As may be the case for many working parents of young children, Danielle Goldfinger occasionally longs for the youthful freedom that went hand-in-hand with the summer vacations of her school-aged past—particularly the joy of spending time outdoors surrounded by friends. For her, the place that consistently offered that seasonal freedom was camp.
“These were the best times of my life, and I think about camp often,” Goldfinger says, explaining that she loved the opportunity to have some independence away from home. “It was just amazing to be able to literally spend every minute with friends.”
Now, as a responsible adult with a job as an event coordinator with The Stop Community Food Centre, Goldfinger, who attended Camp Shalom, Camp Solelim, and Camp Northland, wants to recreate that experience.
It was with this in mind that she created the Two Islands Weekend summer camp for adults. The first-ever session will be held from September 6 to 8, at Haliburton’s Camp Timberlane, located on Lake of Two Islands.
The all-inclusive weekend includes two nights in shared cabins, plus all-day camp activities: canoeing, arts and crafts, yoga, and field sports in the vein of nostalgic camp-wide games, like capture the flag. There will also be an all-camp baseball game, and trivia in the evening. About 30 people have signed up so far, though there’s enough space for 100.
Programming will run all day, and while Goldfinger hopes that people will enthusiastically participate, nobody will be forced to do anything they don’t want to do. Taking a nap, checking email, sending some tweets, calling home—all are perfectly acceptable. As for those other rules many campers may remember—like no booze and no smoking—those are out the window, too.
In fact, not only is drinking alcohol permitted, one might say it’s encouraged. Rosewood Estate Winery, McAuslan Brewery, and Black Fly Spirit Beverages will be providing the booze, all included in the price of admission.
Another major draw, and a likely reason that people are shelling out $300 for the weekend, will be the meals on offer.
“Food is a really big part of my life, and I think it’s a really big part of the culture in this city,” Goldfinger explains. “Camp, for many people, conjures up memories of very bad food. Great times, great experiences, but bad food across the board is something that people always reminisce about.”
Rather than serve up unpalatable camp grub, Goldfinger has recruited a number of Toronto-based chefs to create camp-inspired meals. Local food-scene watchers may recognize many of the names on the guest/chef list, including Tom Brodi (a private chef, formally of TOCA), Joshna Maharaj (a food activist), Rossy Earle (creator of SupiCucu Diablo’s Fuego hot sauce), Elyse Wahle (of Sullivan & Bleeker), Trish Gill (of Catch Seafood), Amanda Ford (of Citygirl Catering), Daniel Sanders (of Globe Bistro), Jason Cox (of Opus), Tony Cammalleri (of Pusateri’s), and Kristina Groeger (a recipe editor for Loblaws).
Groeger, who will be serving up a mustard, brown sugar, and jalapeno barbecued chicken, says she decided to get involved because she missed out on the camp experience as a child.
“I really wanted to get involved because I only went to overnight camp once as a kid, and I feel sad that I didn’t get to go more,” she says.
In addition to your appetite, Goldfinger suggests packing another key camp necessity.
“Bring a guitar,” she advises. “We’ll have bonfires and s’mores, but we need some music to go with it.”