PERRYVILLE, Ky. (FOX 56) — Missing the nostalgia of summer camp? Well, it’s never too late to unleash your inner child. Whether you’re 25 or 65, Adult Wilderness Camp is here to bring back all the memories of summer camp.

“For me, connecting with your inner child and why it’s so special is because I think that we grow up, we get responsibilities and jobs, and we move away from who we were as kids, and honestly, as who you were, as a kid is kind of the core of who you are,” said founder Joelle Riding. “I think for all of us since COVID, the world has changed and I think that I was feeling disconnected from the world. I was looking for a way to connect from people outside of a screen and outside of a bar and just your typical everyday places.”

AWC is a mix of all summer camp fun and wellness retreats.

“This morning we all took place, or we all took part in a cold plunge and so if you are familiar, there’s a lot of like health benefits, long term and short term with cold therapy and breathwork. So, there is a little bit of mindfulness, but definitely a lot of play and connection and fun,” Riding said.

Camper Lauren Baird said she came to camp alone but is leaving with more than just friends.

“I got here, and I got to meet everybody, and everyone was so nice and so just like willing to share with each other and just like, build each other up in a way that I haven’t experienced very often in my life, and it’s just been such a wonderful experience,” Baird said.

Riding says the thing that makes this camp so special is no technology and no substances.


“I wanted to create an experience where for a weekend you put your phones away, you connect with people face to face and there’s no alcohol. So, it’s really about just tapping into how we were as kids of learning how to have conversations again and connect,” Riding said.

One camp counselor says this experience was eye-opening for her and plans to volunteer again.

“We have a wide range of age groups from different places in Kentucky and just watching people come in and be like a little nervous and jittery and then we slowly have opened them up and just cracked them open throughout the weekend, “Camp counselor Bailey Moberly said.

This weekend was AWC’s first camp ever with campers checking in Thursday night all the way until Sunday morning.

“I had a vision of just like I want people to come and connect with each other and it’s been beautiful to kind of as a as the founder, like step back and let the campers connect and I have seen connections and conversations and relationships and friendships happen this weekend that were beyond what I could have ever hoped for,” Riding said.

Riding said she’s bringing three more camps next year, so the fun won’t stop here.

Each camper is provided with sleeping arrangements and meals.

To register for a spot next year, click here.