Bob Roth tennis camp

Bob Roth at the United States Tennis Association’s headquarters in Florida.

The nostalgia of summer camp has been close to my heart lately. I’ve been filled with gratitude for parents who had the means to send me and saw the value of the camp experience in molding my character. If you have never been to camp as a kid, the good news for adults of all ages is it’s not too late.

If you want to learn something new, explore new places, and gather with others who have similar passions, adult camp is an opportunity to explore. I share this epiphany with you, my fellow boomers, as I elevate my aching feet after three days of tennis camp at the beautiful United States Tennis Association (USTA) headquarters in Orlando, Florida.

I shared this amazing experience with my wife, Susie and seven other tennis enthusiasts ranging in age from 28-67 years. As I reflect on adult camp, there is no question in my mind why I highly endorse this concept. It has all the elements that contribute to successful aging.

We are meant to be social, with isolation having a profoundly negative effect on health. The camaraderie of our group is the exact prescription of social engagement we seek for all humans, and especially for our aging community.

Spending time outdoors exercising in fresh air and daylight is exactly what our cavemen DNA requires. This trifecta of exercise, fresh air and daylight promotes feelings of optimism and well-being.

Fostering friendships with people of all ages is a great strategy for successful aging. Our youngest instructor was 22 years old. We not only learned so much from each other, I was truly touched by his enthusiasm and encouragement. As a former coach for my children’s sports teams, it was a great example of how generations must elevate and support each other for successful aging.

We studied strategies for offense, defense, patience and court geometry with high and low percent shots. In other words, we not only exercised our muscles, but our brain was in high gear forging new neural connections.Thinking and moving in new ways helps defend against cognitive decline.

Want to learn a new language, yoga, square dancing, photography? There is an adult camp for that. There is space camp, rockstar camp and culinary camp. The possibilities seem endless.

If you are caring for your parents or aging seniors, adult camp can be especially beneficial for you. Think family reunion with a twist. A shared family experience can not only make memories of a lifetime but is also an excellent foundation for your future. How many gluttonous, sedentary vacations have left you feeling like you need a detox instead of feeling refreshed and recharged?

As our pandemic world has become our endemic reality, making up for lost time has been my mantra. Adult camps provide a new enlightened way to approach vacations. Alone or combined with a relaxing beach stop, you can rejuvenate in ways you may never have imagined.

I highly endorse camp for all age groups. You just never know; you could meet or one day end up marrying your biggest camp crush. (Shout out to our daughter Alli and her fiancé Josh!) JN

Bob Roth is the managing partner of Cypress HomeCare Solutions.