Chick-Fil-A and I have always had a strained relationship. While I can recognize that its chicken is good, (but Popeye’s is better!) and the peach milkshake is to die for, it feels weird entering any location as my often outwardly queer self. I admittedly often have a bias against the chain. But the Chick-Fil-A summer camp that one Louisiana location just announced might be a bit much, even if you’re a diehard fan.

Aimed at ages 5 to 12, parents can choose one of six 3-hour-long sessions for their child to attend. During that session, your child will meet important Chick-Fil-A leaders, as well as the Chick-Fil-A cow himself! They’ll get to enjoy a VIP lunch, and… learn how to work at the Chick-Fil-A? That’s right, the majority of the three hours will be spent putting these kids to work in an actual fast food restaurant. It’s unclear as to whether or not they will be serving any customers, as most Chick-Fil-A’s would be open during the hours of the camp and no clarification has been made, but the children will perform tasks any minimum wage worker would be expected to do during their shift. Thankfully, not actively cooking food, kids will instead bag orders, box nuggets, and make ice cream. All for the low, low price of $35!

…Why is this happening?

This isn’t the first Chick-Fil-A summer camp a location has hosted. It seems like a New Orleans location made a similar one, although much more shamelessly, actively marketing it with “Has your child ever wanted to be a Chick-fil-A worker?” The chain, unfortunately, has a history of sketchy labor practices, paying volunteers in food to work in the store and letting minors operate heavy machinery.

Is it really that bad?

With this context, I personally think so! There certainly has been backlash, but some parents think this is a good learning opportunity that teaches a strong work ethic. Others compare it to children playing pretend, saying it's something they would be doing anyway! But in this case, they’re out of your hair and in a Chick-Fil-A kitchen. The price is explained away by the free meal and special merch each child receives upon attendance.

I’m ultimately conflicted. The demand for this is undeniably high — they had to double the number of sessions! I’m sure the kids are treated well overall and aren’t overworked in the way most fast food workers are. It is a positive for children to get hands-on work experience, but as young as the target group is, I can’t help but wish they wouldn’t be put in a kitchen with vats of boiling oil. The camp itself seems to be pretty tame, though, and it's certainly one way your child could spend their summer!