Camp No Counselors is an adult summer camp that lets “grown ups” relive their glory days of sleepover camp. Each camp session takes place in a real summer camp – outside the “traditional dates” when kids would be there. Campers can book weekend sessions in May or September in one of 9 metropolitan areas. Adult summer camp features all the accouterments of the summer camp you knew as a kid: sports, games, waterfront activities, campfires, talent shows and more. There's the added bonus of an open bar and co-ed cabins.
Camp No Counselors is the brainchild of Adam Tichauer. He wanted to get a group of old friends for a summer camp-style weekend and inquired about renting an existing kid's camp in the off-season. He got about 20 friends together and they told some friends (and so on) and before he knew it, he had two busloads of people booked for the weekend. After tinkering with the concept a few more times, he knew he had a business and he plunged into making Camp No Counselors a reality. He pitches the concept to the Sharks in episode 722.
My Take on Adult Summer Camp
I attended summer camp as a kid. My first sleep over camp was several summers of Boy Scout Camp. We slept in tents on platforms, cooked our own meals over a fire, went canoeing, swimming, shot rifles, did archery, and worked on various merit badges. It was high times. We felt so free, living away from our families for two weeks “on our own.”
When I was a little older, I went to a more “traditional” summer camp. We had cabins, counselors, a wide range of activities, and we ate in a dining hall. Every two weeks, we'd have a dance with the girls' camp across the lake. Those were the summers of “coming of age” where my camp-mates and I discovered girls.
Both experiences molded my childhood and I have nothing but great memories. As a young adult, a friend of mine used to organize ski trips where a bunch of friends would get in a bus and head to Vermont ski country for a weekend of booze-filled skiing and debauchery. This is closer to the experience Camp No Counselors offers with their adult summer camp experience.
Camp No Counselors aims to bring people from different backgrounds together in their summer camp model – so it's more like the traditional summer camps of old. I remember wondering who'd be in my cabin every summer and looked forward to meeting new kids from different communities. I still have a few friends from those days. Tichauer says, in addition to the camping experience, there's a lot of networking and bonding at Camp No Counselors (no doubt aided by the open bar and co-ed cabins).
I think there's enough nostalgia about the carefree days of summer camp that this business could really take off. At around $600 bucks for a weekend, it's fairly inexpensive when you compare it to other weekends away. The inherent unknowns and adventure involved make it a unique get-away. The current market is the under 40 crowd, but he has plans to offer an over 45 adult summer camp in the future. As a big fan of summer camp (and open bars), I am solidly IN!
Will Sharks want to Camp Out?
If Tichauer has profits, he'll get some interest from the Sharks. So far, he's used a slow-growth approach to the business to prove the concept. A cash infusion from a Shark, along with the unanimously positive reviews and buzz Camp No Counselors is getting in the media, could really put this business through the roof.
At the current level of capacity Camp No Counselors is operating at, sales should be well over half a million bucks a year. Adding new markets exponentially increases sales and profits. If the adult summer camp phenomena catches on, this could quickly become a $10 million + per year business.
I think Mark will be very interested in this business. He invested in Haunted Hayrides and Rugged Maniac, two other “experience-based” businesses. Mark knows people need to unplug and these sort of experiences are profitable. I am betting Mark goes to summer camp with Camp No Counselors.