[This series has been delayed due to factors beyond the control of Jeff Johnson. Many of the camps are ending or in progress. Still, we press on.

Note to all McSweeney’s web readers: The NFL season is starting soon. We are not sure whether or not the Weekly NFL Picks will be continued, but that isn’t important. Getting Jeff Johnson into some games for free is.

And now, without further delay, Camp Five.]

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Wallup’s Theme Farm
July 18, 2000

From: Bob Crafft, VP Community relations
To: Employees and area Media outlets
Re: Truncated Camp Events

Wallup’s usually hosts a summer camp for children of Wallup’s Workers, and has done so through early July of this year. The camp, as many of you know, is adjacent to, and includes part of the Wallup’s facility. In late June, following unfounded reports of impetigo, and supposed-eyewitness accounts of toddlers with sores that hadn’t been medically addressed by professionals, and several further astonishingly unbelievable and unrealistic accounts by KXRL-TV, and KRRT (1150AM), we at Wallup’s deemed it best to shut down this FREE service to our employees and other area children.

Many of our employees: Cheese Criers, Art and Craft Vendors, Game Operators, Janitors, Managers, Pleasure Enhancement Providers, Cobblers, Apple Dolts, Peach Dolts, Guy-On-Wooden-Slide, Lawn Raiders, Cabineteers, Worriers, Sonnet Throwers, Bike Rental Agents, Cane, Iron Roger, Stew Servers, Xuss, Musket Infantry, Weeblers, etc. have and/or are currently on a furlough or prison release program. BUT they are good people in search of chance number 2. Many haven’t been neer their children for 6 months to a dozen or so years. That is many summer afternoons of not being able to peak over a snow fence and see your offspring happily playing in a haystack on a Wallup’s tar lot, or attending to a baby goat, or making finger jello with a supervisor that has never been arrested yet. That is many summer (and winter afternoons) of being locked up (3 hots and a cot) and not working or seeing your kids up close, while they learn and go through puberty and deal with life’s lessons.

This is especially sad for higher-ups at Wallup’s because we feel like in closing the camp, we are lowering the boom on our Second Chancers by saying your kids can’t come to camp while you work. Just like society did, when they said “Go To Jail,” to many of them without rhymes or reasons. In many ways, if we were more thinned-skinned, we’d first think, ‘Well, how are they going to afford that?’ or ‘This might turn them back to drug addictions or abuse, or spousal abuse. Or knocking off small gas stations to get the extra child care money.’ But we have hope that our workers aren’t going to fall prey to that. And they are not all ex-convicts either. There are some workers filtered in who are role models. They have kids too. These kids have mouths to feed also, and that is where that saying comes in and how you have probably heard it. “I have X-amount of mouths to feed.”

Our camp kids were involved in many positive activities: We had junior Cheese Criers, and other things that encompass the Theme Farm life. We think, for example, there is no better way to learn about the value of money and dairy products than through the age old practice of wooden-wheelbarrow based Cheese Crying, which started in Norfolk or Philadelphia upwards of 250 years ago. We carry that through today, and some of the campers had even incorporated rap music into their Cheese hawking. It was wonderful, but minus the cheese end of things, it will just be raps that probably contain swear words, because no parents will be around, because we at Wallups’ refuse to be taunted or under expose by a TV station with an axe it chooses to grind on us.

Many of these kids will now have a bridge of one month between camp and school. In the past, out of courtesy, we at Wallup’s determined that any gap, or camp-to-school bridge shouldn’t be more than 10 days, nor should it include more than two weekends. We are disheartened then to see this one month bridge, because in talking to drug and graffiti specialists, we surmised that a one month bridge is dangerous in that illegal way, and also in simpler (but costly) ways like the amount of groceries and additional electricity the kids will use at their homes by not being at camp.

Now then, were there sores?

I will address that by saying a boy, at camp, picked a knee scab on a popular day at the Theme Farm. Many visitors saw this, and one reported it to the Health Board, who we squared things away with and then the media got involved. It was nothing more than that, and some minor impetigo cases that always occur near busy drinking fountains anyway. We always have had strong relations with the media, and even when PETA got on us about the donkey who was on the tightrope, we all worked it out, even though the donkey was a tightrope specialist (better than most humans) and always had a net beneath it.

People will know the truth, and following a few safety procedures, I ensure you the camp will be back next summer. Workers can pick up free passes to Atlas Water Park for their families to be used on their days off at Gate H from 12-3 on Thursday, as our way of saying sorry.