9 Weirdest Camps

1Masculinity Camp

Each session of Camp Nick, a “masculinity camp” for boys age 8 to 11 held in a bucolic park in Santa Monica, California, begins with a chant:

We do what we HAVE to do before we do what we WANT to do!

“What does that mean? How does it pertain to your life?” Nick Tucker, the camp's leader and namesake, asks the boys.

“Brush your teeth before you play video games!” A boy named Riley explains, matter-of-factly.

The Camp Nick curriculum is designed to help participants better understand themselves and how they fit into the world around them. The project began in January 2017 after parents asked Tucker (who is a teacher's assistant at a Santa Monica school) if he could develop a boys' equivalent to the after-school programs they had for girls?. Kids at Camp Nick discuss and explore responsibility. They examine gender stereotypes and work on developing self-awareness. The camp includes physical activity, discussion, and time to reflect.

2Zombie Boot Camp

In 2011, a one-day training course was introduced that promised to teach people specialized zombie-fighting skills for only $90. It was aptly named Zombie Boot Camp.

Whether you're one of those crazy folks who believes a zombie apocalypse is imminent or just a big fan of zombie culture, Zombie Boot Camp sounded like the perfect experience. The unique course that took place in Droitwich, Worchestershire, had would-be zombie hunters participating in specific training exercises with experienced military instructors, before putting on special armor and taking on a group of brain-eating zombies to prove they've mastered the skills necessary to survive during a zombie crisis.

A day at Zombie Boot Camp started with equipment and weapons training. Zombie-killing trainees had to put on a standard-issue Kevlar body armor, jacket and pants, and pay close attention to a team of veterans, as they demonstrated how to handle a specially-adapted pistol, assault rifle, grenades, and chainsaw. Then they were drilled in how to clear a room of flesh-craving zombies, before…lunch. That's right, a nice, big, nutritious meal, to prepare them for the truly scary part of the training course.

3Stavropol Children's Military Camp

Welcome to Stavropol children's military camp, where Russian kids leave their childhood at the door! As the title suggests, this is not your typical summer camp, where people play games, have fun, and learn cool stuff, this is the baby Russian army. About 40 children, between 12 and 17, learn the basics in martial arts and weaponry. Former Russian servicemen run the camp, and they're pretty tough!

4Adult Summer Camp

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go back to summer camp as an adult? Camp No Counselors is the all-inclusive, weekend-long, sleepaway camp for grown-ups! Escape to an experience that combines your favorite aspects of childhood fun along with the best of what being a grown-up has to offer (meaning: open bar).

Camp No Counselors started in 2013 and is the brainchild of founder Adam Tichauer who first rented a campground for himself and his “20 closest friends.” The camp required a minimum of 30 people to be booked entirely, so he told his friends to invite their friends, and it ballooned to 90 people.

Each camp weekend includes with land and water sports, arts and crafts activities, nightly theme parties, an open bar, delicious meals and of course, all of your favorite classic camp activities.

5Bacon Camp

Bacon fans, prepare to pig out.

Camp Bacon is an annual food event in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The five-day event features every activity a bacon lover could want, from bacon baking classes and pig roasts to bacon-based meals and talks with food journalists and chefs. It's pretty much heaven for hog lovers, and the fresh-cooked bacon almost never stops flowing.

For better or worse, it's not a sleepaway camp; participants instead purchase tickets to individual events which are held in venues around Ann Arbor.

6Camp Okutta

Betcha didn't have this kind of summer camp when you were growing up—Camp Okutta, a kid's camp with activities like throwing grenades and setting up land mines!

In 2007, posters for Camp Okutta started appearing in various Canadian cities describing it as an adventure camp for kids. But in addition to standard activities such as hiking and games, kids also get a summer of "throwing grenades, shooting AK-47 assault rifles, and receiving minefield training."

In reality, the camp is a clever bit of advertising by War Child Canada to raise awareness of actual camps around the world training child soldiers.

7Space Camp for Grown-Ups

You might not make it to outer space in your lifetime, but you might get to Space Camp. Since 1982, this NASA program at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, in Huntsville, Alabama, has promoted space exploration by putting kids through simulations of astronaut training and life in space. Some lucky adults can participate, too. Jane Engle of the Los Angeles Times was one of them.

“During my program (in 2012), more than 40 participants built and launched model rockets, whirled around in a G-force simulator, got turned topsy-turvy, piloted mock fighter jets and attempted to walk in simulated low gravity," she said. “We also spent hours inside mock-ups of a space shuttle cockpit, NASA mission control, and the International Space Station, the settings for simulated shuttle missions that formed the core of our training. Working in teams, we took turns crewing the space shuttle orbiter, monitoring the mission, conducting research experiments and participating in extravehicular activities (a.k.a. spacewalks) to make repairs." Sounds like some serious fun!

8Finding Your Roots Camp

In 2016, more than 20 middle school-aged students participated in the Finding Your Roots camp, as part of the Penn State's Science-U Summer Camps.

Students have the chance to learn about their ancestry and traits by studying different variables, such as their DNA. Nina Jablonski, a distinguished professor of anthropology, developed the camp in hopes it would expose students from underrepresented populations to more STEM-related academics.

Although some of the subject matter, like race, can be somewhat controversial, Jablonski finds that discussing it at this age is a necessity.

9Internet Addiction Boot Camp

There are 632 million Internet users in China—and 24 million of its children are thought to be hooked. Some of them are now being sent to this controversial military-style boot camp, in the hope of weaning them off the web.

Teenagers sent to this camp are committed for three to six months, and perhaps longer if they do not respond positively. They undergo treatment designed by Tao Ran, a psychiatrist and colonel in the People's Liberation Army, that combines military discipline with traditional techniques to overcome addiction. The teens are also denied access to all electronic devices, are prohibited from having any outside contact, and have to follow all orders. Over 6,000 boys and (occasionally) girls have entered the center since it opened in 2006.