I've written several times in the past (like here) about the summer camp I went to, Camp Nebagamon in Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin, which this year will be in its 88th year. Not shabby.
I'm still on the mailing list for the camp, and get its monthly newsletter, The Arrowhead. Today's issue came, and I was reading through the Directors' Letter from husband-and-wife team Adam Kaplan and Stephanie Hanson. It concerned the Mock Convention that Nebagamon held every four years, to get the campers more involved in the political process. The new owners discontinued that when they took over, but decided to reinstate the policy this year. And they explained how they would adapt it in a way that they felt fitting to outdoor camp life. Rather than let one older camper head-up the "campaign" of an actual candidate and run it for a week leading up to the Mock Convention, this year they would assign a candidate to each village, to let all the boys have a chance to be more immersed in learning about the process. As I read through it all, I started to scratch my head -- I sort of was amused by what they'd come up with, though thought it surprising for a summer camp, since such places tend to be pretty conservative about such things. (Conservative in a social way, not political.) And then I realized quickly that it was April Fools Day. And yes, that was indeed the point.
Here are some excerpts of how they said they planned to proceed. For clarity's sake, the camp is divided into four villages, each with names from old-time lumberjack days. That's because it sits on the grounds of the original Weyerhauser Mills. In fact, some of the cabins remains from those days. The youngest boys are Swampers, then Loggers, Axeman, and the oldest campers are Lumberjacks. Here are some of those plans --
The Swamper Village will become the Ted Cruz Village. In an effort to embody all that Senator Cruz represents, the boys will spend the first three and a half weeks of the summer estranging themselves from each other by attacking their peers for what they believe in and telling their peers that they are unfaithful Swampers that deserve to be disregarded. Then, in the final half of a week, the Swampers will attempt to convince each other that despite the fact that they have put down and denigrated each other for virtually the entire session, they should now turn the other cheek and support them. It’s admittedly a tall order for our Swampers, but we truly believe this is the best way for them to come to understand the Cruz way.
The Logger Village will transform into the Hillary Clinton Village. For starters, upon arrival at camp, each camper will be issued a personal email account through which to conduct whatever business they see fit to engage in on those accounts. Now I know that historically we have had a policy against email accounts of any kind at camp for campers, but, in order to truly understand Hillary Clinton’s world, the boys will come to understand that policies are flexible depending on what is most expedient...
Our Axeman Village will come to gain a deep understanding of what it is like to live the Bernie Sanders vision of the world. As soon as the Axemen arrive at camp, all of their belongings will be brought to the center of the village and laid out for the use and consumption of the entire village...As true Sanders believers, the Axemen will all be given the opportunity to experience the special grandeur of Pictured Rocks. Every camper will be able to go! Of course, given the funding impossibility of actually sending each camper to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan, the boys will instead be shown many Pictures of Rocks for two days while camping on the Upper Diamond.
Finally, our Lumberjacks will have the opportunity to learn about the Donald Trump candidacy. As soon as they arrive at camp, the Lumberjacks will get to work on building a giant 15 foot wall to separate them from the other villages in camp. Again, while the current camp coffers are not deep enough to actually get this wall built, the Lumberjacks have assured us that they will make the Swampers pay for it. Our Lumberjacks will also [present]
in-depth briefings on political matters...They will be given absolutely no information on any of these issues but still be given a tremendous amount of Rec Hall microphone time to espouse their beliefs on all of these complicated issues. They will be instructed that if they get stumped by an issue, the proper response is to simply turn to the rest of the camp family and flip them the bird.
And oh yes….we have also arranged to have a representative of the Kasich campaign wandering around camp aimlessly and trying to sound reasonable. The boys will be instructed to completely ignore him. You know -- just to keep it legit.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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