This camp’s $290,000 (US dollars) price tag will discourage many camp candidates. Although the sticker price does include a refurbished and factory re-certified Ferrari F430 (shipping costs and interior floormat package not included), we found the camp lacking in expected camp activities. There were no group sing-alongs, ghost stories around the campfire, or group bonding exercises. Despite being highly trained and certified Ferrari repair technicians, the camp staff was found to be aloof and unengaged.
Each camper is assigned a “crib” with seven other campers. Each day, one of the group becomes the “MC” and the others act as posse members. Mornings are spent creating rap songs that are performed and recorded in the late afternoon. It is up to each MC and posse to protect their playlist and hide their “stash” where rival gangs can’t find them. Get “popped with a cap” and your team must reinvent itself. At the camp’s conclusion, parents are given a “greatest hits” recording, complete with personalized cover art.
Although there were many positive benefits to this camp, we found the aftereffects quite concerning. Returning campers expressed an extremely strong desire to dress in low-riding prison jeans (that exposed the waistband of their underpants) and flat-brimmed baseball caps (cocked to the side), all accessorized with plenty of bling.
“Our son, H. Reginald Smythe III, no longer fits in with the
rest of his Choate classmates,” remarked the parent of a recent Camp
Bling-Bling attendee. “Thankfully, the good folks at Vineyard Vines are
sponsoring a mental reconditioning program, which appears to be working quite
effectively. It is to be hoped that our ‘Biff’ will return to the boy we knew,
before he left for LA.”
Campers are treated to whatever they want and whenever they want it. However, abuse your privileges and you are either: sent to jail, fitted with an ankle bracelet and kept under cabin-arrest, or sent to rehab.
Upon arrival, each camper is paired with a camp counselor, who acts as both attorney and agent throughout their three week stay.
The camp is prominently positioned on a private island (once owned by Musty Slipper lead singer, Crust) and next to Camp Paparazzi, a camp specializing in media mastery through the capture of exploitable visual images. The proximity of the two camps provides the opportunity for camp mixers and joint activities. Such activities were briefly suspended earlier this summer when an “actor” attacked a “press photographer” following an island-wide Mel Gibson Film Festival. Assault charges were eventually dropped.
This camp is solid on content but short on delivery. A majority of parents complain that their sons and daughters return brattier and more self-centered than before they left. “It’s now: Lindsay would do this, Lindsay wouldn’t do this, Lindsay’s mother let her drive the car when she was 12 so why can’t I? I could really use another glass of Chardonnay,” remarked one mother of a recently returned camper. “Next year it’s Camp Rockbottom for our little princess!”
Who can’t help humming along when listening to recordings of Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, or The Pretenders sing the classic song, “Working On The Chain Gang?”
Or how about The Clash?
“A' Breakin' rocks in the… Hot Sun
I Fought the Law and the… Law Won”
Camp Rockbottom provides much more structure and team-building than some of the other camps we visited. At first glance, leg manacles may seem a little severe. But after watching Group Road Repair Training, you realize the benefits as total strangers are forced to bond together as a close-knit team of contributors.
Rewards and punishments abound. “Good campers” are allowed to ride horseback, faux shotgun in hand, while less enthusiastic campers are forced to pulverize large rocks or pour steaming hot tar into highway potholes.
“Cool Hand Luke Day” is a favorite event during the four-week
sentence. Campers learn to cut the heads off of parking meters and participate
in a hard-boiled egg eating contest.
The wafting sound of banjo music is a strong indication that you are getting close to the camp’s drop-off point by the rapidly flowing river and awaiting canoes. Campers journey into the dense wilderness, experiencing forest life in all of its natural splendor. Classes include extensive training in archery, whitewater rafting, wilderness survival and primitive dentistry.
This camp is extremely intense and would probably not be a safe choice for younger children who are susceptible to horrific nightmares and lack experience in wilderness regions.
One parent remarked, “After Johnny’s visit to Camp
Deliverance, we found him much more willing to engage in household chores. We
no longer have to beg him to clean his room, make his bed or empty the
dishwasher. His camp experience has provided him with new-found hope and
optimism towards his home and family life. We haven’t heard a single negative
word or complaint since his return.”
1. Kamp King Arthur: located deep in the woods of New Hampshire
The price for a three-week stay might seem a bit steep. But figure in the horse, suit of armor, and medieval weapons rental fees, and the price tag is really quite reasonable.
Along with lessons in fencing, jousting and hand-to-hand combat, each camper joins a 4–6 person team of fellow “knights” and attempts to build either a catapult or a slightly more complex trebuchet. Winning teams are provided with the additional challenge of breaking through the castle walls and laying siege to a small village of camp counselors dressed in authentic peasant garb.
This is not a camp for children squeamish about eating with their hands. The simulated Black Plague exercise may be slightly uncomfortable for younger campers. Please also be aware that negative behavior is not tolerated and may lead to extended stays within the camp’s dungeon. Please notify the camp in advance if your child suffers from mead-related allergies.