So, Tyler Oakley is “taking over” a camp.
You (or your child) could spend an entire six days with with Tyler Oakley AND Bethany Mota. Wow! Awesome! Every digital kid’s dream, right?
It will only cost you $2,050 dollars. 💰💰💰
That seemed like a little bit of a steep price for me, so I did a little research:
While the average cost of “sleepaway” camps have been rising dramatically over the last decade, according to the American Camp Association, it currently sits at roughly $690 a week (which is actually a day longer than Tyler’s camp).
“Okay,” A reasonable person may say in response to my not-so-veiled criticism. “Who knows what they are doing at Tyler’s camp! Maybe the value is A LOT more than the typical camp.”
To which I would bring up this excerpt from a Variety article, that covered the nitty-gritty details of the camp:
Swimming? Soccer? Movie nights? Sounds like a pretty typical camp to me. The difference being, of course, that Tyler Oakley and Bethany Mota’s names are on it.
“But!” The Oakley apologist says again. “There are going to be scholarships to the camp! This will make the opportunity affordable to 10% of all campers attending!”
Yes, there are scholarships. Of the 400 slots open, up to 40 kids have the opportunity to attend the camp totally tuition free. And that’s pretty cool, except when you consider that a digital star’s fanbase is spread out all over the WORLD and that the scholarship does not cover transportation to the camp itself.
Of course, Tyler Oakley is a professional. The digital entertainment industry is his career, and he has every right to make money from it. What I am disappointed about, however, is how he is willing to finance his camp off the backs of eager fans who are paying above-average prices just to hang out with him.
And so, instead of being a positive opportunity offered to all kids, we see #BestCampEver as another step in the long, weary slog toward the total stratification of opportunity. It’s a world with unpaid internships, underpaid freelancers, and elite summer camps to rub shoulders with the influential; all only available to those who can pay. And for everyone else there are grants, scholarships, and loans — but not a guaranteed opportunity — because getting the $$$ means already having $$$.
And it’s disappointing because you would think — you would hope — that Tyler Oakley would be the one to get this. The guy who wrote a book with literal *chapters* talking about how he didn’t have a lot of money; the guy who said, “Growing up poor was pretty shitty,” and talked at length about his “weird relationship with money:”
“My family always had financial issues; I grew up eating discount lunches, and back to school shopping meant hand-me-downs and off brands. I didn’t mind at first, but I eventually began to notice what my peers had, and I became very aware of where my family ranked on the community-income infographic.”
You would never think that that guy would have an exclusive camp for people whose parents can write the check, plus 40 others.
That’s what you would think. That’s what you would hope. But that’s not what happened. And so the slog continues.