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Gun Camps for Kids

Camp Okutta Adventures in Toronto

— August 29, 2007 — Pop Culture
Machine gun camp for kids? Are you shocked yet?  Relax, the camp is fake, but the campaign is real.

Last week YouTube popped up a new video for Camp Okutta, a children’s adventure camp just outside of Toronto. It opens with a promising young camp counselor, with a group of scared kids…

The counselor throws a stone onto a patch of grass. Nothing happens. He throws another. A mine explodes. The video is scary, at first you think it could be a real camp.

Fortunately, the camp does not exist. says “A Canadian charity is hoping to bring home the plight of war-affected children with a provocative new campaign that asks Canadians to picture their own children shooting AK-47s and walking across minefields.”

At the end, the video directs viewers to the camp’s website, which goes into more detail about what campers will experience. Children who are homesick or afraid are fed amphetamines and a “rudimentary mixture of cocaine and gunpowder.” On good days, they eat plain rice or scraps of food left behind by the camp’s leaders.

The campaign is meant to draw attention to the estimated 250,000 child soldiers worldwide, War Child Canada founder Samantha Nutt said. “What we were trying to do was to really bring the issue home to North Americans in a new and creative way that would ask the question, ‘If this was a Canadian context and these were Canadian kids, what would our reaction be?”’ she said.

“We accept it as part of life in other parts of the world, and yet it is totally abhorrent and totally unacceptable.”

Nutt described the YouTube video and Camp Okutta website as “100 per cent based in reality,” from the images of children detonating mines, to the use of AK-47s, which are considered the weapon of choice for child soldiers because “they’re lightweight and so easy to use,” she said.

After the first night the video had 5,000 viewers and is since up to over 20,000. Shows you just how well viral marketing works these days.