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Aibu about Camp America 'Underprivileged Camp'

(121 Posts)
Vixxfacee Thu 28-Jan-16 16:37:16

Can you let me know if I am being unreasonable about this and if so why.

I was looking through Camp America's website.
They have different camps and one that was called Underprivileged Camp caught my eye. Purely because I can't believe that it would actually be called that.

I clicked on it and I see a black child with a white working (presumably a privileged person ) plus numerous black children swimming in a lake.

The page warns that the camp will be more rustic (more like shitter ) than the other camps.

I am all for children from less well off backgrounds being included but I am pretty shocked that they are being grouped together in a 'rustic' camp rather than all camps being equal and all children together.

This is the website

Not sure how to link on my phone.


shutupandshop Thu 28-Jan-16 16:38:37


MaisyMooMoo Thu 28-Jan-16 16:41:06

Quite a different approach to equality and marketing than the UK then! They don't mince their words do they.

shutupandshop Thu 28-Jan-16 16:41:48

Thats actually horrible.

Vixxfacee Thu 28-Jan-16 16:43:26

They may appear tough on the outside but they are still children hmm

OurBlanche Thu 28-Jan-16 16:46:34

Well, it's a step up from enforced sterilisation and all that black = evil stereotyping.

A truly unPC name for a cheap, semi educational holiday for kids whose parents may never have organised a holiday themselves. They are also known as Agency Camps - they are paid for buy a wide variety of local agencies, YMCA, etc.

You may not like the name, or the apparent black/white divide, but thousands of kids enjoy the experience, every year.

I suspect this is another of those 2 nations divided by a common language things and that there will be far less outrage about the name in the USA. I quote:

It is important to remember that these camps may have children that are coming from ‘at risk’ or ‘underprivileged’ backgrounds, but the children themselves are not underprivileged. Working at a camp like this will help you to show them that the sky's the limit when they are looking at their future and the circumstances that they come from do not define who they have the potential to be. Being a part of this transition will be the most humbling experience for you to be a part of.

guiltynetter Thu 28-Jan-16 16:47:10

they're not being 'grouped together' because they should be kept away from other more privileged children, they're all at the same camp because certain camps will be totally funded by charities and state aid etc so that's where they go...

Vixxfacee Thu 28-Jan-16 16:49:07

Underprivileged could be who the camp is for but allowing the name is disgusting.

Are only black kids Underprivileged?

Rustic/ basic/ they may look tough on the outside is actually outrageous imo.

manicinsomniac Thu 28-Jan-16 16:50:49

I think we have the same kind of things in the UK (I work in a boarding school which is let in the Summer holidays for camps and one of those weeks is definitely specifically arranged for underprivileged children because we don't charge for that week).

I don't have a problem with the concept at all. Sure, you could just reserve a number of paid places in ordinary camps for underprivileged children but that's probably a lot more effort, admin and possibly more cost too. And children from similar backgrounds who may have experienced similar things often like to spend time together too.

However, the US could use a lesson or two in PC terminology couldn't they. 'Underprivileged Camp' - Ouch! Mind you, they also have 'Fat Camp' don't they. Not nice.

Reminds me of a summer of teaching I did in Lesotho years ago. Walked into a classroom (being proudly shown around by teacher who said their school was the best in the country and was becoming a training school because they differentiated their work) and the three ability tables were labelled 'Fast' 'Average' and 'Slow'!!! shock

MaisyMooMoo Thu 28-Jan-16 16:53:29

Could they not have used terms like budget or affordable options available.

tiggy2610 Thu 28-Jan-16 16:53:39

YANBU to think actually grouping them all under 'underprivileged camps' is a bit iffy confused especially from a marketing sense!

However, having worked at American summer camps during my younger years I can see why it would be difficult to have an 'all inclusive' camp and have all children together. Some parents pay a ridiculous amount of money to send their children to summer camps for the whole summer or chunks of it (we're talking thousands and thousands of dollars), obviously those camps are the ones with the fancy facilities, day trips to big cities and the typical 'lake side location'. I worked at camps for disabled and under privileged children that often charged very little/nothing to the parents or carers and as such didn't have the income for all the fancy bits and pieces. To say it was rustic was an understatement, we spent 12 weeks sleeping in a tin shack with 18 other people, showered outside and had a toilet which was often out of order due to it being inhabited by raccoons. The children, however, got three hot meals a day, bunked in awesome wooden cabins with their mates, played games and went swimming every day and it was often the only 'vacation' they had grinit was great!! Staff loved it and the kids loved it, without the fancy stuff.

So YANBU to think the description itself is in bad taste but YAB ever so slightly U to expect all camps to have the same facilities for the children.

Hamiltoes Thu 28-Jan-16 16:55:27

Its not how its done over here, but unless I'm missing something its a camp for underprivileged kids... In the same way "fat camp" is a camp for "fat kids".

OurBlanche Thu 28-Jan-16 16:58:25

I think you may need to get your 'disgust' monitor re-calibrated.

Also, though you may only have seem pictures of black kids, it isn't only for them. There are also large numbers of white kids, probably labelled as 'trailer trash' who also go and quite a few black kids get jobs there too. They really are not segregated along colour lines - at least not in the camps my ex students have worked in.

Hamiltoes Thu 28-Jan-16 17:00:07

And I think you've taken the quote out of context, here is what it actually says:

These children can come from difficult backgrounds and some may be homeless or orphans. For a lot of campers, it will be the one time in the year that they get a chance to get away from their home life and just enjoy being a child in a supportive and safe environment. As a result of their hard childhood, campers may have learning needs, attention deficit disorders or at the very least a tough personality! But even if they appear tough on the outside, they're still children who simply want to make friends and have fun, and you help make this happen!

And why would it be called a budget camp when its funded by charities/ agencies hmm its obviously a UK website explaining exactly what it is, its a scheme for underprivileged children. I can't think of many other ways to describe it.


Krampus Thu 28-Jan-16 17:07:16

I thought the camps are privately run? The ones that I worked at were, they were businesses who ran for profit. They just get their international staff through the Camp America scheme.

Children would either spend half their summer at them, or the entire summer break. The fees were huge $1,000s but lots of equipment, qualified instructors, horses, simpl but good accommodation and food. One of the camps I worked at opened it's doors to a charity to use for the first week of Sept, after the rest had gone home.

I imagine the camp for underprivileged kids would be run on charity donations and grants so they wouldn't be able to afford the same standard.

icanteven Thu 28-Jan-16 17:08:07

Well, they're being straight with potential volunteers/employees about the difference between the camps - this site is not aimed at the children, parents or carers themselves.

The name is tasteless, but I think the most jawdroppingly objectionable - and inaccurate - bit is the white camp counsellor and ALL the children being black. While it is true that a higher percentage of black people live below the poverty line than white people in the US (at a shocking rate - here) there are nearly twice as many white people living in poverty as black people in the US. So if they were going to be racially representative in that picture, most of the children should have been white.

scatteroflight Thu 28-Jan-16 17:10:26

Shock, horror, Americans use different terminology to describe poor children and have differing sensibilities when it comes to calling a spade a spade.

And no doubt part of the thinking is entirely due to marketing - they rely on donations and public funding. So calling it "Rainbow Camp", or whatever mealy mouthed PC name you'd prefer, would be an obstacle to getting the word out about its purpose.

Honest to God the things people get offended by these days blows my mind.

OurBlanche Thu 28-Jan-16 17:12:45

Krampus, many of the summer camps run an Agency camp, others are wholly separate.

icanteven, that's one picture. I have helped about 30 kids get summer placements in such camps, the colour divide is nowhere near so stark in the pictures they took. Though I am sure it will be in some camps at some times as it will depend on what areas/what agencies have pulled together the funding for that camp at that time.

FrozenPonds Thu 28-Jan-16 17:13:20

It is only on the UK that people are so very fond of euphemisms.

It is a camp for underprivileged kids, everyone knows who qualifies, and what they sign up for.

Poncing up the name doesn't fool anyone, least of all the children involved.

OurBlanche Thu 28-Jan-16 17:14:24

OMG scatteroflight. You are going to hell... yes you are... well, you may be about to get an MN roasting... call a spade a spade on a thread about institutionalised racism. You are brave smile

fidel1ne Thu 28-Jan-16 17:16:42

Christ shock

Groovee Thu 28-Jan-16 17:22:54

I worked in a Salvation Army Run camp. All children were funded through the social services which they ran.

It wasn't a fancy all singing dancing camp like many. Things were budgeted but the kids got a week away from their deprived areas. Many of my little ones had no idea what a fork was for. They only had spoons.

Camp America and Bunac tend to find international staff to help compliment their American staff.

Underprivileged is probably the word used by the camp itself. There are so many different type of camps in the USA.

aprilanne Thu 28-Jan-16 17:25:11

i thought it looked good but i am in the scouts so like rustic camping .the difference being most of the other camps the parents also stay this one they do not so probably not get same funding .the kids are obviously from difficult back grounds so it is what is says .an no frills camp for under privalged children .i cant see the problem

Krampus Thu 28-Jan-16 17:27:39

OurBlanche thanks.

The ones I ended up were all rich kid camps, 2 had an OAP section. One set of parents had left their kids on one side for the entire summer, their mother on the other and gone on a very long cruise. The kids were not happy bunnnies.

SoThatHappened Thu 28-Jan-16 17:29:57

Watch Orange is the New Black on Netflix, Season 3, episode 12.

There is an episode where one of the Hispanic inmates has a flash back to childhood at a summer camp for poor kids. Not just black, but hispanic and white trash children too. It was called camp skylight.

All the children had free places so I guess they would have to mark it differently as it's a free camp and only certain children are going to qualify. That picture looks awful though.

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