It reads like the start of a novel about summer camp gone wrong, a letter home to mom and dad that pulls no punches: "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." But that was no story draft but rather a passage in a letter that a Camp Quinebarge camper wrote but never got the chance to mail home, reports the Boston Globe. The 85-year-old Moultonborough, NH, camp—which had sold out of its $8,000 six-week session and $9,800 eight-week session, per the Concord Monitor—closed down after just six days this summer, with parents, campers, and even staffers alleging those six days weren't great.
Angry parents trade stories on a private "Abandoned Camp Q 2021" Facebook group, and they seem to center around staffing woes that they say led to undertrained counselors, at least eight of whom quit or were fired (Executive Director Eric Carlson says only 36 of the 60 original hires bothered to show up). Said one mom to CBS Boston, "They put children in danger." Parents alleged that the stressed staff was seen screaming at each other in the presence of kids and unclean dishes were used due to a broken dishwasher. In closing, the camp itself cited a Sysco delay that meant there were looming food supply issues and blamed the pandemic. The end came quickly: One day, a message to parents from Carlson noted the rough start but maintained campers were "overwhelmingly having a good time." The following day, July 2, came the news parents had to get their kids ASAP. (Read more summer camp stories.)