March 5, 2014
Netanyahu's inaction to Obama's provocations sends powerful message
Kerry, after apparent criticism by Schumer, seeks to allay skepticism on diplomacy
How to ruin a perfectly good kid in 10 simple steps
2014 Oscars played it safe, but was faith lost in the shuffle?
Apple joins Hobby Lobby in touting corporate values beyond profit
March 3, 2014
Alina Dain Sharon: In the Hebrew calendar, a leap year has extra month, not day
Latest Obama appointment to prove Prez set on emasculating so-called Israel Lobby
Jewish World Review
June 4, 2012/ 17 Sivan, 5772
Welcome to Camp Competitive
My daughter is only 8 but, being a child in Washington, she has already felt the cruel sting of rejection.
“At this time, we have acceptances out for all spaces available in both sessions of Creative Campers,” said the letter from the Holton-Arms School’s summer camp. The day camp offered to put my daughter on the waiting list for the session beginning July 16.
It was Jan. 27 — and already too late for summer camp.
This called for handling the matter in a uniquely Washington way: paying to play. The Smithsonian’s camps, it turned out, would give a one-day head start to register for their camps if you “become a donor to the Smithsonian Associates at the Contributor level ($300 or higher).”
Eleven hundred dollars later, including $800 for the camp, and an hour waiting in the call queue the moment the registration period opened, my daughter was accepted for two weeks of camp. It was Feb. 8.
For the money and the trouble, my little camper will have some super-cool experiences: touring the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the Natural History Museum, and making helicopters and plaster casts of fossils. And yet, the experience is another reminder to me of what’s wrong with this town.
In the coming weeks, summer camps everywhere will open their gates to lucky children who will enjoy lazy days with canteens, kayaks and calamine lotion. Yet here, even this last bastion of carefree play has fallen to hyper-competitiveness, one-upmanship and cash.
For me, summer camp meant eating ice cream with wooden spoons, playing pickup basketball on cracked asphalt, trying to peek through the cracks in the wall separating the boys’ changing room from the girls’, and passing the test so I could swim in the deep end.
But for my daughter and her cohorts, things have truly gone off the deep end.
Parents send their kids to “camp” to study Spanish, Chinese, science, math, geography, even “criminal trial advocacy.” Schools, local governments and nonprofits generate cash by feeding parents’ desire to give their kids a competitive edge — or by satisfying parents’ own competitive urge to enroll their kids in the coolest camp.
Hence, we have the “Hunger Games Camp” modeled after the teen novels, fencing camp, Lego camp, doll camp, bring-your-dog-to-camp camp, video-game camp, chess camp for 5-year-olds, fantasy gaming camp and Japanese drumming camp. Think summer camp isn’t rocket science? Guess again: There are various missile-building camps.
Maybe it’s for the better that children are learning robotics at summer camp instead of peeking through the changing-room wall. My daughter is certainly better educated than I was. But still: summer camp? Is there no value anymore on unstructured time in childhood?
The rest of the year, my daughter attends a demanding private school. Regardless of school, public or private, kids her age here are on traveling soccer teams, or started piano lessons at age 4, or get math drills at the dinner table.
I’d prefer to protect my daughter’s unstructured and even — gasp — unproductive time, but that risks her being left out, or left behind.
In this environment, we shouldn’t be surprised that parents of middle-schoolers pay $3,600 for three weeks in the Duke summer program or that parents of second-graders send them to writing workshops at the Johns Hopkins summer program. Preschoolers as young as 2 — too young to ingratiate themselves with the admissions staff at Duke or Johns Hopkins — can go to “camp” for French immersion.
The McLean School of Maryland actually calls its camp “SummerEdge” (featuring “Brain Camp” for the pre-K-to-grade-6 crowd) and promises campers its techniques will “increase their edge” over other kids. The Fairfax Collegiate summer program offers, among other things, public speaking and test prep, with “breaks” for soccer and basketball.
At a time of so much over-programming, I side with the anonymous contributor to the Web site dcurbanmom.com, a chat room for type-A parents, who ridiculed a parent who asked if there was a “jump rope day camp” in the area: “How about a hopscotch camp? This is a joke, right? Is nothing for children unstructured anymore?”
Apparently not. St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School camps, perhaps the area’s most exotic, offer, among many others, a Civil War camp, a fashion camp, a veterinary camp, a ghost-hunting camp, and the aforementioned fencing and Hunger Games camps.
The Hunger Games camp, all three sessions of which are sold out, offers marksmanship and laser tag. That’s fine, but it isn’t summer if the kids don’t get a chance to eat ice cream with wooden spoons.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment on Dana Milbank's column by clicking here.
• 05/31/12 Digging a racial grave
• 05/30/12 A new conspiracy theory: Is Romney a unicorn?
• 05/29/12 Do Republicans really want to clone one for the Gipper?
• 05/24/12 Obama's protectors are under the microscope
• 05/22/12 Obama's Old World mess: Allies are coming up short at a key moment
• 05/16/12 Where have all the candidates gone?
• 05/15/12 Barack Obama, the first female president
• 05/14/12 Irrationality wins: Voter cure for Congress's failures will likely backfire
• 05/08/12 Obama's marriage mess: His advisers scramble to clean up his 'evolution'
• 05/07/12 Taking out Dick Lugar
• 05/03/12 Gingrich may have ended campaign, but he will remain out of this world
• 05/02/12 Our do-almost-nothing Congress
• 05/01/12 President Obama, campaigner in chief
• 04/25/12 Romney's immigration Etch a Sketch
• 04/23/12 A congressional deal on immigration? Dream on
• 04/19/12 Dems battle back against Republican 'war on women'
• 04/18/12 Debauchery: An American govermental specialty
• 04/17/12 Silent witness
• 04/12/12 Rebuffing Obama's gimmicky 'Buffett Rule'
• 04/11/12 Santorum's Gettysburg surrender
• 04/09/12 The facts vs. Mitt Romney
• 04/06/12 Mitt Romney, talking to the press, keeps the press at a distance
• 04/05/12 From tracking al-Qaeda to tracking the wayward spouse
• 04/04/12 Budget cuts as back-door deregulation
• 03/26/12 My pet Mitt
• 03/22/12 Mitt Romney's latest gaffe may be etched in history
• 03/20/12 Supreme Court conceives of life after death
• 03/15/12 Conservative for Obama: The British PM as campaign prop
• 03/14/12 In Section 60, a silent search for meaning
• 03/13/12 Super Friends, unite
• 03/12/12 It's time to believe: Romney's a winner
• 03/07/12 Settling in to Washington's ways
• 03/06/12 AIPAC beats the drums of war
• 03/05/12 Did Republicans forget the women's vote?
• 02/29/12 Mitt Romney's acceptance speech, in (mostly) his own words
• 02/28/12 Common ground becomes a great divide
• 02/27/12 An expert witness for the GOP gender gap
• 02/21/12 Where Romney shines
• 02/15/12 A Republican death wish?
• 02/14/12Obama's budget games
• 02/13/12 Are GOPers playing right into Obama's hands?
• 02/08/12 Obama pumps the compressor of Joe Hudy's Extreme Marshmallow Cannon
• 02/07/12 Abramoff's atonement
• 02/01/12 Why we in the media just love Newt
• 01/31/12 The end of the road for Newt Gingrich?
• 01/25/12 Gingrich is Obama's best surrogate
• 01/24/12 Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney's attack dog
• 01/16/12 Mitt Romney's Al Gore problem
• 01/12/12 Kamikaze Gingrich, on the loose in South Carolina
• 01/11/12 Journalists' campaign trail secrets revealed
• 01/10/12 Mitt Romney's money problem
• 01/09/12 Newtonian exceptionalism
• 01/05/12 Mitt Romney out of control
• 01/04/12 Indecision 2012: In Iowa and the GOP
• 01/03/12 Rick Santorum's curious closing argument
• 12/28/11 A few cracks in my crystal ball
• 12/23/11 A few cracks in my crystal ball
• 12/20/11 Strange brews and views?
• 12/19/11 Cellphone ban would be a distraction
• 12/15/11 Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell and the Malfunction Minuet
• 12/14/11 The presidential auction of 2012
• 12/12/11 Newt's tactics comes back to haunt him
• 12/06/11 Can an anthem save Occupy non-movement?
• 12/05/11 The winner of the GOP campaign: Washington
• 11/30/11 Barney the bully: Congressman Frank's other legacy
• 11/23/11 Jon Kyl's search-and-destroy mission
• 11/21/11 Pay to play, brought to you by Washington
• 11/17/11 Big enough to save the supercommittee?
• 11/16/11 Why Newt Gingrich won't last
• 11/08/11 The 2012 campaign gets seedier
• 11/06/11 A Machiavellian model for Obama
• 11/03/11 The Herman Cain crack-up
• 11/01/11 Cain can --- he will survive
• 10/27/11 Stuntmen of the supercommittee
• 10/26/11 Democrats on the sidelines
• 10/24/11 Rick Perry's birther Parade
• 10/24/11 The birthers eat their own
• 10/19/11 The GOP's middle man
• 10/17/11 The waiting for nothing Congress
• 10/12/11 Sparsely occupied D.C.: Why the movement hasn't caught on
• 10/10/11 Can Obama strike an alliance with Occupy Wall Street?
• 10/06/11 Chris Christie, such a presidential tease
• 10/05/11 Obama and his foot soldiers go toe to toe
• 09/28/11 Cain could deliver
• 09/26/11 Republicans? Mr. Nice Guys?
• 09/22/11 Why Ron Paul is winning the GOP primary
• 09/21/11 I am a job creator who creates no jobs
• 09/20/11 Obama launches a revolution
• 09/19/11 Dems for Romney?
• 09/14/11 ‘Supercommittee’? More than stupor committee
• 09/07/11 Mitt Romney finds his (corporate) voice
• 09/01/11 The infallible Dick Cheney
• 08/31/11 This liberal says Perry is the ultimate conservative candidate
• 08/29/11 Wanted: More bite from Obama the Great Nibbler
• 08/10/11 How Rep. Austin Scott betrayed his Tea Party roots
• 08/09/11 The most powerful man on Earth?
• 08/08/11 The FAA shutdown and the new rules of Washington
• 08/04/11 Lt. Col. Allen West fires a round at the Tea Party
• 08/03/11 Government on autopilot
• 08/02/11 Dems mourn debt deal like death
• 07/27/11 Life imitates sport
• 07/26/11 Obama and Boehner take on Washington
• 07/21/11 Why Americans are angry at Congress
• 07/20/11 The new party of Reagan
• 07/18/11 Rob Portman, the boring Midwesterner who could bring sanity to the debt debate
• 07/13/11 John Boehner's bind
• 07/04/11 Stephen Colbert, Karl Rove and the mockery of campaign finance
• 07/01/11 President Puts Up His Dukes, As He Ought To
• 06/28/11 Rod Blagojevich verdict: All shook up
• 06/27/11 Progressives voice their anger at Obama
• 06/24/11 Mission accomplished, Obama style
• 06/22/11 Jon Huntsman's first step toward oblivion
• 06/21/11 Scott Walker finds making bumper stickers is easier than creating jobs
• 06/20/11 A day of awkwardness with Mitt Romney
• 06/06/11 Hubris and humility: Sarah Palin and Robert Gates on tour
• 06/02/11 The Weiner roast
• 06/01/11 Congress clocks in to clock out
• 05/30/11 Hermanator II: No More Mr. Gadfly
• 05/24/11 How Obama has empowered Netanyahu
• 05/24/11 Pawlenty bends his truth-telling
• 05/20/11 Default deniers say it's all a hoax
• 05/18/11: Gingrich gives voice to moderation
• 05/17/11: Donald Trump and the House of Horrors
• 05/16/11: The medical mystery of Mitt Romney
• 05/12/11: The body impolitic: Schock photos should tempt lawmakers to cover up
• 05/10/11: Muskets in hand, tea party blasts House Republicans
• 05/09/11: The GOP debate: America -- and the party -- needs the grown-ups
• 05/05/11: Mitch Daniels, an alternative to scary
• 05/03/11: Obama's victory lap
• 05/02/11: How the journalist prom got out of control
• 04/28/11: Obama's birther day: Why did he lower himself by appearing in the briefing room?
• 04/27/11: Obama, lost in thought
• 04/24/11: Andrew Breitbart and the rifts on the right
• 04/22/11: Ten Commandments for 2012
• 04/21/11: Obama likes Facebook. Facebook likes Obama.
• 04/18/11: Without Nancy Pelosi, Obama is adrift
• 04/15/11: If progressives ran the world
• 04/14/11: Faith in political apostasy
• 04/13/11: One man's revolution is another's political expediency
• 04/11/11: Shutdown theatrics
• 04/06/11: Paul Ryan's irresponsible budget
• 04/05/11: Robots in Congress? Yes, we replicant!
• 04/04/11: Robert Gibbs, Facebook and the White House corporate placement service
• 04/01/11: Haley Barbour, the fat cats' candidate
• 03/31/11: Republican freshmen in House shut down compromise, and possibly the government
• 03/30/11: Coburn and Durbin, the dynamic duo of the debt crisis
• 03/28/11: The Obama doctrine: A gray area the size of Libya
• 03/24/11: Dems as Weiners
• 03/23/11: Obama's quick trip from tyrant to weakling
• 03/17/11: Who's afraid of Elizabeth Warren?
• 03/15/11: The underwear flap over Bradley Manning
• 03/10/11: In Senate's debt debate, talk isn't cheap
• 03/09/11: With Obama's new Gitmo policy, Administration officials had some 'splainin to do
• 03/02/11: Issa press aide scandal is like bad reality TV
• 02/25/11: Jay Carney: Mouthpiece for an inscrutable White House
• 02/14/11: The Donald trumps the pols at CPAC
• 02/09/11: Arianna Huffington's ideological transformation
© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group