Fantasy camps are hardly new. The model for many of them – Field of Dreams’ gatherings of baseball fans and their aging idols – goes back more than two decades. The camps have grown into a $1 billion industry that goes far beyond sports. The following are some of the adult camps – some for adventure, others for unique educational experiences – that are offered throughout the United States:
Fantasy Adventure Movies
Adventure Out (Santa Cruz, CA; www.adventureout.com)
• Options include one-day camps, weekend programs, long-stay trips, and private retreats for surf camps, rock climbing classes, backpacking trips, dirt biking, and wilderness survival skills instruction.
Air Combat USA (Fullerton, CA; www.aircombat.com)
• Guest pilots fly real military fighters at this civilian dog fighting school. These fully aerobatic, Italian-built war machines have onboard radar intercept capability, and they use patented electronic tracking systems to simulate the thrill of an actual “guns kill.” All aircraft are outfitted with high-end digital multi-camera systems to capture a guest’s fighter pilot experience. The weapons are simulated, but the air combat encounter is real. Participants scour the skies in search of the enemy aircraft, engage in aerial combat, and return to base vanquished or victorious. No pilot’s license is required. The camp has been operational since 1988.
Fantasy Adventure Books
Fantasy Adventure Camps in USA Photo Gallery
BSO Academy Week (Baltimore, MD; www.bsomusic.org)
• Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) offers this program to give amateurs an education in orchestral life. Participants play in chamber music rehearsals and take private lessons, group classes, and sessions and run-throughs with BSO music director Marin Alsop on the stage at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
“The adult pro-am idea for orchestras is not new but is gaining ground. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been doing it for a decade, and the Minnesota Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony in Virginia, and the Utah Symphony are among others that have dabbled. But such side-by-sides’ usually last an evening or a few days. Nothing approaches the scope of the Baltimore academy, which has grown to 103 students.”
Fantasy Adventure Games
The New York Times
New York Film Academy (New York, NY; www.nyfa.com)
• Movie fanatics can get behind the camera during New York Film Academy’s one-week movie camp. Students learn the basics needed to complete a short film through intensive sessions on writing, directing, and camera handling. They then have two days to film a movie before proceeding to editing and post-production tasks. Classes are held for adults and teens and locations include Los Angeles, Harvard University, Disney Studios, Florence (Italy), Paris (France), Australia, and South Beach, Florida.
Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp (Los Angeles, CA; www.rockandrollfantasycamp.com)
• Participants are grouped into bands, each with a resident rock star. The groups have four days to perfect the songs they will perform in the final event, the Battle of the Bands concert at the House of Blues. Between practices there are guest lecturers, including executives from music companies, and ample time to mingle with rock stars from the past.
Fantasy Adventure Music
Rockettes Experience (New York, NY; www.rockettes.com)
• The Rockettes Experience includes a 2-hour Rockettes dance class, a 45-minute Mock Audition, a 30-minute Q&A and Photo Op with the Rockettes instructor, and a Radio City Stage Door Tour. Private Rockettes Experience sessions are available.
USA Luge Fantasy Camp (Lake Placid, NY; www.usaluge.org)
• USA Luge, the governing body for the winter sport, offers a two- to three-day fantasy camp that lets people participate in one of the most exciting Winter Olympic sports. At the Lake Placid training facilities attendees experience an otherwise inaccessible sport. Participants get hands-on instruction from former pros. They eat in the same
dining hall next to Olympic hopefuls and sleep in the same dorms. They also get a dozen or more runs a day on the $30 million, mile-long track that the athletes race on.