ENC was the brainchild of Kim Kjessler, 37, a former dolphin trainer, and her 26-year-old chef husband, Bentley. “I designed a camp that I wanted to go to,” she said in the Arts and Crafts shed, where campers created wizard staffs, leather apothecary cuffs and Edvard Munch-like portraits of a “Last Jedi” porg.
She was inspired by gaming gatherings such as BlizzCon, where she met Bentley five years ago. “I love conventions, but they’re not tailored to making friends. It’s hard to make friends as adults.” She wanted camp activities and camaraderie. A sort of Burning Nerd...
ENC promotes two overarching tenets: You’re free to be who you are, and this is a no-judgment zone. “If you’re looking for some nerds to troll/bully, ENC is not for you,” the camp website states. “We’ll boot you out and keep your money.”
Participants described middle and high school as an interminable hell. They had to become adults, and wait for the world to change, to gain acceptance, and find their tribe. Yet it can still be hard to fully unleash their inner geeky selves.