Summer camps are one of those timeless childhood traditions that are a bittersweet mixture of insanely painful homesickness and a first delicious taste of independence.
Not all camps are for all kids though. As you may have gleaned from the site this article is on, we hold a fierce belief that it’s extremely important to give kids access to the things they love, even if they’re a little different.
Every good summer camp will provide memories, camaraderie, and learning while building up confidence. For some kids, that’s not going to come from Kum Baya. It’s going to come from blowing stuff up.
If you have the kind of kid who will get more out of summer camp if they’re dangerous, there are a few camps out there that may fit the bill perfectly. It’s time to help your wildheart become a little more fearless.
Hollywood Stunt Camp | Running Springs, CA
After a week at this camp you secretly wish you could have gone to, your kids will be jumping off buildings, flying through the air and fighting with fists and swords. They’ll be assisted by world-class stunt men who teach them how to be safe and help them choreograph fights. If they choose to stay for a second week, they’ll design and direct their own spectacular.
Shark Camps | Ocean Springs, MS & Fiji
In this one-day-long science-oriented shark excursion, kids ages 12-14 will learn how to handle sharks before they’re taken out on a research vessel to catch, measure and tag them. The biggest catch so far is a 50 pound Blacktip that was more than four feet long.
If your kid is the kind who’d rather swim with the sharks, they’ll need to head a little further to Fiji. In the Fiji Shark Studies Program, Kids will learn all about conservation and will work with researchers in a controlled environment.
High Explosives Camp | Rolla, MO
Each year, the Missouri University of Science and Technology hosts a weeklong camp where teenagers learn all about blowing things up. This camp is for older kids who are interested in attending the university, but it may be something to think about for the future if your young ones’ favorite holiday is the 4th. Kids will learn all about safety, detonators and blasting, and the camp will culminate in the setup and shooting of a fireworks display.
Best Shot Gun Camp | Friendswood, TX
There seems to be two schools of thought out there about kids and guns. One is to keep them far, far away from them, and one is to teach them about safety and take away their mystique by giving them as much exposure as possible.
You can probably guess which of those beliefs is behind the Best Shot Gun Camp. The NRA sponsors the Texas camp, and kids who make it through the weeklong course are awarded a lifetime certificate. At the range, kids will learn how to safely handle firearms and get to practice their marksmanship skills.
The Controversial Hunger Games Camp | Lago, FL
A news story came out a few days ago that detailed the goings on of Country Day School’s Hunger Games Camp in Largo, Florida, and the public promptly lit their torches and grabbed their pitchforks.
The camp’s planned activities were the normal camp things like archery and survival skills. At the end of the week, the camp was to hold a Hunger Games style tournament where kids would compete against each other in various tasks. After all of the negative media hype the camp received, the original concept of the loser of the task “dying” has been replaced with the winner “collecting lives.”
The structure of the camp and the wording of the tournament rules isn’t the problem. What makes people angry is the way kids behaved towards each other when at the camp.
Many adults think that kids have a hard time separating reality from fiction, which may explain what happened to Andres and CJ. Some girls formed an alliance, tricked Andres into trusting them so they could grab his “life” flag, and proceeded to run away. As the fled, they ran right past CJ, another boy who was lying on the ground. A group of boys had knocked CJ down and kicked him.
Are the violent Hunger Games books to blame for these kids’ crappy behavior? Or is it the camp’s fault? Or maybe, just maybe, these kids were just doing the bad things that kids have occasionally done at summer camp since the beginning of time.
It’s interesting to think about how closely this whole situation is mirroring the social commentary in the Hunger Games books about the influence of media on the hive mind.
It could just be my English teacher side talking, but I’m over the moon that kids love this book enough to relate to it so closely. It seems to me that if they aren’t getting the point, if all they’re taking away from the book is how cool violence is, then there are definitely some conversations we need to be having with them. That’s on us.