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YouTube Stars Tyler Oakley and Bethany Mota Host Overpriced Summer Camp

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In a move which will likely delight anyone who has ever wanted to reach through the screen and throttle a YouTube star, two of them have decided to host a summer camp in the US later this year. For the unfamiliar, summer camps are bizarre retreats that American parents bundle their spawn off to during the holidays so that they don't have to spend time with them.

For the equally unfamiliar, Tyler Oakley is a YouTuber who seems to pick fights with famous people on a weekly basis. Time magazine named him as one of their 'influential people'. He posts about various different things, but LGBT rights are a big ongoing theme. Bethany Mota, meanwhile, focuses on fashion, makeup tips and similar things. How either of those things qualifies them to host a summer camp is beyond me, but they're doing it anyway.

Vloggers are indisputably popular with kids, there's no getting around that, and you would imagine that many would be delighted at the chance to meet them in person during a live Q&A, signing, or at one of the many conventions they attend. There's a fair chance they might also been keen to spend a week canoeing and roasting marshmallows with them as well, but if they want to, they'll have to squeeze about $2,000 out of their parents.

It's alright though, 10% of the prospective campers will receive a scholarship if they demonstrate a 'financial need'. So, in essence, those who want to go, but understandably can't afford it, have to compete to look the most desperate. Now, I understand that they can only take on a limited number of kids for each of the many camps that are going to be happening under this 'Camp17' banner, but surely when you've got famous head counselors whose appeal partially comes from their content being universally accessible, it might be an idea not to price people out of the whole thing?

Supposedly Oakley and Mota's camp, called '#bestcampever' will have a maximum capacity of 400 and operate on a first come, first serve basis, but there will also be a 'screening process'. #bestcampever will involve sports, yoga, cooking, talent contests and everything else you've seen in Wet Hot American Summer, but instead of subversive, counter-culture parody, it'll all be real. Other YouTube stars are on board to host their own camps as well, including Meghan Rienks and Connor Franta, who will be basing his one around workshops for aspiring digital creators. Theirs are cheaper than #bestcampever, but still run at over $1,000.

I fully expect all these camps to sell out almost immediately, and wish Oakley, Mota and the others the best of luck in dealing with the spoiled gremlins who managed to nag their parents into forking out for this experience, whilst most of the kids who legitimately appreciate what they do are sat at home, probably browsing YouTube. It's a fair argument that 'unplugged' fan interaction is important, but the moment you place a restrictive price tag on it, your integrity flies out the window. Once again, the rise of the YouTube celebrity largely derives from how personal and accessible blogging tends to feel. It's kind of bleakly amusing to see some of its most successful practitioners utterly fail to understand that.



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF


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YouTube Stars Tyler Oakley and Bethany Mota Host Overpriced Summer Camp Reviewed by Callum Davies on Friday, February 26, 2016 Rating: 5

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