If you, like me, are feeling a slight pang of guilt about letting the kids sit in front of the computer playing Minecraft all summer instead of booking them into horse camp, sailing camp, Harry Potter camp or some other exotic activity, help is at hand.
Sure, all of the spaces in all of the good camps may have been filled long ago, but there are plenty of new and uniquely Vancouver day camps out there to grow their young minds, expand their horizons and stretch their imaginations. Spaces are limited so register now!
Put the "fun" back in dysfunctional! Children will learn the basics of designing, planning and financing a major metropolitan transportation system in a broad, regional, long-term context, then have their recommendations completely ignored.* They'll learn to point fingers, lay blame, pass the buck and make decisions based on political expediency rather than on logic or common sense. The six weeks culminates with the group divided into two camps: the all-powerful shadowy board and the powerless mayors' council. Together they must agree upon the wording of an unworkable non-binding referendum. For parents worried about the competitive nature of the camp, rest easy: There are no winners.
Guest Speaker: Kevin Falcon, former B.C. transportation minister
*All ideas generated in the workshop portion of the camp become the intellectual property of TransLink.
Duration: Six weeks. Ages: 3-6.
Anarchist Tagger Camp
Think spray-painting a circled letter "A" on a cinder block wall is easy? Well think again, you mindless brainwashed drone! This camp, designed for younger teens, will introduce them to the tools and techniques of the trade as taught by real anarchist taggers. Camp will cover types of spray paint, nozzles, surfaces to avoid and popular anarchist slogans. Teens will learn to develop their own style so that even the crappiest tags appear uniquely "theirs."
Teens will also learn basic anarchist philosophy, including the concept of negative liberty, the difference between collectivist anarchy and individualist anarchy, and why property is theft.
Final day field trip includes an overnight visit to a transit station, an east side duplex under construction, or a poorly lit industrial area. Details TBA. Vegan snacks included.
Duration: One week or whatever. Ages: 12-16
Food Cart Camp
In a city where anyone with a camper-van and their grandmother's polenta recipe can become an overnight word-of-mouth sensation, this three-week course will teach participants everything they need to know to open up their very own moderately successful food cart! Camp includes cooking basics, food purchasing and costing, menu planning, and marketing. Participants will learn the ins and outs of the food cart business from concept to execution. They'll also learn to navigate the web of city and health permits and how to score a prime location.
Camp also includes sessions on portion enhancement, the value of cheap starch, hyping up a cart on social media, how to position yourself in a saturated market, and the psychology of the food cart customer who will apparently eat anything served to them in a paper container.
Duration: Three weeks. Ages 10-14.
Revisioning the Urban Landscape Camp
Be a part of designing the city's next traffic-clogging urban eyesore.
Whether it's a pop-up café in a parking space, a high-concept installation in a busy downtown intersection, or a poorly planned community street fair, the city has embraced all forms of activity that impede the efficient flow of traffic. This camp will encourage teens to think outside the box and come up with an impossibly stupid idea that can be put on public display as long as it prevents anyone in a car from getting to their destination in a timely way. Participants will learn how to write civic grant applications using key words that get results. They'll also learn how to turn a "pilot project" into a permanent street closing. Course includes instruction from successful artistic organizations with hands-on experience. In the final week, your teen will present a dumb proposal to a nodding, smiling city council, which will, in a 10-1 vote, send it up the ladder to city staff for further review.
Duration: Four Weeks. Ages: 12-17
Stephen Quinn is the host of On the Coast on CBC Radio One, 690 AM and 88.1 FM in Vancouver.