Chick-fil-A Summer Camp Sparks Conversations About Child Labor

Chick-fil-A is under fire by some consumers for a “summer camp” program that teaches children “how to be a Chick-fil-A worker” for $35 a session.

“The franchise location in Hammond, about 45 miles northwest of New Orleans, promoted its ‘very first’ Chick-fil-A summer camp on June 5, writing in a Facebook post that children between the ages of 5 and 12 would get a ‘behind-the-scenes look’ inside the fast-food restaurant,” according to USA Today. “They do throw in some perks, offering participants a kid's meal, T-shirt, name tag and snack for a one-time $35 payment for the three-hour ‘camo.’”

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What sparked some backlash was details of what the kids will specifically be doing in the program.

“The restaurant previously revealed that kids enrolled in the program will be ‘learning dining room host and customer service skills, learn how to take a guest order, learn how to bag a guest order, tour the kitchen and box your own nugget and make your own ice dream cone or cup,’” according to Fox Business.

Social media users seem split on their thoughts about the program.

“In the comments section of the posts, some  overjoyed parents and mostly apprehensive readers took to their keyboards to let their thoughts be known,” according to Today.com.  “‘Yay!! Child labor!!’ wrote one Facebook commenter, with another saying, ‘THIS IS CRAZYYYY LOL.’

‘This is super weird are these people trained in child care?’ asked someone else, with a commenter adding, ‘Teach em nice and early how to be corporate wage slaves.’”

Chick-fil-A says the program isn’t new, and that the idea stemmed from one of the chain’s locations in Houston six years ago.

“Some local restaurants create their own programs to engage with the communities they’re located in,” said Chick-fil-A in the statement. “Chick-fil-A restaurants are locally owned and operated by people who live and work in the communities their restaurants serve.”

The controversy comes at a time when child labor violations in the food industry are on the rise, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

According to a recent report from The Washington Post, the U.S. Department of Labor found that over 4,700 teenagers under the age of 18 were working in violation of federal child labor laws, which bans the employment of kids under the age of 14, and stops 14- and 15-year-olds from working later than 7 p.m. and more than three hours on school nights.

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