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Not All Summer Camps Offer Campfires and Marshmallows


It's summertime in America, and millions of parents are packing their kids off to camp.

For generations, at rustic locales like "Camp Hiawatha," summer camp meant fresh air and mountain streams; nature walks and horseback rides; arts and crafts; roasted marshmallows; ghost stories; and songs around a campfire. Songs like "Bingo."

"There was a farmer had a dog, and Bingo was his name-oh.

"[clap-clap]-N-G-O. [clap-clap]-N-G-O . . ."

Camp Gitchi-gumi for boys was always on one side of a river, Camp Sunshine for girls on the other, and it was the counselors' daily challenge to keep it that way.

Then camps began to specialize, offering intense training in chess or Hebrew or hockey. You could find survivalist camps and fat kids' camps -- even Ukrainian-language scouting camps.

Nowadays, summer camp is even more specialized. You go, not just to soccer camp, but to camp for goalkeepers. There are camps for flute players, Internet web designers, mushroom-lovers and kids with asthma. There are American Indian camps and Asian Indian camps, test preparation camps, camps in caves, camps where you hunt bugs, and camps based on the fictional boy wizard Harry Potter. There's even something called "cyber camp," though we're not sure you actually GO there.

You name it: there's probably a summer camp for it. But it may take a while to find a simple "camp camp" where you can sing "[clap-clap-clap]-G-O and Bingo was his name-oh."

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