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Camp Okutta
Posters for Camp Okutta have recently been appearing in various Canadian cities. Camp Okutta is described as an adventure camp for kids. But in addition to normal activities such as hiking and games, kids also get a summer of "throwing grenades, shooting AK-47 assault rifles, and receiving minefield training — all for children aged eight through 12."

Some people have been so outraged by the signs that they've ripped them down. Sarah Heywood is one of these people. She told CBC News that, "I immediately thought, wow, this is real, this is happening, people are now actually providing these kinds of services and opportunities for people who actually allow their children to go and experience something like that here in Canada."

Actually, the posters are a marketing hoax designed by War Child Canada. The intention is to raise awareness about camps around the world training child soldiers.

Below is a video ad, posted on YouTube, for Camp Okutta. Also check out Camp Okutta's website.

This reminds me of an earlier (and still ongoing) ad campaign in a similar vein: The Coalition to Promote the Use of Child Soldiers.

Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 22, 2007

I believe I can visualize how some folks would view this correctly (as it's intended) as an 'eye opener' for the exploitation of children as soldiers.

However, and unfortunately, there a great many people who (like those who also believe professional wrestling is a real event rather than carefully choreographed entertainment) and (1) believe it's real and therefore enraged by the idea, or (2) believe it's real and try to get their child(ren) signed up, or (3) believe in its 'value' and attempt to home school their child(ren) in these values.

It's my sense that there are already too many folks that might easily accept (2) and (3) above, or even those in number (1) who might, themselves, take up arms to protect their children from a misunderstanding of the true intent of the video.
Posted by hulitoons  in  Abingdon, Maryland  on  Wed Aug 22, 2007  at  05:06 PM
(2) (2) (2)!
I want to go!

No, not really. I've done a decade+ of army reserve and done everything they show here, and it's not as much fun when you factor in all the other crap that goes with it.
Posted by AussieBruce  on  Wed Aug 22, 2007  at  05:44 PM
Heh, yes, I suppose I'm a bit odd in not seeing anything wrong with rifle training and mine clearing lessons for children. Although I do admit that the grenade training would be a bit much.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Wed Aug 22, 2007  at  08:25 PM
"It's my sense that there are already too many folks that might easily accept (2) and (3) above, or even those in number (1) who might, themselves, take up arms to protect their children from a misunderstanding of the true intent of the video."

I'm guessing you haven't actually looked into it cause if you did, you would see that you can't actually sign and the website (very easily) takes you to a thorough explanation.

read much?
Posted by johnson bright  in  boise, idaho  on  Wed Aug 22, 2007  at  09:15 PM
Umm Johnson, I think she's commenting on the fact that people would even try to sign up for number 2. For number 3, I think she's implying that it would give them the idea to "train" their kids, and they would do it themselves, regardless of the intent of the video, like, oh, say if they saw it on YouTube and didn't really visit the site.

It's not always about reading, sometimes it's about comprehending context wink

I really don't see how this is getting their point accross though. I'd think maybe pictures of real children being trained in war camps might be a better idea. This didn't make me think of the real child soldiers at all, it made me think of people who spend more time making up silly publicity campaigns than they do actually putting their issues out there. I'd bet a lot of people see these posters and never even go to the site, but think it's real and eventually forget about it. Great job!
Posted by Transfrmr  in  deep trouble  on  Wed Aug 22, 2007  at  10:18 PM
Wow..... i hope here in Mexico can open a place like Camp Okutta... well... we have like 12 places like Camp Okutta but not with that kind of fun... keep up the god work canada...
Posted by pistolero  in  Mexico  on  Fri Aug 24, 2007  at  02:50 PM
I disapprove of using kids as soldiers but like the idea of training kids weapons safety and handling so that they are not irrationally scared of weapons. I think a camp where kids could learn such, under strict supervision, would be a "good thing" but I doubt it would happen.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Sun Aug 26, 2007  at  01:25 AM
While I obviously don't agree with children being used as soldiers, I do think that all kids should have weapons training before the age of 10. Specifically they need to know how to use and operate firearms, as well as have a firm understanding of gun safety. Treating guns as if they are dangerous and should not be touched is actually what makes them dangerous to begin with. A kid who knows how to safely use guns isn't in any danger from misusing them.

As for a grenade range, well heck, that's just good old fashioned entertainment. Everybody likes to blow things up. smile
Posted by Otto  in  Memphis, TN  on  Wed Sep 26, 2007  at  02:08 PM
Actually Otto, children trained in gun safety and respect have in the pst misused them. It is, however, much rarer than misuse by those who have never had the training.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Wed Sep 26, 2007  at  08:58 PM
I agree with Transfrmr that pictures of real children being trained in war camps might be a better idea. These posters for Camp Okutta sounds a little frightening. Well, guns are not allowed here in China, so I don't know whether it's helpful to train kids in gun safety.
Posted by Camp Clair  in  China  on  Tue Sep 23, 2008  at  10:21 AM
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