Kennedy: Guilt-free 'adulting' at summer camp

Kennedy: Guilt-free 'adulting' at summer camp

July 18th, 2018 by Mark Kennedy in Opinion Columns

Contributed Photo / Jennifer Holder, left, and Shawanda Mason-Moore are co-founders of The Chattery, an education non-profit in Chattanooga.

Contributed Photo / Jennifer Holder, left, and Shawanda...

Shawanda Mason-Moore, 35, can mix a mean cocktail, but she is stumped by the nuances of doing laundry.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Holder, 33, notes that her generation clings to the childhood habit of eschewing napkins for paper towels. "But I can cook pasta to al dente," she says. "I think that's pretty impressive."

Mason-Moore and Holder, friends and co-founders of a local educational nonprofit called The Chattery, were musing about their "adulting" skills and deficiencies in a recent Facebook video.

If you don't know the term, "adulting" is a buzzword among millennials who are hitting young-adult milestones — marriage, homeownership, parenting — later than previous generations. In short, "adulting" is the process of learning grown-up skills, even in one's 30s.

Next week, The Chattery — think continuing education for the 21st century — is sponsoring a second annual Summer Adulting Camp for the young and the young of heart. The sessions deal with topics as diverse as money matters and conflict resolution.

Smartly, the Chattery founders have combined topical classes with eating opportunities, thus money night becomes a feast of sundaes and job-finding tips are served with hot dogs on the side.

"Food brings people together," says Mason-Moore. "If we have food or music it always draws more people."

Nightly classes will be held in the Edney Building, 1100 Market St. Costs are $5 to $1o per session, and reservations can be made at www.the Session times are 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

"Most of the classes are for people who are looking for soft skills they didn't learn in college," says Holder, who notes that The Chattery is modeled after the Brooklyn Brainery in New York, a crowdsourced education club offering classes on "anything and everything."

Already this year, The Chattery has staged classes such as "Making a Zip Pouch," "Finding Zen in the Corporate World" and "Leather Cuff Making."

Next week's Adulting Camp line-up includes:

-"Wieners and Losers: Competing in a Hot Job Market" — Monday, July 23, $5 — Topics include dressing for success, crafting resumes and honing interview skills. Monday is also National Hot Dog Day, so the session will feature hot dogs to eat and an array of condiments.

-"#SorryNotSorry: Conflicts and Crafts" — Tuesday, July 24, $5 — Only the Chattery folks would think of blending a conflict-resolution session with a lesson on craft skills. Yes, you'll learn how take back an insult while making a friendship bracelet to cement your apology. How, um, campy.

-"Sundae Funday" — Wednesday, July 25, $5 — In honor of Hot Fudge Sundae Day, camp participants will make ice cream treats while learning about saving money from a representative of Bridge Financial Planning.

-"Making Pour Decisions" — Thursday, July 26, $10 (at Imbibe, 1616 Broad St.) — This session wins the bad-pun award, and involves a tutorial about making good wine decisions. Specifically, the nuances of rose will be noted during a wine-tasting session.

-"Self Care and Chill Luau" — Friday, July 26, free — Campers will drop the beat at an end-of-the-week luau and dance party on the roof of The Edney building. Drinks will be offered for sale by Bitter Alibi.

-"Part of our brand is not taking ourselves too seriously," says Mason-Moore.

Which is good advice whether you've been completely adulted or not.

Contact Mark Kennedy at or 423-757-6645.