Summer camps for sex
Campers come to camp having already received years of messages about what is “right” for girls or boys.
Does your camp help expand kids’ beliefs about their opportunities and responsibilities?
Is your camp part of the solution to the limitations posed by sexist stereotypes faced by both boys and girls?
While most — if not all — camp staff would easily agree that camps exist to promote positive youth development, some camps are blind to policies and practices that thwart their good intentions.
But by using positive interactions between girls and boys and positive discussions about gender to decrease stereotypes, camps can promote positive youth development for all.
At a long-standing and well-regarded camp for youth with chronic illness a couple of years ago, I worked with a cabin of thirteen-year-old girls.
Because of medications to treat her illness and depression, “Leila” was heavier than she wanted to be, often mentioned her weight in derogatory terms, and was taunted by other kids at school about her weight.
Toward the end of the camp session, she asked me “Aren’t we going to play sports this week?
In Oregon, another counselor charged with sexually assaulting a camper.
Contrary to popular belief, decades of empirical investigation into the benefits of single-sex education have shown no demonstrable benefits (Halpern, et al., 2011).
However, research has demonstrated actual harms from single-sex education, particularly the reinforcement of gender stereotypes and prejudice that leads to later-in-life consequences such as choice of profession or career.
These are lifelong learning skills of value for campers.
Many gender stereotypes are rooted in myths related to single-sex education.