This one time at Tea Party summer camp

Remember last year when liberal bloggers were having a field day with the so-called Tea Party-inspired “indoctrination” summer camps that were being organized and funded, at least in part, by Glenn Beck? GQ associate editor Lauren Bans spent some time at one of the camps in Pennsylvania over the summer to see for herself what it was all about and wrote a piece about it for the magazine that gives a glimpse into the kind of things kids do at Patriot Camp.

The focus of the piece is mostly on the political viewpoints that drive the camp, which comes off sounding kind of like an update on the not-really-about-summer-camp documentary Jesus Camp:

Maybe this was just a camp. Albeit a camp that taught, instead of archery or the wedgie arts, a conservative take on American history—the nerd-bait equivalent of summer school for Lincoln-Douglas debaters or prepubescent water colorists. After three days here, I can tell you the vast majority of Patriot Camp was harmless. But on the few occasions it wasn’t all dodgeball and kiddie-pooling, it really, really wasn’t. And in those moments, the fact that this was a camp for little kids never stopped being, to use Beck’s word, disturbing. Like 9-year-olds-joking-about-assassination disturbing. And yet Miss Deb and Yvonne had invited me—a stranger who they must’ve assumed believes the exact opposite of everything they do—to bear witness to how innocent it all was. Only I kept thinking: Do they really, truly believe this camp has nothing to do with politics?

Read the rest HERE.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at and I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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