Here at Inhabitots we advocate summer activities and summer camps for kids, but we’re perplexed by the McDonald’s Kiddie Crew Workshop, a camp held by McDonald’s Philippines. McDonald’s Kiddie Crew Workshop is a 5-day summer program designed for kids ages 6-12 years. During the program, Kiddie Crew members experience on-floor restaurant activities like greeting customers and assisting the crew at the drive-thru and front counters, plus, according to McDonald’s Philippines, get to “showcase their skills through creative art workshops, and learn the importance of hard work, discipline and teamwork, through values formation lessons.” You might think a program like this, based around fast food, would be frowned upon, but the camp has been around since the early 90s and is hugely popular. In fact, during 2012 about 30,000 kids took part in the summer workshop participating in activities like burger-making, the Ronald dance, apron-making, singing of the Kiddie Crew song and a talent workshop. In recent years, the workshop has added additional activities such as Kiddie Crew Dance-exercise. At the end of the summer McDonald’s Philippines holds a series of workshop graduations in major cities all over the country—Manila, Cebu, Bacolod and Davao – to recognize the achievements of all Kiddie Crew members and their families by treating them to a day filled with activities and prizes. Read on for why we’re so baffled by the concept of a camp affiliated with McDonald’s.

Granted, for working parents, the low registration fee of 550 Philippine Peso (that’s about $13 USD) for the week-long workshop, shirt, cap, bag, ID lace, apron and meals for the kids probably sounds fairly appealing, and certainly almost any camp is better than kids sitting around watching TV all summer. Still, one has to wonder, why opt for a McDonald’s camp when surely there must be other options. With obesity rates increasing and outside time decreasing, a camp drenched in indoor fast food culture seems highly inappropriate for youth in any country. First of all, Filipinos are nowhere near as as overweight as Americans, but they’re getting there. Research shows that in the Philippines, 1% of young children (0-10 years) and 3% of adolescents (11-17 years) are overweight and the National Statistics Coordination Board says that 26.6% of adult Filipinos are overweight, a figure that has skyrocketed from just 16% in 1993. Plus, like American kids, Filipino children are spending far too much time indoors and far too little time being active or exercising. This in mind, is it really a good idea to indoctrinate kids into a fast food culture from such a young age? Especially when commercialism affects kids so significantly, with recent studies showing that food advertising in particular affects kids brains in an extremely negative way.

What do you think of a McDonald’s summer camp program? Good idea or a total train wreck? Let us know in the comments!

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Lead Image via McDonald’s