Kids Can Go To Gentrification-Themed Summer Camp Now

Kids at STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Summer Camp in Brooklyn have foregone the usual craft projects and campfire games of the season to spend their vacation learning the ins and outs of gentrification. It shouldn’t be such a surprise, since that seems to be all New Yorkers (and the writer of every obnoxious Williamsburg trend piece) can talk about anymore. The fact that this camp is a necessity convinces me in various ways that society, especially that of New York City, is going down the toilet; but it’s also a really encouraging way to try to make gentrifying neighborhoods accessible to everyone. Maybe these kinds of initiatives can allow for residents whose families have lived in a neighborhood for 30 years stick it out alongside all those thirty-something accountants from Iowa who seem hellbent on moving into every last brownstone on the block.

Camp leaders hope so, anyway, and want kids to understand what the gentrification means on a financial level so they can take control. Campers walk around the rapidly changing Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Clinton Hill taking pictures of symbols of the gentrification process, like construction or for-sale signs. Some of the kids shared their ideas on finance with Sally Herships of Marketplace. Lots of their thoughts are adorably giggle-worthy, like 7-year-old camper Tristan’s:

“Gentrification is a small shift in an urban community to mostly help senior citizens get a home.”

Life sure would be a lot simpler if that’s what gentrification was! Another camper, 10-year-old Ayanna, had a more detailed explanation:

“Just imagine, you’re in a house, you’re struggling to pay the rent, but you work so hard to pay it. And then all of the sudden the landlord comes to you and says you’re being evicted, somebody is moving into this house. It’s like you did everything right and then something bad just happens to you.”

Ayanna also has some pretty legit thoughts on debt:

“That’s like basically having no social life…you might go broke and you might not have that much money, plus you owe a debt to yourself because you never got a life. You’re always going to have debt, because you’re going to owe your parents and you can’t run away from your parents. The real lesson would actually be, to always be responsible if you have debt, because you can’t go blowing off your money [when] you owe somebody like $1,000 or $200 dollars, and you just spent it on a pair of Gucci shoes and ice cream.”

Ayanna is one wise lady. How many idiotic grown-ups do I know who waste their pennies on Gucci shoes and ice cream? More than I’d like to admit, that’s for sure. Another camper, twelve-year-old Kiyari, is soon to be priced out of her current apartment. “I know that me and my mom will be fine,” she told Herships. A peer jokingly suggested that Kiyari’s mother get a fifth job so they can keep living in their brownstone. Yes, five jobs. “That’d be a lot, because she wouldn’t even have time for me!” Kiyari replied. Ugh. I’m pretty sure every major city needs gentrification summer camp. [Marketplace] [Image via Shutterstock]