6 Insane Summer Camps That Will Make You Wish You Were a Kid

#3. Ninja Camp


Ninja Camp USA teaches you the shadow warrior's path of stealth and deception, fulfilling every tae kwon do class daydream you had as a child, with the notable exclusion of dancing mutant reptiles and Vanilla Ice. Both kids and adults can enroll to receive training in ninja weaponry (including swords, shurikens, and throwing stars), hand-to-hand combat skills, and Japanese history over the course of several days while wearing all black in the punishing summer heat.

Ninja Camp USA
Mark and Jake gave up, but Kenshi is committed.

Arguably the most important aspect of ninjutsu is stealth, as a non-stealthy ninja is essentially Jackie Chan, and he probably has his own fantasy camp. To reflect this, Ninja Camp USA places a heavy emphasis on nighttime stealth tactics, stealth competitions, and camouflaging techniques that teach you to utilize your surroundings, like when Arnold Schwarzenegger painted himself up with mud in Predator. There are also high-ropes courses for strength and agility training, because any ninja worth her salt has to be able to descend from above like a stabby raindrop:

Ninja Camp USA
"Guys ... guys, I'm stuck. Can somebody go find a trampoline?"

On completion, all campers receive a certificate of stealth to take home, which you can then hang on your wall along with your diplomas.

Ninja Camp USA
Tell us you wouldn't feel better talking to a therapist who had also graduated from ninja school.

Everyone also gets to take home a set of throwing knives and a ninja uniform, so they can put their stealth training to the test by robbing the hell out of the nearest gas station.

#2. The Lord of the Rings / Game of Thrones Fantasy Battle Camp


Live-action role playing can be a turnoff for some campers, because whaling on a bunch of other kids in T-shirts and shorts with a cardboard tube for a sword fails to really capture the magic of being locked in an epic fantasy battle. However, Camp Rivendell in Calgary, Canada, took things up a notch by pitting campers against vicious hordes of bloodthirsty orcs, requiring them to work together over the span of a week battling wave after punishing wave of dickbashing monster fury.

Wow, the fact that this is a Catholic boys' camp really makes that last sentence unsettling.

The camp, named after that place where Hugo Weaving lives in The Lord of the Rings, tossed kids into the Tolkien universe and tasked them with defending the world of men from Sauron's army of evil.

Homoerotic subtext aside, this looks way better than Vacation Bible School.

In addition to learning basic swordfighting and combat skills, campers would build forts and functioning catapults, which already puts them a step above the local LARPing society that meets in the field behind the YMCA every Wednesday for a spirited pre-Shoney's arena battle. And since orcs are pretty thin on the ground in Calgary, the villainous monsters were played by volunteers among the campers' dads, allowing many children to revenge themselves against their fathers for blaming that hot dog fart on them during the cramped family drive down to Disney World.

Above: "Good Catholic leadership."

Unfortunately, Camp Rivendell wasn't exactly endorsed by J.R.R. Tolkien's estate, and the camp received a cease and desist order to change its name. So, they redressed the whole thing as Arcatheos, a thinly veiled Game of Thrones fantasy camp without any legally ensnaring references, but with most of the original programs intact.

They do disembowel pregnant women, but not during weddings.

In addition to the swordplay and fort building, campers now learn how to live a "castle life," which is a fancy way of saying "bury their poop in piles of straw and be convinced everything around them is haunted." Also, the kids can return year after year and progress into knighthood, then subsequently mentor a whole new generation of Arcatheos squires, which isn't a bad way to spend five days every summer.

#1. Supersonic Safari Camp

Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images, Incredible Adventures

For $10,000, you can spend six nights on the Kapama Private Game Reserve in South Africa, taking daily safari tours and blazing through the skies in a Russian MiG-21 fighter jet, smashing two of everyone's childhood fantasies together like a pair of jackknifing big rigs in an ice storm.

Incredible Adventures

Incredible Adventures will set you up with this weeklong vacation as part of the MiG-21 Supersonic Club, unsurprisingly founded by a man whose personal mission statement is "speed, speed, and more speed!!!" The exclamation points are his.

The Kapama Reserve is a 50-square-mile compound filled with the most popular African wildlife. Twice each day you'll have the option of being driven through the reserve by a guide, where you will get closer to elephants, lions, rhinos, and leopards than half of our readers have ever been to a VCR:

Incredible Adventures
"Sometimes the lions don't want to come out, so we make Ronald go sit in the Danger Chair and start crying like his leg is broken."

The enclosed park ensures that you don't have to drive more than an hour to see the entire cast of The Lion King, cutting what is routinely an excruciatingly long scavenger hunt for most safari tours down to a single afternoon. And you can do it twice a day for the entire trip.

When you aren't absorbing every precious glimpse you get of some of the rarest creatures on Earth, you'll be screaming through the sky just below the stratosphere in a Russian jet flying faster than fucking thunder. You get one 30- to 45-minute flight per vacation, which may seem short until you consider that that half-hour will be spent inside a supersonic jet taking you on a soaring adventure loaded with tremendous explosions of speed. They even let you man the controls at one point.

Incredible Adventures
If you do anything but barrel roll, you're wasting an incredible opportunity.

You can schedule additional flights if you want to (and have unlimited funds), although the website isn't clear whether buzzing the animals while blaring the theme from Top Gun is an option on the standard vacation package or something that costs extra.

Related Reading: Some people should have nothing to do with kids. For more proof of that, read about PETA's child propaganda games. If the whole "indoctrinating children" thing still has your attention, this comic book about cyborg Sean Hannity fighting future liberals will surely brighten your day. Keep the irresponsible children's media streak alive with utterly insane Peanut's specials. You haven't seen Charlie Brown until you've seen him mourning war dead!

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