I stood on the gravel with bags of marshmallows in my arms. The sun was just about down and as I stood at the entrance of the pavilion, I could see the fire roaring, people dancing, corn hole matches being smack talked, honeymooners kissing, beers being cheered, selfies being snapped, and smiling. So much smiling. And then I cried; I couldn’t help it, the tears just streamed down my face uncontrollably.
It’s oddly emotional to see a dream come true, especially one like this.
I came up with Camp Throwback, then called Camp Mardukas (50 internet points if you get the reference), four years ago. I pitched it to a friend in the Marketing business and every brand I was working with at the time, and was told the exact same thing… this will never be successful, people won’t come to this. So I saved and planned and filled two notebooks on my desk with ideas. I would do this alone.
Which was also totally terrifying, because I’ve done very little alone. I got married young to a boy I’d been dating since I was 15. I had three kids in rapid succession. Every large project I’d launched in the last 7 years was done so with a partner I credited as being more successful, popular and capable than myself.
Tickets for Camp Throwback sold out last October in 30 hours. Turns out, we were both wrong.
100 strangers met in the woods. We stayed in cabins and gathered around fires and bonded in a way only adults in the middle of nowhere could. Everyone was friends. Everyone was equal.
My co-ed band of campers did what campers do. We made friendship bracelets and learned archery. We flew down slip n’ slides and hiked through the woods. It was just like the summer camps from our youth… except we were drunk. Thank goodness for Chili Dan’s Bloody Mary Hangover Breakfasts.
Extra thanks to my amazing sponsors for taking a chance on my idea, and arming my campers with all the necessities.
We caked our eyes in black eyeliner and shook off our favorite flannels to party like Clinton was still president and Michael Jordan wasn’t done retiring from sports, yet. We ate Bugles and Cheese Balls and totally rad cookies from Sugarbean. DJ Jon Majerowski put us in the middle of an angsty Winona Ryder movie and we danced until 2am.
When I announced Drunk Field Day, everyone groaned. There was nothing fun about being the outcast on field day in high school, but I have one word for you… redemption. It was a cabin vs cabin competition of three-legged races, water balloon fights, watermelon eating contests, and an ultimate dodgeball championship. In the end, only one cabin was victorious… Cabin 4. Watch yourself, Cabin 4, there’s a target on your back next year, and the other cabins are out for blood!
Our final night was spent enjoying a front row private concert from the one, Jenny Talia, who rocked it out vagina-style before grabbing a beer and joining us around the fire for one last night of complete debauchery. If that night had a catchphrase, it would have been, “I never want to go home.”
And that’s how we all felt. We never wanted to go home.
I’ve spent a large portion of my adult life convinced that I was weird and unlikable and that I didn’t have any friends. I operated as a loner and a recluse and didn’t realize what I had until it was right in front of my face.
I got to put on an event surrounded by the best friends a girl could have, and I can’t fucking wait until next year. Speaking of which…
Tickets go on sale Monday June 16th at 10am EST, watch CampThrowback.com and the Camp Throwback Facebook page for more news and information!
Thanks to my sponsors: Duraflame, CrotchGear, Mercy, Moroccan Oil, Chili Dan’s, and The Travelsmith.
And extra thanks to the amazing friends who rallied and helped me pull this off. I simply don’t have enough words (or liquor) to explain how much I love you… Julie, Jen, Stephen, Mike, Sara, Mike, Autum, Jon, Becca, Allison, Nate, Meredith, Shaun, Kate and Jason.
And finally thanks to Jess, for helping me with this epic undertaking and never sending my calls to voicemail… even when she was in active labor and pushing out a baby. She’s that dedicated.
Want to see even more pictures from camp? Check out the #campthrowback hashtag on Instagram!
See you next year, y’all!