In what is being compared to a “Fyre Fest” for kids, a New Hampshire summer camp was abruptly closed as conditions apparently devolved into a dumpster fire with wide spread fist fights and vomiting sweeping through.
Fyre Fest was of course the infamous music festival that advertised luxury accommodations and fine dining in the Bahamas but instead delivered broken down tents and barely edible cheese sandwiches.
Camp Quinebarge in Moultonborough, NH was marketed to parents as an upscale outdoorsy experience for their kids worthy of the expensive price tag. However, the camp was closed after just 6 days.
Reports of unsanitary meals are believed to be responsible for the vomiting, though the causes for the fist fights were not reported.
Parents spent $3,400 to send their kids to the camp for two weeks. However, they were told to come pick their kids up after just 6 days due to a “summer of challenges,” including a delay from the camps food supplier.
According to the Boston Globe, the camp has been in business for 85 years.
An investigation showed a slew of potential reasons for the camps dysfunction, including rumors of hiring counselors just days before opening and not training them.
One counselor was punched in the face by a child. That same child later punched some other kid in the face too. The kid who was punched got a bruise and the counselor got a bloody lip.
Reports of meals served on dirty dishes made 4 kids start vomiting and be sent to quarantine. There are also claims the camp failed to tell parents their kids were sick or had been punched. Some of the staff quit and others were fired.
A letter from one of the campers to their parents detailed the less than satisfactory conditions of the Camp Quinebarge experience.
“We have been in tears, bored, and devastated the whole day. The camp director is lying to you all.
You have to trust us. You have to. We are not joking and we are not having fun.
So many things are wrong with this place.”
Eric Carlson, the camps executive director has run the camp with his wife Lesley since 2012, and they bought the place in April. Quinebarge has cancelled all remaining summer sessions and will be issuing refunds. Carlson issues a statement through the camp’s Facebook page:
“We sincerely apologize to all those families and staff members who had their summer plans interrupted by our premature closure.”
The red flags started before the camp opened though. With enrollment numbers spiking and a major staffing shortage, Carlson sent a puzzling email to parents just weeks before the camp began.
The email said the camp was in desperate need of 15 – 20 more staff members that needed to be hired that week in order to attend the training sessions. While many of the prospective staff members ultimately ghosted the job, others claim they received very minimal vetting or training prior to campers showing up.
21-year-old MJ Lowry explained the situation from the prospective of being a camp counselor.
“I was hired about four days before campers arrived.
Hey you were referred, we’ll send you the application. You seem to be qualified, do you want the position?
I played kickball, and got to see the turtle and the frog in the pond and learn about tadpoles. It was stuff like that.”
Kickball and hanging out with turtles, frogs, and tadpoles sounds like a pretty good summer to me.
Carlson acknowledged that a few counselors joined late, but that 52 counselors and 13 counselors-in-training were on staff when the camp opened.
However, 5 or 6 of them quit and 3 were fired.
Honestly, the headlines I saw about this story make it seem worse than it was. Sounds like these kids and parents are being kind of soft.
I mean, that kid’s letter made it sound like they were sending the kids into a rock quarry with their legs chained together every day or something, but it doesn’t seem that bad.
No word on how many kids attended the camp, but when you have a camp big enough for over 60 camp counselors, then just 4 kids puking and 2 fist fights seems relatively laid back. Kids are going to do that stuff anyway right?
So besides that, the biggest complaint was dirty dishes? I mean I have a stack of dirty dishes piled up in my sink right now, but you don’t see me crying.
Plus, judging by the website the accommodations look way nicer than Fyre Fest.
I’m not sure what side to take in this story, but at least it makes for entertaining headlines.
Seems like Camp Quinebarge is a good place for kids to build some resiliency though.
Plus I have to admit, the video they put together does a heck of a job marketing the camp.
If you want your kids to learn resilience, gain a better appreciation for the home cooked meals you provide them, and maybe learn about getting punched in the face, then you should consider sending them to Camp Quinebarge next summer.
You can probably get a discount if you book now.
Sounds like this place might have actually been like more like the place Tony Perkis was running in the legendary movie “Heavyweights” than the wholesome experience in their marketing video.