SFU summer camps: are you for or against all these children on campus?

Having throngs of kids on campus can be fun for some students, but for others it can ruin a day

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, SFU summer camps are coming back for another year. Photo courtesy of Ana Samoylova via Unsplash

By: Paul Choptuik, Coordinating News Editor, Onosholema Ogoigbe, News Team Member

Point:

One of the biggest complaints I hear from classmates is that they don’t pay to have summer campers clogging hallways, screaming, and otherwise being bothersome. I’m not saying that having large numbers of kids on campus is perfect, but my sizzling-hot take on SFU summer camps is that they are more important than one might realize.

OK, so maybe it’s not the hottest take ever made, but some people go to school or work full-time and also have children. Some of these parents may be your classmates, your TAs, your professors, or any of the support staff around campus. SFU summer camps provide a convenient childcare option for members of the SFU community.

And while not every child who attends SFU camps will be connected to the university this way, research has demonstrated the potential of such camps as recruitment tools for future students. All those non-SFU affiliated kids could one day be students paying thousands in tuition to partially finance a future stadium expansion.

What’s more, these programs provide good employment and volunteer opportunities for SFU students. It’s hard finding a summer job that actually pays well. Head instructor positions at SFU camps do just that. The pay for regular instructors is somewhat less, but it’s still above minimum wage.

I might be a bit biased here as a former summer camp volunteer and someone who still volunteers with the 10–12 age range, but seeing kids having fun puts a smile on my face. I’d like to think it does for others too, especially when you’re stuck inside the AQ, which resembles a mine shaft nowadays.

So when I see that parade of kids just being kids, I think to myself, at least someone is having fun.

  • Paul Choptuik, Coordinating News Editor

 

Counterpoint:

As someone who used to live on campus residence, I can confidently say, having children who are not your own running amok is less than enjoyable.

Let me tell you a story of breakfast, my one joy in life, interrupted. The space around the dining hall doors was packed with children. The front desk was also blocked. I was already running late for class, but I was hungry, so I persevered.

At Fraser International College (where I was a student at the time), classes are split into four-hour chunks. If you don’t grab a meal before a class and you’re too much of a Scrooge to buy something, then it’s basically starvation for those four hours. Also, the dining hall closes early in the summer.

I almost gave up when I had to squeeze towards the food only for my view to be obstructed by yet another blockade of children. At that point, I resigned myself to my lateness.

Eventually the blockade cleared and my heart sang for joy — that is, before I saw the empty tray in front of me. They had cleaned out everything and I was horribly late for class!

I call bullshit when I have to be deprived of sustenance because of children who don’t even attend this school.

Along with food deprivation, the camps’ participants also bring noise pollution and irrational pedestrian speed bumps to campus. I almost had a heart attack the first time I heard them practicing their chants. Then I realised that this is something that occurs frequently throughout their time at SFU! I’m also pretty sure I almost tripped over one of the shorter kids before.

So for my safety and theirs, I don’t think that SFU should host kids at summer camp anymore.

  • Onosholema Ogoigbe, News Team Member