Thursday, March 20, 2014

Summer Camp for Kids

So now, Kevin Levin has his knickers in a knot over the Sam Davis Youth Camp, which he calls a cult, and about which he makes all kinds of assertion based on reading a few paragraphs online.

His commenters thus far are equally knicker-knotted.

Pat Young, perhaps in anticipation that someone might bring up leftist youth camps, brings them up himself, and attempts to inoculate those camps from criticism. Sez Pat:
It is rare in a summer camp video that the phrase “our enemies” is used so many times.

At first I assumed this was just a conservative version of the leftist Jewish summer camps that many of my friends attended, like Camp Kinderland, set up by Arbeter Ring and other bundists. However, where they promote free discussion, albeit within a set of presumably like-minded kids, Sam Davis seems focused on shutting down critical examination.

NOTE TO CAMP SAM DAVIS: Don’t end a promo for a “fun” camp with sinister music.
I'm not sure what video Young is talking about. Levin doesn't link to one (or else he has the link well-hidden). There are several videos about the camp on YouTube. Most of the ones I played had upbeat music. The only one I found with "sinister" music was not a promotional video. If that was the one Young was talking about, let me note that it is a documentary and it deals with some somber subjects, making the music quite appropriate.

Let me repeat. It was not a a promotional video. It was a documentary.

But when people are motivated by the need to mischaracterize and the desire to denigrate, their own common sense and rationality are usually among the first things they'll throw under the bus.

Also note that what he calls "leftist Jewish summer camps" (which he praises for "promoting free discussion" -- for which we only have his word), are, according to Ron Radosh, communist youth camps. Not leftist, not socialist -- COMMUNIST. And for all the "free discussion" Pat claims they promote, they certainly do turn out a lot of  "progressive" campers.  More from Mr. Radosh, here.

Kinderland was founded in 1923 by secular Jews active in the New York City trade union movement, most of them Communists or socialists. And the camp exists today and it's website claims “Camp Kinderland is true to the vision of its founders,”

NetRightDaily has more information on Camp Kinderland --
The article references, "Raising Reds" by Paul C. Mishler which says, "Communist organizations, including Camp Kinderland, 'established children’s organizations, after-school programs, and summer camps with the aim of developing ‘revolutionary consciousness' in the minds of the younger generation."
Revolutionary consciousness, huh?
The article goes on to say, Would you send your kids to this camp that (Obama Admin BLS Commissioner Erica) Groshen did with such a history? The New York Times article from Rosenberg’s granddaughter says they actually locked kids up in their bunks and led them into communal gas chambers to emulate Holocaust extermination techniques, refused to accept packages sent by the children’s parents in solidarity with some truckers who were on strike and even considered lighting their lake on fire to protest the bombing of Hiroshima. Does this sound like a normal camp?
Free discussion? What a scream!

Please, Pat Young, give me a break.  By comparison, Sam Davis Youth Camp is the very PICTURE of the free exchange of ideas.


  1. Ms. Chastain, the video to which I referred was right at the top of Mr. Levin's blog post. I am sorry you missed it. If it was hidden by Mr. Levin, it was hidden in plain sight. Here is the link to it on Youtube:

    Since it was put up by the Sam Davis Camp itself on its own Youtube account, it is clearly intended to promote the camp.

    Summer camps are interesting to me. Most of those that I am familiar with are either church affiliated or connected to various movements within Judaism. Kinderland with its connection to the Jewish Workman's Circle seemed to me the most political, and a possible analogue to Sam Davis, which is one reason why I referenced it. As I say, I also know people who attended it, including one of my former lawyers, my interpreter, and others.

    As for your negative characterization of the blocking of a shipment from home, that is described in the article in the Times:

    "Two years ago, an opportunity to test labor sympathies arose. During the United Parcel Service drivers' strike, a truck showed up carrying coveted packages from home. Ms. Shechter, along with a few campers, demanded to know what the driver thought he was doing. As Mitchell Silver, Kinderland's cultural director, tells it: ''The poor shmegegge had probably never even heard the word 'scab' and said he was making a delivery. He was told we would not accept it during a strike. That night, when they learned there were no packages, not a single camper disapproved.''"

    One need not be a communist to refuse a delivery by a strikebreaker. My dad was a Republican and he refused to have anything to do with strikebreakers either.

    1. It wasn't at the top of his blog post when I looked. His blog header was up there. I visited again and when I clicked to continue reading, I saw that it was at the top of the page where the post was continued, and where comments appear. I didn't notice it the first time because I scrolled down to finish reading. I have not often encountered people replacing their blog header when they take readers to a comments page.

      It's still a stretch to imagine that a communist summer camp is more "free thinking" than the Sam Davis camp is.

  2. Ms. Chastain, as I said before, I mentioned Kinderland because it seemed to me to be the camp at the opposite end of the political spectrum from Camp Sam Davis. However, as you can see in this video, it is much more child centered than the Sam Davis camp depicted in their own promotional video.

    I understand that camps typically reflect parental values. My kids attended a day camp for several years that focused on sports, arts, and cultural appreciation. Those were primary activities reflecting our values of humanism. We have also sent them to a Catholic day camp to incorporate our religious tradition. However, these camps did not have the heavy handed feel reflected in the Sam Davis video.

    1. I suspect the "heavy-handed feel" originates with you, the observer, not the video or the people in it. The "feel" is likely a product of your disapproval of Confederate heritage.

  3. Nothing heavy handed about it, as my fifth daughter Dixie will attest. She attends her eighth this year. A few years below.

    1. Thanks for the link, Mr. Townsend. It brings home more than ever that the critics at Levin's blog are giving very little truthful, accurate info about the camp. What has their knickers in a knot is that kids are learning their history without it's first going through flogger filters and coming out with strong, anti-Confederate, anti-Southern distortion.

    2. Certainly and you would enjoy attending I am sure if only for a visit, but they are always looking for counselors. Did you see the video by Michael?


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