If you attended summer camp as a kid, you probably have good memories of being immersed in nature, learning new skills and meeting people who would eventually become lifelong friends. These days, strapped with the responsibilities of adulthood, you look back at that time wistfully, yearning for the carefree days of youth. Enter Camp Fuel. Story by Lynn Burshtein
Now the possibility of returning to summer camp is no longer out of reach for those over the age of majority. Camp Fuel, a 19+ co-ed summer fitness camp taking place June 7-9, 2019 in Muskoka, Ontario, has all the benefits of summer camp, but fewer rules. There is no one to tell you “lights out” at 10 p.m. And while there is a wide range of fitness classes to choose from, including outdoor boot camps, archery, animal flow, hip hop and sunrise yoga, as well as dance instruction, campers are entirely free to make up their own schedules. They can choose to participate in competitive, “Type A” fitness adventures, or just chill out at arts & crafts sessions, sunbathe on the dock or sit around the evening bonfire, beer in hand.
Meals at Camp Fuel are also taken up a few notches from the usual camp fare. There is an emphasis on healthy eating, with gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options available on request, making the choice of cuisine more varied. But on the whole, the set-up at Camp Fuel is true to form. Guests bring their own sleeping bags and bunk with roommates. All meals are served communal style in the Dining Hall. The rustic YMCA Pine Crest lakeside location (not to mention the odd mosquito) makes for an authentic experience.
Founded by Alicia Wood in 2018, a Toronto-based personal trainer and instructor, the Camp Fuel brand is expanding rapidly. Aside from the flagship camp weekend in Muskoka, Wood holds Camp Fuel “Day Camp” fitness classes combined with socializing opportunities at local Toronto venues, ranging from craft breweries to meditation studios. The goal is to make participation open to people of all levels, and to enable fitness enthusiasts to forge friendships easily. Says Wood: “I teach and participate in a lot of fitness classes in Toronto, but find it difficult to make friends at the gyms I’m in and out of. I wanted to make that easier for people who lead a healthy lifestyle to connect with likeminded people. The idea of doing it at summer camp made sense to me because it’s the easiest place to let your guard down and get to know each other.“
Indeed, while the choice of fitness studios in a large city like Toronto is virtually limitless, people are so busy with their daily lives, they often have just enough time to squeeze in a class between business meetings. A weekend escape that allow one to fully engage with the outdoors, participate in wellness-based activities and cultivate personal connections seems like a much-needed panacea to modern life. Wood adds, “We can now go away for the weekend, soak up the sun, be active and eat healthy. You end up heading back to work on Monday refreshed and motivated rather than sluggish and needing a vacation from your vacation.”
I can vouch for that. I headed to Camp Fuel last year after a particularly busy work week. Over the weekend, I met some friendly people and learned a few new activities. More than anything, though, I enjoyed reconnecting with my inner child.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Lynn is a frequent contributor to Travel to Wellness and a Camp Fuel Brand Ambassador. You can find her on Instagram