At 'Hunger Games' camp, children want to fight ...
The organizers of a summer camp based on 'The Hunger Games' had to rethink the event after becoming increasingly concerned about the levels of violence that the children taking part in the 'fun activity' were talking about carrying out.
The hugely popular books and movie depict a teen girl's struggle in a post-apocalyptic future that pits teen against teen, fighting like gladiators in mortal battles.
The Country Day School in Largo, Florida, decided to host a Hunger Games-themed week-long summer camp and quickly filled all 26 slots.
But organizers admit they were surprised about the expectations of the children attending the event.
The Tampa Bay Times interviewed participants who spoke of relishing competing in a real-life Hunger Games tournament with a fight to the 'death.'
If I have to die, I want to die by an arrow,' one participant, Joey Royals, told the newspaper. 'Don't kill me with a sword. I'd rather be shot.'
Susan Toler, a clinical psychologist specializing in children's issues, described the idea of the camp as 'unthinkable.'
She argued that when children read the books or watch the movie they're observers and removed from the killing.
'But when they start thinking and owning and adopting and assuming the roles, it becomes closer to them,' she said. 'The violence becomes less egregious.'
Camp organizers initially believed they could cut out the violence by having the kids pull flag belts from each others waists rather than hurting each other.
But they admit that once the event was underway they grew concerned about the violence that the kids were expressing.
Half-way through the week-long event the organizers decided they needed to change and focus more on team-building activities.
Instead of 'killing' each other by taking flags, the campers would instead 'collect lives.' Whoever had the most flags would win.
When head counselor Lindsey Gillette told the campers about the rule change she explained it was so that no one would get out early and have to sit on the sidelines.
In the end the event proved a success and great fun for the kids who took part in four different events to test their intellect, accuracy, balance and teamwork.
The Hunger Games trilogy of books, written by Suzanne Collins, has sold more than 36 million copies in the U.S. alone.
The first movie, starring Jennifer Lawrence, has grossed nearly $700 million worldwide and the next movie 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' is out later this year.