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Jetting Off to Sleepaway Camp?

This past weekend, I dropped my 8-year-old  daughter off at sleepaway camp for the first time. She’s going to the same YMCA camp I went to as a kid and it hasn’t changed much since then. In fact, it hasn’t changed much since it was founded 80 years ago. The campers still sleep in platform tents with no electricity and no bathrooms. I think roughing it will be good for her.

I took my daughter to camp the old-fashioned way — by car. But, according to a recent blog post at The Economist, some parents are taking their kids to sleepaway camp in style – by private jet or helicopter. Talk about helicopter parenting!

“The commute to camp can be a stressful experience,” reads a press release from Blue Star Jets.  Why not make things easier on yourself by chartering a $3,200/hour jet? Blue Star is promoting “Camp Card” packages, which offers parents discounts if they buy three round trips for the first day of camp, visiting day and the last day of camp.

Which begs the question – Recession, what recession?

“Despite the economy we’re seeing even more camp traffic than we did a year ago,” said Blue Star’s president Todd Rome . “They’re leaving from the Hamptons, from Nantucket, going to pretty much every camp, every regional airport you can think of.”

According to the Economist.com, you can choose between a turboprop ($1,400/hr) or a heavy jet ($5,000/hr), or a number of flight classes in between. And in case you get thirsty on your way to camp, no need to fret. You’ll be served Taittinger champagne (“to help ease any nerves when saying goodbyes to their little campers,” according to Blue Star). And your children can have their own in-flight care packages and “yummy gourmet PB&J’s.” Isn’t that an oxymoron?

As the blogger at Economist.com writes, “when it comes to rugged summer adventure, nothing says ‘roughing it’ like a brand-new Gulfstream V.” I’d have to agree.

I realize it might just sound like jealousy (even if I wanted to send my kid to camp in a private plane, my bank account wouldn’t allow it), but the truth is I think kids who experience this sort of luxury are bound to become spoiled and jaded. Just because you can afford this sort of convenience doesn’t necessarily mean you should take advantage of it.

Besides, once you’ve flown in a private jet, there’s only one place to go…down.

Photo: flickr/mbiddulph

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