Why is my camp counselor asking me if I’ve ever been a member of the Communist Party?June 16, 2011
Considering my experience with summer camps is a mixed bag of joyous rambunctious activity and soul-scarring mental trauma, my opinion on the topic is best represented by a shoulder shrug and brisk change of subject. But I do know this: if you send your kids to a Tea Party summer camp, they are justified in murdering you.
Tampa Liberty is modeled after vacation Bible schools, which use fun, hands-on activities to deliver Christian messages.
One example at Liberty: Children will win hard, wrapped candies to use as currency for a store, symbolizing the gold standard. On the second day, the “banker” will issue paper money instead. Over time, students will realize their paper money buys less and less, while the candies retain their value.
“Unless they eat the gold candy,” I say. “Way to violate the first rule of teaching children about economics: don’t make the currency edible and delicious.”
“You can’t use gold doubloons to pay for video games,” says Mikka, whose summer camp experiences consists of too many instances of athletic disaster. “You walk into your local GameStop with a ingot or two, they’re not going to give you a Playstation 3. They’re going to make you leave the store.”
“I wasn’t aware the gold standard was a Christian value,” says Ninja Vicki, who went to ninja summer camp where she developed her craft by picking off the campers from the camp across the lake. “Jesus wasn’t really known for his monetary policy, aside from the render onto Caesar stuff and the bit about camels having an easier time passing through the eye of a needle than rich people getting into heaven. But that’s old, hippie Jesus. These guys must be praying to Capitalist He-Man Jesus and his holy stock portfolio of Nazareth.”
And there’s more…
Another example: Starting in an austere room where they are made to sit quietly, symbolizing Europe, the children will pass through an obstacle course to arrive at a brightly decorated party room (the New World).
Red-white-and-blue confetti will be thrown. But afterward the kids will have to clean up the confetti, learning that with freedom comes responsibility.
“Yeah… because children love cleaning,” says Tina the Lesbian, whose summer camp experiences are dotted with awkward explorations of sapphic expression, as well as cruel peer exclusion. “Hey kid, here’s a party just for you, now clean it up! How about you go Full Metal Asshole and stick the kid with the catering bill while you’re at it?”
“I thought Europe was supposed to be a den of decadent sin and inequity to these jingoist ass-clowns, not a goddamn dentist waiting room,” says Bernie the Half-Cyborg Cat, who has never attended summer camp because cats don’t have summer camp. “Yeah, maybe Europe was blander back in the 1800’s, but have you been there recently? It’s damn awesome. It certainly beats Tampa.”
“Do they have an alternate experience for the African-American children where they’re piled on top of each other in a cramped, disease-riddled vessel to symbolize their journey on the Middle Passage to a life of brutal slavery in America?” says Avonia the Wiccan Pimp, who thoroughly enjoyed the nature walks of her summer camp years. “Or is the slavery part demonstrated by making them clean up the confetti?”
“I can tell ya that they didn’t thraw any parties far tha Irish when we came aff tha boat to Amer’ca,” says Marlie, who spent her childhood summers in Ireland entering drinking contests and bare-knuckle boxing matches so that her family could eat. “In fact, I dan’t think they threw any parties far any immigrants when they came ‘ere. They threw racks maybe.”
This bit caught our eyes as well…
Still another example: Children will blow bubbles from a single container of soapy solution, and then pop each other’s bubbles with squirt guns in an arrangement that mimics socialism. They are to count how many bubbles they pop. Then they will work with individual bottles of solution and pop their own bubbles.
“What they will find out is that you can do a lot more with individual freedom,” Lukens said.
“I didn’t think it was possible to take the joy out of bubbles, but this guy did it,” says Samurai Cathy, whose summers were spent training to be a samurai. “It takes a specific deadness in your soul to reduce blowing bubbles to a pedantic chore.”
“I take it there’s no team sports games here,” says Anonymous Doug, who remembers almost drowning at summer camp because no one remembered he was there. “Baseball, football, basketball… the individual is held down by his socialist teammates, unable to fully blossom. The only sports for these pure freedom warriors are singular pursuits, like golf or tennis or competitive wanking.”
If your summer has an outside agenda, you’re doing it wrong.