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Camp Kinderland is a summer camp located in Tolland, Massachusetts for boys and girls aged eight through sixteen. The camp's motto is summer camp with a conscience since 1923. The main topics of the curriculum are: equality, peace, community, social justice, activism, civil rights, Yiddishkeit, and friendship. Campers may stay for four weeks in July, three weeks in August, or all seven of the offered weeks. There is also a two-week session available for first-time campers in the youngest group.
Founding and history
Kinderland was founded by members of The Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring, a leftist Jewish fraternal organization, in 1923 in Hopewell Junction, New York. Camp Kinderland, along with the rest of the left wing of the Workmen's Circle, split off in 1930 and created the International Workers Order and became the official summer camp of the Jewish section of the IWO. In 1954, the IWO was shut down and its assets liquidated by the government, which had determined that it was a Communist organization. At that time, Camp Kinderland became an independent corporation.
While the registration process does not discriminate in favor of Jews, a large majority of campers are Jewish. While campers come from around the US, many are from the New York area, especially Brooklyn, where there is a kindershule, or secular school that teaches Jewish history and culture and progressive values, such as equity, workers' rights, women's rights, anti-militarization beliefs, and so much more, (similar to the dozen Workmen's Circle Shuln) associated with the camp.
Camp Kinderland promotes progressive social values through its cultural program. It is anti-death penalty, pro-labor union, and generally socialist. Every year it holds the Peace Olympics, where camp is evenly divided into four teams, each representing a movement or nation that the camp's directors feel is advancing the progressive cause.
The camp's left-wing politics led it to be the place many red diaper babies were sent growing up, which caused it to be investigated during the McCarthy era. Many alumni of the camp remain committed to various socialist and anti-war causes, sometimes under the Kinderland banner.
Notable Kinderland alumni
- Spencer Ackerman, progressive blogger
- Chesa Boudin, author, activist and Rhodes Scholar
- Lawrence Bush, editor, Jewish Currents
- Jules Dassin, film director
- Ted Gold, weatherman
- Max Kellerman, sports commentator
- Michael Klonsky, education policy expert
- Ivy Meeropol, documentary filmmaker, granddaughter of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
- Suze Rotolo, artist and teacher
- Ben Shuldiner, 2006 Democratic candidate for New York's 19th Congressional District
- Paul Stanley, singer and guitarist, KISS
- Sol Stern, senior fellow, Manhattan Institute
- Marisa Tomei, actress
- Merritt Wever, actress
- Delia Graff Fara, philosopher of language
- Itche Goldberg (Contains a brief mention of shules.)
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