Summer camp is a familiar experience to any kid whose parents had a disposable income and a desire to have the house to themselves for a few weeks. And sure, canoeing and hiking can be fun for a while, but what if there were summer camps where you could learn how to be a ninja? Or fly a freaking jet through the mountains of Africa?
As it turns out, there are camps out there heroically offering all of those things, and for some of them, you don't even need to be a kid to enroll. The disposable income is pretty much still a requirement, though.
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That's right, teenagers -- the Missouri University of Science and Technology offers a summer camp for people your age looking to blow some shit up, because apparently one of our eighth-birthday wishes finally came true. If you're a junior or senior in high school with an interest in pursuing a career in explosives (a phrase here meaning "you are a teenager who enjoys things that are awesome"), you can enroll in the five-day course and learn how to handle materials such as fireworks, dynamite, and good ol' C-freaking-4.
"Maybe you're irresponsible for not trusting children with this."
Campers will be given instruction in blast mining, underground demolition, and pyrotechnics. In addition to surface-blasting quarries and traveling deep into a lead mine to set off TNT clusters, accepted students will get to strap explosive charges to watermelons, Care Bears, and eerily trussed-up Barbie dolls, because even experienced professionals haven't completely moved beyond the "tying firecrackers to G.I. Joes" phase that set them on their career paths in the first place.
And to be fair, Shrek had this one coming.
As we mentioned earlier, a portion of the camp is focused on pyrotechnics, with the goal of making theatrical explosions for movies and television. To that end, the campers get to create controlled "walls of fire," which are exactly what they sound like:
Provided you heard "the napalm scene from Apocalypse Now" when you read that.
They will also put together a fireworks show using commercial-grade ordnance that could blow the ass off of an elephant. On one hand, we assume the FBI monitors each member of the applicant pool for a minimum of five years after camp ends, but on the other, we still totally want to go.
At Pali Adventures Hollywood Stunt Camp, kids ages 9 to 16 can learn to do all the death-defying leaps and falls that Vin Diesel pays some other bald guy to do for him. For a few thousand bucks, your child will do everything from diving dramatically over obstacles in the wake of an imaginary explosion to crash-rolling from the side of a moving vehicle and falling from every tall object on the camp's property.
That kid on the right had better tuck his head in the next half second or his parents will be receiving a difficult phone call.
The campers start small, with 2-foot jumps and simple mat tumbles, but by the end of their stay, they'll be punching and kicking each other off of 32-foot scaffolding towers and diving headlong into padded ravines, which are legitimately marketable career skills for a teenager living in California.
For example, some movie producer needs to hire this kid immediately.
They'll also learn stage combat, swordplay, and other faux-fighting techniques to ensure each one of them a role as a nameless henchman who gets his neck snapped by Jason Statham in a shipyard fire. At the end of the week, the campers participate in a choreographed stunt show involving every technique they've learned. We assume Michael Bay attends each show incognito to scout for the best Megan Fox lookalikes to shoot out of a cannon or whatever in his upcoming Ninja Turtles movie.
Not that many ninjas, from what we hear.
But if you want just a touch more realism, you'll probably want to turn things up a notch in ...
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For just $3,650, the equivalent of a pair of 1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supremes, you can spend a week at the Israel Challenge Experience becoming a flaming sword of anti-terrorism dripping with stealth and awesomeness.
ICE Army Camp
In just a week, you'll be capable of gunning down Howard Stern.
You'll be given room and board on a military base outside of Netanya, Israel (travel arrangements are up to you), where you will undergo weapons and tactics training taught by former Israeli commandos. The website guarantees that you will handle assault weapons like M16s and AK-47s on a daily basis, and you will be required to carry the Israeli Defense Forces standard Uzi on your person at all times, lest someone should ambush you on your way to the bug juice cooler.
You will also be trained in Krav Maga so you can break the shit out of any nefarious arms that foolishly attempt to grab you, and you will be thrown headfirst into dramatic training exercises, such as rescuing a bunch of hostages from a bus, to prove your worth to your commanders.
ICE Army Camp
The aforementioned bus has an odd prominence in most of the website's photos.
It all builds up to War Night, wherein you and your squad must plan an intricate covert operation and carry it out without getting pretend-murdered by ruthless enemy combatants. These stealth missions could be anything from planting listening devices in an opposing camp to stealing sensitive documents from a heavily guarded installation, easily beating out the paintball game you played at "Big Larry's Ball-Splatterin' Thunder Ranch" or wherever it was you went for last year's team-building retreat. It's essentially a fantasy camp for people who want to be Eric Bana in Munich.
Not many camps can give you PTSD, but a week's worth of Mossad combat experience might do the trick if you spend the rest of the year slumped behind a desk or a cash register. So the next time Joe-Joe from Receiving takes your clearly labeled lunch bag from the break room refrigerator, you can respond with deadly force and hip toss him through the Pepsi machine.
ICE Army Camp
You'll be having flashbacks to that goddamn bus for weeks.