'Hunger Games'-Themed Camp Lets Kids Fight to the 'Death' Because Hey, That's Fun!
Some kids learn how to dribble between cones at soccer camp, some learn how to smoke pot behind the rec center at sleep away camp, and some learn to kill their enemies in a hot, open field. It's the first summer a school in Largo, Fla. has offered its now infamous Hunger Games camp, and not surprisingly, it's getting a lot of flack. After counselors and parents noticed their little ones talking effortlessly and callously about killing each other with knives, arrows, and other kinds of weapons, they were like, Hmmmm, maaaaybe this was not the best idea.
The idea was that after a few days of athletic training and strategizing, the kids were let loose to "fight to the death" in the "arena." In this version, though, the cornucopia was filled with Nerf toys and flags. Pull a flag off a fellow Tribute, and they're dead. The camp doesn't like the word "dead", though — they prefer the term "collecting lives."
Susan Toyler, a clinical psychologist specializing in children's issues at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, told the Tampa Bay Times that the idea for the camp is "unthinkable." The camp says it's teaching "team building."
Author Susan Collins' "Hunger Games" trilogy may offer some examples of the importance of friendships and standing up for what you believe in, but there's no denying that many of the books' most pivotal scenes are extremely and egregiously violent.
Here's the thing — being a tween and going to camp, any camp, is hard enough. Anyone girl who's spent two weeks in a cabin with other 12-year-old girls will tell you it's close enough to the Hunger Games, without actually being in the Hunger Games. The figurative backstabbing is almost as bad as its literal version, and as soon as you're caught shaving your legs with some "uncool" razor, sound the cannon because, boom — you're dead. And a social death sometimes feels worse than an actual arrow to the jugular.
Let those same tweens actually plot to "kill" some of the others, and things might take a turn for the worst.
May the odds be ever in their favor, indeed.
Watch the clip of what it's like there: