By NWV Senior Political News Writer, Jim Kouri
While many American parents are aware of the neo-Marxist indoctrination that’s occurs in public schools across the country — at times they even fight against such programs — those same parents may be unaware of the indoctrination that is instilled into the young minds of children sent to summer camps right here in America.
“Camp Kinderland is a multicultural summer camp and community that honors U.S. progressive secular Jewish roots through a commitment to economic, racial, and social justice. Kinderland’s summer programming and year around activities integrate progressive values with arts, recreation, and activism in a compassionate and caring environment,” the camp’s mission statement reads.
In the words of the administrators, the camp’s values include “social, economic, and racial justice,” in addition to “diversity,” “community,” and “respect and compassion.”
Camp Kinderland was established in 1923 by Jewish union activists in New York, who wanted to provide a summer escape from the city for working class families. The founders of Kinderland believed that Jewish culture includes a responsibility to social justice. The camp program focused on the labor movement, and other progressive causes. Over the years, they have honored and celebrated the International Brigades in Spain, anti-fascist efforts in the World War II era, economic reform and the civil rights and anti-war movements, among others.
“Kinderland was founded by members of The Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring, a leftist Jewish fraternal organization, in 1923 in Hopewell Junction, New York. Camp Kinderland, along with the rest of the left-wing of the Workmen’s Circle, split off in 1930 and created the International Workers Order and became the official summer camp of the Jewish section of the IWO. In 1954, the IWO was shut down and its assets liquidated by the government, which had determined that it was a communist organization,” according to
Since Kinderland has been around for over three-quarters of a century, camp and campers have been active participants in the history and events that have shaped who they are today. One of its alumni is the Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei. Another is KISS guitarist and vocalist Paul Stanley.
As at many camps, campers play sports, swim and hike, gain new experiences in arts, drama, music, dance, nature and camping. But at Kinderland they also encounter leftist ideals of social justice and peace. They don’t hesitate to sing a Yiddish labor song, paint a mural of Harriet Tubman or write a skit about putting an end to war—that’s just what you do at Camp Kinderland, where it is okay to think, to care, to question and to act.
There is nothing quite like it; and it works because the values of community and culture, of justice and righteousness, are integrated with a façade of friendship, joy, beauty, the sheer fun and adventure of life away from the campers’ parents. camp.
The camp is made up of educators who have experience in the progressive, secular outlook that comprises the foundation of the Brooklyn Kindershule. Several of the staff members were among the founders of the 1981 Kindershule and have remained in leadership over many years; several are alumni for whom shule was a key element in developing their Jewish identities. The camp’s teachers are skilled in art, music, Yiddish language, and literature. All share a child-centered, loving philosophy and a commitment to this unique community and cultural heritage.
“Our job is to inspire; to raise awareness and introduce new ideas so the cultural program is integrated into campers regular activities,” claim staff members at the leftist-supporting camp.
During the Kunderland Olympics – in grand summer camp tradition – the entire camp forms teams which compete in a series of games and events, while wearing team colors and screaming team chants. But at Kinderland, they name the teams after people, countries or movements that we admire. One year’s teams included A. Philip Randolph, Chico Mendes and Ida B. Wells. Another year, under the theme of “Speak Truth to Power,” the teams included the Israeli Refusnik movement and the McCarthy-era Hollywood Ten. Each team writes chants and songs that incorporate information about their namesake. They produce elaborate murals and put together a cultural presentation that is performed as part of the closing ceremonies. Campers learn in ways that challenge them to be creative, emotional and active in the learning process.
Evolving generations of campers and staff embrace a far broader and more diverse spectrum of issues and ideas that are expressed in the cultural program—including struggles for women’s and gay rights, and environmental justice—and a more multicultural outlook. The staff sees themselves as the caretakers of the ideals that Kinderland was built on, maintaining a community that does what it can to work for social justice around the world. It honors Jewish roots: it integrates Yiddish into camp life; they learn Eastern European folkdances and songs; we set aside time every summer to commemorate the Holocaust, remembering victims and honoring those who offered resistance.
“We also recognize and teach that their roots are entwined with many other struggles, cultures, heroes and fighters. We see our own struggles in those of other peoples and we honor their fight as our own. Our principles are universal in nature, capable of influencing and being influenced by other sources and it is this belief that drives Kinderland today,” says the camp’s brochure.
While the registration process does not discriminate in favor of Jews, a large majority of campers are Jewish. While campers come from around the US, many are from the New York area, especially Brooklyn, where there is a kindershule, or secular school that teaches Jewish history and culture and progressive values, such as equity, workers’ rights, women’s rights, anti-militarization beliefs, and so much more, (similar to the dozen Workmen’s Circle Shuln) associated with the camp. [YouTube Video]
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