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FIRST-PERSON: Summer camp takes a turn for the worse

McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)–The summer camp experience rates right up there with baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie in the estimation of many Americans. A week in the woods away from mom and dad is a rite of passage for many adolescents. New activities and fresh emotions combine for a memorable experience. Add to the mix the inevitable “camp crush” and it is a significant few days in the life of a young person.

My only camp experience was one summer as a counselor. For 12-weeks I was given the task of guiding young men and women through their memorable week. One thing was as predictable as the sun coming up each morning. Each and every week you could count on camp romances developing. Most were innocent enough. However there were a few enterprising couples who tried to make a love connection after lights out in an unauthorized area of the camp. ‘Twas my job to prevent these rendezvous from being successful.

The task of keeping the couples apart was made easier by the physical layout of the camp. The boys cabins were situated about a mile from the girls cabins. I am sure the thought of having to navigate through dark snake infested woods stifled many a Romeo’s desire for a romantic interlude.

I wax nostalgic for a reason. According to a recent report in the Seattle Weekly, the Northwest is soon to have its first “queer-oriented summer camp for kids.” While I think the gay community should start their own programs rather than try to force heterosexuals to accommodate them, I can’t help but wonder about the pit falls inherent in this type experiment.

“Experts” constantly tell us that when it comes to sexual temptation that it is foolish to instruct teens in abstinence. They are simply going to have sex. There is nothing God or anyone else can do about it. The gay community has been at the forefront of such arguments and has insisted that safe sex instruction include discussion about homosexual behavior. Given the argument that kids either do not possess the ability or the desire to abstain from sexual activity, doesn’t it stand to reason that in a camp setting you would want to keep them as far apart as possible?

Can you even begin to imagine a camp that allows boys and girls to share the same cabin? I pity the poor counselor who has to oversee that situation. However, that is the fate of those who will give guidance at camp queer. There is no way to house these kids without somehow having teens attracted to the same sex bunking together. Seems to me that is tempting fate a bit too much.

One line in the camp song from the 60’s known as “Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda” went, “Camp is very entertaining…” I am not sure the song writer had in mind an easy opportunity for a sexual experience when he penned his thoughts. Like it or not, that is likely to happen at camps designed for gay teens.
Boggs is pastor of Valley Baptist Church, McMinnville, Ore. His column appears each Friday in Baptist Press.

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  • Kelly Boggs