Do you ever feel like getting away from work and responsibilities, and returning for a while to the freedoms and pleasures of childhood? ESCAPE Adult Sports and Fitness Camp, located on the beautiful campus of Amherst College, is a place where you can do just that. For one week in June you’ll indulge in sports, games, social life and relaxation – and learn about the latest advances in healthy living – in a non-competitive and supportive environment, while enjoying the atmosphere and scenery of a small New England college in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley. ESCAPE Camp is perfectly designed to entertain, enliven and enrich your life.
ESCAPE Camp grew from the 30+ year tradition of Smith College’s Adult Sports and Fitness Camp, founded by Jim Johnson and Don Siegel, professors in the Exercise and Sport Studies Department at Smith. Jim and Don had spent years working on programs directed toward fitness in adult women, and in 1981 they decided to combine their experience to create a co-ed camp at Smith for adults of all ages. Their program aimed at educating attendees about exercise and nutritional needs, providing some fun time devoted to physical activity, and helping improve skills in a variety of sports.
2010 marked the 30th year of ASFC, under the management of Scott Johnson, director of Smith’s Outdoor Adventure Program – and son of founder Jim Johnson; 2011 brought the addition of aqua-aerobics specialist Craig Collins as co-director. After the 2012 session, because of program changes at Smith, the camp closed. But ASFC’s devoted attendees decided that their camp was too precious to lose. Led by long-time camper and Smith alumna Sandra Morgan, a group of passionate volunteers forged a connection with Amherst College, giving the camp new life and a new name.
Under Sandy’s spirited volunteer directorship, the fledgling ESCAPE Camp undertook its first season in 2013. Its philosophy remains the same as that taught by Smith ASFC, and many of the activities and staff remain, including Scott and Craig as instructors. ESCAPE Camp has built from its new beginnings, enabling Sandy Morgan to turn over the reins in 2015 to our first non-volunteer director, Chris Boyko, Strength and Conditioning Coach at Amherst College. Campers and staff who have continued this great tradition are enthusiastically looking forward to future summer sessions and our next great ESCAPE!
WHAT OUR CAMPERS SAY
“One of the best parts of camp is the glow of inspiration that lasts throughout the year after I leave!”
– Bill A., Seattle, Washington
“How do I describe a week at ESCAPE Camp? Stepping out into a fun, friendly, energetic array of experiences which rejuvenate the mind and body and spirit”
– Karen S., New York
“ESCAPE Camp is a week where you can forget you’re an adult (except at daily Social Hour), and play, challenge yourself to learn new things, rejuvenate body and soul, and have fun with some great people of all ages. It’s a true getaway, to unplug, restore, laugh, make memories and reconnect with yourself.”
– Jan K., Connecticut
“If you looked forward to camp as a kid, you’ll be marking off the days on the calendar until your next adult camp week. Loved the people, the activities and time for myself.”
– Terry N., Pennsylvania
“When I first came to camp in 1991, it was a week of respite from child-rearing and running a household. What a treat – to laugh and play with a group of enthusiastic and interesting people, many of whom are still good friends.
I had always been the last one picked for teams in school and was glad marching band got me out of gym in high school. I never would have expected that now at 71, because of camp, I’d be working out with a trainer twice a week, doing yoga, and enjoying kayaking. The camp staff (talented and supportive) and other campers inspired me to challenge myself and exercise regularly.”
– Sandy M., Connecticut
“This experience has extra meaning for me because the first time I came to camp, five years ago, was also the first time I “put my foot in the road,” so to speak, after my husband died. I thought I would never be able to feel joy again in my life, and camp proved to me that it was possible. That I might. So it gave me hope. Since then, I’ve climbed out of that dark hole, but I still love and need that week in June.”
– Nancy W., New York
“How would I describe camp? – Staying fit by having fun! My favorite camp activity? – Social Hour!”
– Burt F., Massachusetts
“Over and over one sees people trying things they have always wanted to learn and either didn’t have the opportunity to do so, or were afraid to try. At this camp one feels permission and encouragement to try everything. The feeling of fearlessness and accomplishment is palpable.”
– Nona H., Massachusetts
Pseudo Haiku for camp –
“ESCAPE Camp, a week apart;
be a kid, learn a sport,
make a new friend!”
– Dorothy V., Massachusetts