Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The "Parental No" Files - City Summer Camp Edition

Today I'll be kicking off a new tag - "Parental No"

You know the parental no. It's supposed to be the sole line of defense in protecting society's children against the predatory practices of Big Food and from an environment that's completely stacked against our kids' weights and health.

It's the argument that the ignorant always fall back on to apologize for anything and everything Big Food throws at us.
"Parents can always just say NO",
they'll say, and then they'll often wax on about how crazy it is that there are people like me out there suggesting that the state has a role to play in helping to create a healthy environment for its most vulnerable population.

Easy, no?

Today's parental no requirement comes from Aisling Burke and the City of Brampton Ontario's camp system. Aisling's going to have to say "No" to letting the City run camp feed her kids. And yes, it's easy for her to do (though her kids may well feel left out if their peers are are chowing down on French fries, pizza, potato chips, hot dogs, cookies and freezies - but never mind that), but doesn't the fact that Aisling has to use up 5 parental nos a week on a publicly run camp lunch give you at least a moment of pause? More importantly doesn't it give you pause that the City of Brampton offers its children nutritional garbage for lunch each and every day of the summer?

Shouldn't publicly run institutions be safe havens for our children?

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  1. Anonymous7:33 am

    4 parental nos

  2. Sherry7:45 am

    ^^Anonymous, you're also forgetting the Nos that will precede and antecede the actual day camp days: the ones that come on Monday and sound like, "Moooooommmmmmm, why can't I get the same lunch as the other kids? Why do I have to be different?" (I got teased for being a poor kid in school who only ever had a brown bag lunch, even on "special days" like hot dog day or field trip day. It embarrassed me and was probably pretty heartbreaking for my parents to have to always say no, even if I only wanted a few quarters for a treat, so I wouldn't underestimate the pressure on the parents to cave for at least one day every now and then.)

  3. I questioned this in Windsor, ON, when I noticed that the community centres were continuing to supply pop, pizza and hot dogs to children, well after the Ministry of Education changed brought in the new food regulations. I know that city-run community centres don't fall under the Ministry of Education, but it's the same children who use them.

    When I brought this up at the desk, all I got was blank stares. When I wrote letters, it was pointed out to me that the energy drinks in the vending machines are intended for people using the gyms. Please don't get me started this early in the morning on the energy drink discussion!

  4. Has anyone seen the new commercial for Fruit Roll Ups - not sure if it is running in Canada. The child whines with PLEASEEEEEEEEEE and mom ends up buying them for the child.

  5. Wow, it's hard to imagine how they could have managed a worse selection of lunch choices!

    1. I do think a huge part of the problem lies in the fact that there is typically nobody employed at such centres to cook the food that is served. The whole set-up is geared towards minimal food prep.

      On top of that, these programs are frequently (in my experience) largely run by kids who are barely out of their teens themselves. Not only is this kind of food what they themselves eat regularly, but not being parents themselves, healthy food choices for kids is often not something they think about too much.

  6. Anonymous11:36 am

    "Shouldn't publicly run institutions be safe havens for our children?"

    See, this is the problem nowadays as I see it. No one wants to take responsibility for anything anymore. Not what their kids eat, not even what they themselves eat. Nothing. And...

    Is there some sort of quota on parental no's??? Seriously? Why didn't someone tell me this YEARS ago? My mother had an endless supply of them. You mean to say that she could really only use a certain number of them per day?? If I would have known that, I could have asked for stupid things first thing in the morning, and had all of my "no's" all used up by 9 am. Then I could have been home-free for the rest of the day!!

    I never knew. I wish someone had told me about the "no quota" when I was a kid...

  7. Anonymous4:16 pm

    Makes me very sad. I send a lunch with my child to daycare even though lunch is provided, for this very reason. It's alot of work, the other parents think I'm crazy and my kid doesnt always like it...and would prefer the other stuff but its worth it.

  8. Anonymous11:16 am

    Camp is not about what parents want. Camp is about what kids want . . . period.