimeOut takes place in a beautiful, rustic setting: a real summer camp complete with a waterfront, cabins, and dining hall. There are activities galore: workouts designed by CrossFit instructors and a burpee mile challenge for you intensity junkies out there; archery, hiking, bonfires, and kayaking for the traditional summer camp types; SUP yoga, self defense, water skiing, and wake boarding if you’re one of those millennials who likes to try new things.
And then there’s the true magic: no cell signal, and no WiFi. The sort of detail that causes initial panic, followed by a collective sigh: aaaaaaaaaah.
I attended the inaugural edition of Camp TimeOut last weekend. As an entrepreneur, I was stoked because Christin nailed the logistics! As a nature lover, I was swooning at the full moonrise over the lake and the smell of pine forests. And as a coworking space owner and crusader to end loneliness and isolation among adults, I was convinced that this concept is nothing short of revolutionary.
Our motto at Groundwork! is “Work together. Grow together.” At camp you could say: “Play together. Be together.”
We cheered each other on during the burpee mile, chatted over meals, shot bb guns, and basked in the sun together. And each night we did what humans have been doing for hundreds of years: we gathered around a fire.
This ancient and primal tradition still holds great power: as sparks shot into the air, secrets were shared and bonds were created. It felt utterly natural, simple, and free.
Now I’m back in front of my computer screen, but fortunately I’m at Groundwork! so I can find my way into a random lunch conversation in the kitchen soon. And I’m already looking forward to my next weekend to unplug and reconnect at Camp TimeOut in October. Will I see you there, friend?