We all probably have summer-camp horror stories. From poison ivy, to diving board flubs, to finding and losing the love of your life all in one week. And in the end, maybe we learned a couple rudimentary survival skills, but mostly we learned how to launch a perfect water balloon.
But what if you could find a variation of summer camp that was more about enduring principles and the founding fathers than chasing fireflies? One 9/12 group is making that possible.
The Tampa 9/12 project is planning a summer-camp variation this July that will introduce kids to ideas such as, "America is good," "I believe in God," and "I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable."
The St. Petersburg Times has more about the project, called "Tampa Liberty School:"
Organized by conservative writer Jeff Lukens and staffed by volunteers from the 912 Project, Tampa Liberty School will meet every morning July 11-15 in borrowed space at the Paideia Christian school in Temple Terrace.
Tampa Liberty is modeled after vacation Bible schools, which use fun, hands-on activities to deliver Christian messages.
"We want to impart to our children what our nation is about, and what they may or may not be told," Lukens told the Times. He later added, "We are a faithful people, and when you talk about natural law, you have to talk about God. When you take that out of the discussion, you miss the whole thing."
So what will this camp look like? If you thought boring classroom lecture, think again. How about using candy to symbolize the gold standard and a bubble exercise that teaches about socialism:
One example at Liberty: Children will win hard, wrapped candies to use as currency for a store, symbolizing the gold standard. On the second day, the "banker" will issue paper money instead. Over time, students will realize their paper money buys less and less, while the candies retain their value.
Another example: Starting in an austere room where they are made to sit quietly, symbolizing Europe, the children will pass through an obstacle course to arrive at a brightly decorated party room (the New World).
Red-white-and-blue confetti will be thrown. But afterward the kids will have to clean up the confetti, learning that with freedom comes responsibility.
Still another example: Children will blow bubbles from a single container of soapy solution, and then pop each other's bubbles with squirt guns in an arrangement that mimics socialism. They are to count how many bubbles they pop. Then they will work with individual bottles of solution and pop their own bubbles.
The camp's website explains its main goals:
- With freedom comes responsibility. Blending freedom and responsibility requires virtuous, moral, and educated citizens. This is why we teach the principles of liberty from the perspective of faith, hope and charity.
- We promote principles rather than specific men or political parties since these can be corrupted and disappoint us, whereas fundamental principles are timeless and incorruptible.
- Seek the truth by going to original sources. We go to the founders' own words to understand the intent of their actions and the structure they laid for us. In this spirit, we encourage all involved in Tampa Liberty School to engage in their own quest for the truth and research beyond what is presented here.
- The founders' faith in God was fundamental to the founding of our country and the system they provided.
- The ultimate responsibility for maintaining liberty lies with the people. It may be convenient to point blame at our elected officials for infringements that may creep in upon our liberties, but we must recognize that it is up to us (the citizens) to be the guardians of our liberty and assure that those we elect do not reach beyond the binds that the Constitution places on our government.
Lukens said his project is modeled after one in Kentucky. If his is successful, he's going to look for ways to expand.
"Just as we the citizens of the United States of America bear the ultimate responsibility to ensure that liberty persists in our great nation, we also bear the ultimate responsibility to teach the generations that follow us the principles from which liberty flows; and further that they in turn bear that responsibility to teach these principles and responsibilities to their children," the group's website explains. "Only through diligence can freedom be perpetually maintained over the centuries to come."
You can get more information about the national 9/12 group's child education efforts here.