Beyond basket-weaving: teleprompters and 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'

As winter slowly loosens its grip around the country, many parents are experiencing a chilling realization: It's time to think about summer camp for the kids.

The selection process demands an early start. Sifting through all the available options can take weeks. Summer camp is no longer just a place for hiking and roasting marshmallows. Newspapers and magazines are now filled with ads for camps that specialize in drama, computer science, horsemanship, languages, music, and many other academic and recreational pursuits.

In spite of these diverse opportunities, I can't help believing that numerous compelling aspects of modern culture are being ignored by camp operators. So I'm offering four suggestions to fill the void. Each has the potential to be immensely popular and profitable.

UP ALL NIGHT Camp. Leave the sun screen at home while you enjoy the dusk-to-dawn lifestyle that all kids dream about! Digitally compressed cable-TV system brings the universe of bad movies and obscure infomercials into every cabin.

Media center features live video feeds from nocturnal hot spots such as Planet Hollywood, the Nikkei Exchange, and FedEx headquarters. Play midnight basketball, then listen to music until dawn at the blues cafe. Upon returning home, campers should allow two weeks for circadian rhythms to regain normal orientation.

TV ANCHOR Camp. Have fun while building self-esteem and a favorable Q-rating. Expert consultants and scientifically selected focus groups will help you develop effective speech patterns, authoritative body language, and photogenic hair styles. Intense teleprompter workshops expand vocabulary skills and heighten the appearance of intelligence. Our guiding philosophy: If you can fake sincerity, you've got it made!

CONSPIRACY Camp. The truth is out here at our mountain hideaway.

A dedicated staff of former government security officials provides new information on the Roswell saucer coverup, electrical secrets of Nicola Tesla, suppression of the Tucker automobile, and Men in Black. Is the World Bank financing cities on Mars? What really happened to Judge Crater?

We have the stories you won't hear from the mainstream media or your parents. That is, if they really are your parents.

SIXTIES Camp. Time to get up-close and personal with the do-your-own-thing decade! No schedules here, just freewheeling spontaneity. Stare at blades of grass while discussing significant passages from "Love Story," "Stranger in a Strange Land," or anything by Herman Hesse.

Cover a friend with body paint, debate the existence of truth and beauty, then jump on the karaoke stage and belt out "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." It's a kaleidoscope of experiences, one long, uninterrupted be-in. Parents should not ask for specific recollections afterward. As the saying goes, anyone who says they remember what happened during Sixties Camp wasn't really there.

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