'Hunger Games' camp has kids battle to the 'death' - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

'Hunger Games' camp has kids battle to the 'death'

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LARGO, FL (NBC) -- Summer camp is traditionally a place where lots of kids get together, run around, swim, play games, maybe ride horses. And then there's one particular camp that's taken the games-playing to a new level.

A Largo, Fla., Country Day School summer camp has been running a "Hunger Games" themed tournament, where 26 young participants are expected to fight one another to the "death," as the young people in the fictional "Hunger Games" books and movies do.

In a piece reported by the Tampa Bay Times, the adolescents (of course) don't really fight to the death — it's all playacting. But the way the kids take on their roles means they end up telling each other things like, "I will probably kill you first" and "I might stab you." 

The children "kill" one another by pulling flag belts from their enemy's waists, and the camper with the most "lives" at tournament's end wins. 

The story quoted clinical psychologist Susan Toler as saying the camp idea was "unthinkable," noting that "when (children) start thinking and owning and adopting and assuming (those killer) roles, it becomes close to them. The violence becomes less egregious."

The camp has made some adjustments this year, changing the semantics of what the children were doing. They were no longer killing one another, but collecting lives. They also participated in team-building activities like the Minefield, where kids had to guide one another through verbal cues only through a field of cones, baseball gloves and Hula-Hoops.

The article ended, however, by showing that the camp was far from violence-free. One 11-year-old noted that he'd gotten "stepped on." 

"I'm sure it was an accident," said camp director Jared D'Alessio.

The boy begged to differ, saying he'd been knocked down. "I got stepped on," he said.

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