Friday, August 10, 2007

Summer camps!

This morning I was at the gym listening to music on my "bot (what I call my MP3 player) and reading the subtitles to a news channel. One of the "news" headlines caught my eye and then my ire. Turns out in Halifax, Nova Scotia (where I spent a lot of my childhood) the city is putting on some day camps for boys and girls. Turns out that a little girl (about 10-12 y.o. age range I guess) wanted to sign up for the boys only camp as she was not interested in the girls camp. This is where my blood pressure started to rise, I am afraid. I have been blessed with both a son and a daughter. I teach both of them that gender is not an issue and that they both are able to do the same things as the other. In fact, both children are in Scouts together. Monkey Girl is not interested in Girl Guides or Brownies. So, she entered Scouts. Now, I realize that her access into Scouts is only due to the lawsuits of the past. So, I feel for the little girl in her quest for a camp that interested her, whether it is Coed or not. You see, the only other option to this camp was a "Glamour Day" camp. This did not appeal to her sense of fun at all.

Now, I have to be honest here. I do believe that there is a huge gender double standard out there. Us women have been suing for access to all programs on the grounds of gender discrimination, but we have no qualms in denying access to males who want to enter our domains on the grounds of needing our own space. My question, when do men get their own space? So, my problem with this whole incident is that there was no middle ground option for camp. You were either in the boy camp or the girl one. Easy solution? Offer the program in a coed option or a male only option. That way there is pure choice.

Still on the subject of camps, I came across this little story in the National Post, a newspaper up here. It is a design camp, only without all the PR drama. The kids get to design, sew and then show their creations at a fashion show at the end of the session.
Think Canada's Next Top Model Meets Camp. This is a week-long fashion camp, hosted by the Design Exchange, an organization devoted to promoting Canadian design

One of the 12 year old campers has this to say:

"That's another [thing] with people who are buying clothes," she sighs. "They don't realize all the hard work that goes into them."She doesn't get a chance to finish. The day is winding down and cleanup is beginning. As the girls clean the scraps off the table, Cate reflects on her experiences at the camp.
"I'd rather be here than anywhere else in the summer," she says. "This is funner because you get to do your passion."

What a great camp idea ... I wonder if it is Coed?

1 comment:

Mary Beth said...

Ohhh, what a great idea for a day camp! I do hope it's co-ed. At least one of the counsellor's is male.

The quotes from the young fashionistas make them sound so grown up and sophisticated for their young ages.

This is a good topic: gender bias is incidious and often informs our adult relationships in limiting ways. e.g., male employee will report injury to a female coworker before reporting to a male supervisor even though that is the requirement. Instant Mom-ness bestowed from the oddest angles....