Newsreaders (2013) s01e05 Episode Script

Gay Camp

LaFonda: Tonight on "Newsreaders," get that remote control out of your mouth.
And should we be concerned about the giant net China is building above North America? All that and more tonight on "Newsreaders.
" There is a crisis in our schools.
Until recently, this problem did not have a name, and nobody wanted to talk about it.
Now it does have a name, and we do want to talk about it.
It's called gay bullying, and our own Narge Hemingway recently visited a summer camp that is doing something about it.
Sleep-away camp.
For many kids, it means a summer of friendship, outdoor fun, and urine-soaked sleeping bags, but this camp is different.
It's really, really gay.
This innovative camp was founded by Matt Granger, who wanted to give gay kids a special place to go.
As a gay teen, I was bullied a lot in school, and summer camp was my only escape, and I wanted to share that feeling with today's gay youth.
The original idea was to open a series of schools for gay teens, where they could feel free to dress how they want - and talk how they want.
- Flamboyantly? Right, even create their own concentrations.
What's concentrations? It's like a college major but for high school.
All geared towards being themselves? Right, but then I realized school was what I was spending my whole gay childhood trying to escape.
And then it hit me camp.
And Matt's concentrations camp was born.
Located just outside of Poland, Maine, Granger's camp provides a summertime experience unlike any other.
Camp was really the only place that I felt could be all mine, you know? And that's why I wanted to call it Mine Camp.
I wanted to share that feeling with everyone.
And for campers like Bobby Swinton, the unique summer experience begins before they even leave home.
The first night was so awesome.
Hey, camper, time to start the best summer of your life.
You're going to camp! The counselors come to your house in the middle of the night to bring you to camp so bullies can't follow you.
Were you scared? A little bit, but the dog buddies made me feel safe.
I felt chosen or something.
[Dogs barking] Bye, dad.
It was like Hogwarts.
They even have a magical train.
You take one down That train ride was the first time in my life where I was surrounded by people who are just like me.
Matt is a genius.
Mine Camp is communal in nature.
So, on a camper's first day, they perform a ceremony called the liberation.
Counselors free the campers from anything with value, like jewelry, cellphones, and expensive clothing.
It's not about who has the most bling.
Brittney Chassion has been a Mine Camper for the past three summers.
Everyone wears the same uniform so we don't get all hung up on logos and labels.
Who cares? It's about what's inside that counts.
Plus, uniforms are, like, totally comfortable, like jammies.
Granger's camp is a place for kids to forget their struggles.
As for his own struggles, Granger says he will never forget.
I didn't realize how much I had really suffered until my parents showed me this.
It's my junior-high-school diary.
Um, this is mad libs.
Yeah, they are mad and sad and confused, depressed, you name it.
"There once was a young prince whose name was 'everybody in school abuses me.
' he loved to 'taunt me and punch me in the [Bleep] and put a fetal pig in my gym locker' all day.
One day, a 'filled-with-hatred-and-spite, abusive jock' came to visit the castle.
This 'none of the teachers or administrators do anything about it' brought an 'no one will help me, no one' of different types of 'sometimes I just want to die' with him to share.
" Wow, powerful stuff.
Still really feel that, don't you? [Sighs] I haven't heard that in a long time.
You okay? Just give me a sec.
I'm so sorry.
It's all right.
This is great for camera.
[Clears throat] Away from the bullies, kids at Granger's camp fill their days with fun gay activities, like theater and dance.
Extend the legs like this, okay? Here we go.
Five, six, seven, and eight.
Who's having fun? There seems to be no end to the ways in which Granger has found to make these kids feel special.
These gold stars are for winners.
Everyone's a winner today.
You all get gold stars.
Now go hit the showers.
I have to call you on something, Matt.
This whole thing you know, going door to door to people's homes, shipping kids in trains, the drab uniforms you know what it sounds like? No.
What? [Chuckles] U.
[Laughs] A lot of people have said that.
I mean, maybe we should start stamping tracking numbers on the kids.
But, listen, if you're saying that we get our packages safely to their destinations, then I guess I'm guilty as charged.
Of course, Mine Camp isn't all about fun and games.
It's also about hard work.
You know, every year, we try and leave the camp better than we found it.
We're putting in a new water main.
All right, kids, take five.
You know, the digging it builds a sense of community.
And, uh, what's happening now? Oh, they're resting.
Just taking a break.
But even in gay paradise, there's trouble.
Granger's camp has some very vocal detractors.
This place ought to be shut down.
What is it, exactly, that offends you? Have you seen what's going on on the other side of that fence? Oh, yeah.
Yeah, we did a whole montage about it.
Some really, really great dissolves.
Have we not learned anything from history? I don't understand.
I guess my kid's not gay enough to go there.
It's reverse discrimination.
What did he ever do? He never bullied anyone, and now I got to send him to some Jew camp.
But the criticisms of the outside world mean nothing to these gay teens.
For them, it's about memories and friendships that will last a lifetime and the man who made it all possible.
Matt Granger has had such an impact on their lives, some campers even shaved their heads in tribute.
[Laughs] I know.
The head-shaving thing.
The long story short is they like me, and I'm a bald person.
Some of them, I think, see you as a father figure.
I know.
You know, that's another thing.
There's a whole group of them that call the camp fatherland.
- Wow, what a beautiful tribute.
- Yeah.
You really would make a great father.
[Chuckles] I'm gay.
Oh, yeah.
I totally forgot about all the gay crap.
Oh, my God.
- Narge! - No, no, no, no.
[Both laughing] But like all great things, the summer, too, must come to an end.
Parents return to pick up their kids.
Bobby's have brought a surprise.
Grandma! Bobby, oh! What is this, Bobby? What are you wearing? It's a gold star, just for being myself.
Ah! And look, my tracking number.
[Gasps] Bobby Oh, mom, mom, I'm so sorry.
We totally forgot.
What? What is it? The gold star, the tracking number, the brown shirts, the shorts your Nana used to work at U.
I had a boss.
He made me work all through Christmas, that bastard.
Oh, Nana, I'm so sorry.
Thank you, sweetie.
Good boy.
It's like a furnace out here.
Let's go cool off.
All right.
What you're doing here is inspirational, no doubt, but there's something else going on, and it doesn't seem like anybody wants to talk about it.
The train boxcars, the numbers, the head shaving, ditch digging, yellow stars, calling this place Mine Camp it it begs a major question, and I I have to ask it.
Yes? How do you possibly have the time for a personal life? [Laughs] I mean It's not easy, Narge.
[Both laugh] You are quite a man.
[Sighs] Some people change.
[Chuckles] - Not me.
- No.
As the summer draws to a close, it's not just the campers who grow wistful.
It always breaks my heart toknow that these kids are gonna go back to facing the same bullies from last year.
All I could do is just keep doing what I'm doing for these young kids.
You know, at least until there's some sort of final solution.
LaFonda: Tonight, Skip Reming has a very important question.
Does this look infected to you? All the people who work here the producers, the cameraman, the script girl the chesty one all the monkeys who hang these lights for a living they're all begging me to go see a doctor.
Well, what they don't know is Skip Reming doesn't go to the doctor.
There are only two people who know this body me and the fella who dug a punji stick out of the small of my back five clicks north of the dulong bridge.
I promise I'd never forget that guy.
I keep a picture of him right here in my wallet.
He is me.
Talk to any doctor, and he or she well, let's face it, probably he will tell you that infections untreated by antibiotics will spread throughout your body.
Well, you can save your cheater pills for the next coed or piano salesman who comes in complaining of a yeast infection.
The only prescription I need comes in a bottle marked "willpower" that I keep in an even bigger bottle labeled "Skip Reming.
" Thanks, doc, but I'll fight my own battles Even the tiny ones.
LaFonda: Coming up next week, we're living in a post-racial society, but are we post-discrimination? So, you're a librarian first.
You just happen to be sexy.
And I've always wanted to be a librarian.
I'm just I'm so sick of being objectified.
All day long, it's "the do-me "that's a decimal system "or reader's guide to periodical literature I'd like to thumb through "or "what's the due date? Or how about you do you date?" "Why don't we dim the lights and turn this public library into a pubic library?" LaFonda: [Groans] I know.
Or "you seem really good at activating library cards.
" LaFonda: Right, in this case, "library card"meaning Is the penises.
LaFonda: Right, right.
"How many hours are you open?" Oh! So, we're open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 10:00 to 6:00, Tuesdays Oh.
You were talking about me, not the library.
LaFonda: Yeah, I was talking about your legs.
Got it.
LaFonda: All that and more next week on "Newsreaders.