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This Hunger Games Camp Sounds Ch-Ch-Ch-Chill!

Kelly Conaboy | August 6, 2013 - 1:30 pm

Hey kids, are you BORED with your summer vacation? Do you want to get out from inside of your house, away from where you mom can nag you about doing your CHORES? Do you wish you lived in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic NIGHTMARE in which a totalitarian government forces young children to fight to the death both as punishment for their people’s attempted revolt and for the sheer amusement of those in power? Well ch-ch-ch-check out this Hunger Games camp in, uh-no duh, Florida! From the Tampa Bay Times:

The first day of camp brought girls with lunchbags and suntans and swimsuit strings hanging down the backs of their shirts. They smiled and jumped up and down, excited to see each other; many were classmates at Country Day School, the host of the summer camp. It was this friendship that made Rylee Miller, 12, feel a little conflicted. “I don’t want to kill you,” she told Julianna Pettey. Julianna, also 12, looked her in the eye. “I will probably kill you first,” she said. She put her hands on Rylee’s shoulders. “I might stab you.”

The boys had gathered away from the girls, across the room. Eli Hunter cocked an elbow and pointed the fingers on his other hand, explaining that he was a sniper in a tree. He gunned down Liam Cadzow, a tiny blond boy in a bucket hat.

Coooooooooool! I only wish I had my own precious baby to send during some of the most influential years of his or her life! Can you tell me anything else about it?!

At the end of the week, the 26 kids expected to compete in a real-life Hunger Games tournament. They’d spend the next few days training. Then they’d fight to the “death.”

“If I have to die, I want to die by an arrow,” Joey Royals mused to no one in particular. “Don’t kill me with a sword. I’d rather be shot.”

“What’s your specialty? Ours is primarily weapons,” said Frances Pool-Crane, the youngest camper at 10 years old.

“Ours is, like, half weapons,” said Briana Craig, 12. “Alliance?”

“Sure,” Frances said. The girls were decorating posters for the Games. “LOSING MEANS CERTAIN DEATH,” Frances wrote.

“But if you actually sit down and talk to them and they say, ‘I’m going to kill you,’ they don’t understand what they’re saying. Death for this age isn’t a final thing. It’s a reset.”

Susan Toler, a clinical psychologist specializing in children’s issues and an assistant dean at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, called the camp idea “unthinkable.”

When children read books or watch movies, they’re observers, removed from the killing. “But when they start thinking and owning and adopting and assuming the roles, it becomes closer to them,” Toler said. “The violence becomes less egregious.”

On Wednesday morning, the camp’s head counselor, Lindsey Gillette, told the campers there would be a rule change to Friday’s Hunger Games tournament. Instead of “killing” each other by taking flags, the campers would instead “collect lives.” Whoever had the most flags would win.

Gillette told the campers she changed the rules so that no one would get out early and have to sit on the sidelines. But privately, she said the violence the kids had expressed was off-putting. She wanted the camp to focus on team-building activities.

Cooooooooooooooooool, again! Being a kid sounds neat! Total bum-bum they switched from a less murder-oriented platform, but there have got to be a few other places out there that care enough to get it RIGHT, right? Make your mom do a google search about it! (Via Uproxx.)