Last year, as I kissed my son goodbye on the bus to overnight summer camp and bid farewell, he looked at me and asked me for a significant amount of cash.
When I asked why, he explained in one word: canteen.
Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘Here we go again with another parent complaining about camp…’
So let me be clear: Camp is an amazing place filled with Kedusha, Chayus, and warmth. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into running a camp, and kol hakavod for any and all directors, head counselors and staff members who dedicate their lives to the Chinuch of our children (the Rebbe often pointed out that its effects remained way after the summer season).
So please allow me to discuss the canteen issue specifically, and I hope readers and commentators will remain on topic.
When my son asked me for $200, he explained that it is not “cool” to eat the regular food camp provides, and he needs to keep up with the standard of his friends and buy food at the canteen daily.
There are two problems with this:
1. Peer pressure is the last thing we need our kids going through during the summer because as they get older, this can turn into smoking and other bad addictions caused by peer pressure.
2. As it is, I struggle to pay for the camp tuition, which is quite expensive. On top of that, I need to start paying an extra cost for food from the ridiculously expensive canteen.
I have seen firsthand the prices on items in a camp canteen. A pack of Mike and Ike’s that cost $0.25 in Kahan’s is raised to $1 in camp. There’s no reason for that. It’s called taking advantage of the campers and their parents.
I’m not sure who is the one pocketing all the money from this scheme in each camp.
If it is camp, isn’t tuition high enough as is?
And if it’s the bochurim, why can’t the camp board tell them to put the prices lower?! If a bochur wants to make a little extra money during the summer, find yourself a job working for a local store in Crown Heights. It is not fair for them to make money this way. This needs to stop. Immediately.
I am not trying to point fingers at any camp director for the high tuition rates. All I am pointing out is that the prices in canteen must be regulated and adjusted.
If it was my choice, I would live up to what I’m saying and write my name, but because I wrote some personal information about my financial state, I’d rather remain anonymous. I hope you understand.