Oates concurs. "Every member has something to contribute, and that success means not only that the group succeeds but that we as individuals succeed," he says. "I think all successful leaders -- [Larry] Ellison, [Roger] Daltry -- share not only high skill levels, but have great self-confidence. They basically 'bet it all' on themselves and their founding members."
Indeed, campers report that their stage performances help boost performance in their day jobs.
"The secret thing I picked up was motivation," says Laura Sperber, an amateur drummer and president of rare coin dealer
whose camp experiences included jamming with Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Gos. "The camps have been the most motivational things I have ever done in my life! For the following 30 to 90 days -- after I get my hearing back -- I am more focused, driven and happier in my business."
Of course, not every executive harbors dreams of being a rock star. For those whose childhood professional plans were more jockish, there's
Penn State Football Fantasy Camp
-- one of several camps run by
Global Football International
in which campers (men only) pay $2,500 to spend five days as Nittany Lions players or honorary coaches. Would-be pachyderm pilots can drop $2,200 for a three-night experience at the
Four Seasons Hotel's
Tented Camp in Golden Triangle, Thailand, which includes hands-on training from Thai mahouts. And
in Huntsville, Ala., includes an adult package ($449-$899) that includes sessions in a space shuttle stimulator and a "1/6 gravity chair" (arguably a nice alternative to fat camp in terms of feeling lighter.)
If nothing else, grown-up camps will provide cocktail party conversation fodder for a lifetime.
"My personal self confidence and self esteem has taken a giant leap forward," Dawson says. "Nobody has the bragging rights that I do!"
-- Written by Carmen Nobel in Boston.
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