How This Adult Camp Is Shaking Up Stuffy Corporate Culture

August 16, 2018, 5:46 PM UTC

The camp day starts at 7 am with the harmonic chimes of an early morning bell—signaling it’s time for meditation, for those who wish to participate. What comes next is left almost entirely up to the imaginations of its visitors.

At Custom Camps, a play-based adult retreat that specializes in corporate off-sites, the goal is to bring creativity back into the workforce and to build lasting bonds among employees. But as its name suggests, the various activities offered at Custom Camps, from sound baths to zip lining, are tailored and customized to meet the needs of its visiting companies.

“If there’s a team that’s been together for years and they need a boost of creativity, we’ll take them out and do some different programing to get them working together in a way they haven’t before,” said CEO and co-founder Ben Hanna.

Hanna and fellow co-founder and Camp Director, Brady Gill, spend months preparing itineraries and the camp for its guests. In one season, they can expect anywhere from 4-5 bookings and some retreats bring in as many as 350 people, requiring a minimum of 60 staff onsite.

Gill and Hanna work tirelessly to offer adults the freedom of choice and play-based joy they experienced in childhood. But reclaiming that freedom can sometimes come with an awkward transition.

“It can be a little clunky,” said Gill. “People get off the bus and they are so used to being told what to do. It takes people a little while to get used to that mind set of choice.”

This summer season, the year-round camp is based in Northern California near the epicenter of the tech boom.

“We’re reaching people that are making a huge difference in this world and we’re helping them be more human,” said Gill. “That feels really great to me.”

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