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6 Summer Camps for Exceedingly Wealthy Children

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For many, summer camp means a week sleeping in a cabin that doubles as a sweat lodge, spider-infested communal showers, and swimming in a scummy pond. But if you have lots and lots of money, you have options.

1. ActionQuest

Typically about $5,170 for 5 weeks (plus airfare and other expenses), but the transatlantic voyage is $6,570 for 39 days (plus airfare and other expenses)

ActionQuest runs marine-focused summer camps in the world's most exclusive locations. Some of their trips include swimming with sea turtles in the Galapagos Islands, sailing through the South of France, whitewater rafting in Australia, or snorkeling in Bora Bora.

But the ultimate adventure is the transatlantic voyage on a 112-foot yacht manned by 24 high school kids. The ship leaves from Bermuda, stops for a few days each at the volcanic archipelago of The Azores, in Gibraltar, and Corsica, before finally coming to port in Rome. Of course you still have to pay for airfare to Bermuda and from Rome back to the states, plus spending money for souvenirs in all those exotic locales. But for those who can afford it, it's a small price to pay for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Or twice-in-a-lifetime if they want to do it again next summer.

2. Princess Prep

$3,995 (plus airfare) for 7 days

If your little princess wants to be a real princess, she can start her training with seven days at Princess Prep in London, where she'll learn to properly smile, stand, sit, walk, serve and drink tea, as well as the importance of proper thank-you notes. Of course, she'll also learn how to curtsy should she ever run into the Queen Mum. All meals are served by Jeeves, a real British butler, while the girls discuss the lives of famous princesses, like Kate Middleton, Princess Kaiulani of Hawaii, and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.

Campers stay in the Kensington & Chelsea borough, one of the poshest places to live in the UK, and tour many royal hotspots like the State Apartments, where they'll see Princess Diana's dress collection. They'll also go horseback riding in Hyde Park, tour the Tower of London, see the Crown Jewels and Buckingham Palace, and attend a night at the theater in London's West End. But being a princess isn't all tea parties at Kensington Palace. The girls will also make time to deliver cookies and flowers to a local children's hospital as part of their philanthropy instruction.

3. Camp Laurel

$10,800 + $2,400 in additional fees

Throw a rock in Maine and you'll hit an expensive summer camp. Just to name a few: Kingsley Pines ($6,995), the all-girls Tripp Lake Camp and its all-boys companion, Camp Takajo (both $10,850), Camp All-Star ($2,999 – $6,999), Camp Skylemar ($10,750), Camp Wawenock ($7,500), and Forest Acres for girls and Indian Acres for boys ($10,700). But the most expensive and most action-packed out there is Camp Laurel in Readfield, Maine.

If you're into sports, Camp Laurel boasts two baseball fields, two soccer fields, a lacrosse field, a hockey field, five basketball courts, a roller hockey arena, a beach volleyball court, a 3,000-square foot indoor gymnastics center, an 8,000-square foot indoor fieldhouse with an additional 10 basketball hoops, and 15 all-weather tennis courts.

If you'd rather spend time on beautiful Echo Lake, you can enjoy swimming, sailing, canoeing, windsurfing, tubing, and water skiing behind one of four competition-level ski boats, or cast a line off the two fishing barges.

For the adventurous type, there are high and low ropes courses, 15 mountain bikes at your disposal, and two 55-foot climbing towers connected by a zip line.

The artistically inclined have their own art studios for painting, ceramics, and metalsmithing. There's a 2,500-square foot dance studio, a full stage production starring campers, and wannabe DJ's can hone their record-spinning skills at the camp's own FM radio station.

The Equestrian Center features two 12-stall barns, two outdoor instructional rings, and a 3-acre riding pasture for the camp's 22 horses. Courses are available for advanced riders to perfect their techniques, while those who have never been on a horse can learn the basics.

The camp runs a little longer than most – from June 23 until August 11 – but by the time you add in additional fees for laundry, personal expenses, the equestrian package, and field trips, you're looking at about $265/day for summer camp. If that's too long away from home, Camp Laurel South, near Portland, Maine, offers 4-week sessions for $6,300 plus expenses.

4. Pali Adventures

$1,695 for a one-week session, $3,295 for two weeks, and $6,295 for four weeks

Pali Adventures in Running Springs, California is like a bunch of different camps rolled into one. Kids make their camp experience unique by choosing from any of 16 specialty activities to learn over the course of a one-week or two-week session. But this ain't macrame.

In Secret Agent Camp, kids learn combat techniques in paintball campaigns, ride dirt bikes and dune buggies, and train for covert raids on the other camps.

Hollywood Stunt Camp teaches kids how to safely jump off buildings, fake fight choreography, and swordplay techniques.

Rockstar Academy helps young musicians with songwriting skills and instruction on their instrument of choice, culminating in a CD or music video of their original song.

The Fashion Institute trains fashionistas to sew, to use patterns, sketching designs, and preparing a final collection to debut at the fashion showcase attended by everyone in the camp.

Among others, there are programs for young filmmakers, dancers, actors, chefs, watersports enthusiasts, and even those who wish to learn the flying trapeze.

5. Stagedoor Manor

$5,545 for a 3-week session

Not every aspiring star that goes to Stagedoor Manor, an exclusive theatre camp near the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, will make it in Hollywood or on Broadway. But with alumni like Natalie Portman, Lea Michele, John Cryer, Robert Downey, Jr., and many more well-known names, the camp's track record speaks for itself.

Over the course of three weeks (though most kids stick around for a second session for twice the price), young performers will take classes from professional instructors in acting, singing, dancing, television production, stage lighting, set decoration and more. Meanwhile, they're rehearsing for either a full musical or dramatic production to be performed during the last week of camp in one of eight indoor and outdoor theaters. In addition, workshops with agents, managers, and casting directors help them learn the do's and don'ts of show business, so they'll be ready for their close-ups someday.

6. International Riding Camp

$14,700 for 10 weeks (includes both riding trips); $8,500 for one week in Russia

Polo has often been called “The Sport of Kings.” At these prices, you'd have to be royalty to learn how to play at the all-girls International Riding Camp in Greenfield Park, New York. Not only does the camp offer polo, but young riders can also learn horse show competition skills, and more advanced riders can take on the cross-country jumping course complete with obstacles like ditches, stone walls, and log fences. The girls have riding lessons for three hours every day with various arts and crafts or sports like tennis and water skiing filling the rest of their time.

The highlight of camp, though, are the special riding trips. The first has the girls riding through Central Park in New York City, and then they spend the rest of the day being chauffeured in a limo to some of the biggest shopping and dining destinations in the Big Apple. The second trip takes campers to The Hamptons for three days of riding on the beach, water skiing, shopping, and relaxing in a luxury condo overlooking the bay.

If that's not enough, the organization also offers a one-week trip to Moscow. Riders learn from Russian trainers while staying at the 4-star Morozovka Hotel, a mansion that was once part of Joseph Stalin's estate, before making their way to St. Petersburgh to ride and stay at the Hotel Astoria. While in Russia, the girls will dine at the finest restaurants, tour historic sites, attend the ballet, and have plenty of time to soak in the local culture.

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The Sweet Surprise Reunion Mr. Rogers Never Saw Coming
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For more than 30 years, legendary children’s show host Fred Rogers used his PBS series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to educate his young viewers on concepts like empathy, sharing, and grief. As a result, he won just about every television award he was eligible for, some of them many times over.

Rogers was gracious in accepting each, but according to those who were close to the host, one honor in particular stood out. It was March 11, 1999, and Rogers was being inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame, an offshoot of the Emmy Awards. Just before being called to the stage, out came a surprise.

The man responsible for the elation on Rogers’s face was Jeff Erlanger, a 29-year-old from Madison, Wisconsin who became a quadriplegic at a young age after undergoing spinal surgery to remove a tumor. Rogers was surprised because Erlanger had appeared on his show nearly 20 years prior in 1980 to help kids understand how people with physical challenges adapt to life’s challenges. Here's his first encounter with the host:

Reunited on stage after two decades, Erlanger referred to the song, “It’s You I Like,” which the two sang during their initial meeting. “On behalf of millions of children and grown-ups,” Erlanger said, “it’s you I like.” The audience, including a visibly moved Candice Bergen, rose to their feet to give both men a standing ovation.

Following Erlanger’s death in 2007, Hedda Sharapan, an employee with Rogers’s production company, called their poignant scene “authentic” and “unscripted,” and that Rogers often pointed to it as his favorite moment from the series.

Near the end of the original segment in 1980, as Erlanger drives his wheelchair off-camera, Rogers waves goodbye and offers a departing message: “I hope you’ll come back to visit again.”

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20 Things You Might Not Have Known About Firefly
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© 2002 Twentieth Century Fox

As any diehard fan will be quick to tell you, Firefly's run was far, far too short. Despite its truncated run, the show still offers a wealth of fun facts and hidden Easter eggs. On the 15th anniversary of the series' premiere, we're looking back at the sci-fi series that kickstarted a Browncoat revolution.

1. A CIVIL WAR NOVEL INSPIRED THE FIREFLY UNIVERSE.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Killer Angels from author Michael Shaara was Joss Whedon’s inspiration for creating Firefly. It follows Union and Confederate soldiers during four days at the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Whedon modeled the series and world on the Reconstruction Era, but set in the future.

2. ORIGINALLY, THE SERENITY CREW INCLUDED JUST FIVE MEMBERS.

When Whedon first developed Firefly, he wanted Serenity to only have five crew members. However, throughout development and casting, Whedon increased the cast from five to nine.

3. REBECCA GAYHEART WAS ORIGINALLY CAST TO PLAY INARA.

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Before Morena Baccarin was cast as Inara Serra, Rebecca Gayheart landed the role—but she was fired after one day of shooting because she lacked chemistry with the rest of the cast. Baccarin was cast two days later and started shooting that day.

4. NEIL PATRICK HARRIS WAS ALMOST DR. SIMON TAM.

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Before it went to Sean Maher, Neil Patrick Harris auditioned for the role of Dr. Simon Tam.

5. JOSS WHEDON WROTE THE THEME SONG.

Whedon wrote the lyrics and music for Firefly’s opening theme song, “The Ballad of Serenity.”

6. STAR WARS SPACECRAFT APPEAR IN FIREFLY.

Star Wars was a big influence on Whedon. Captain Malcolm Reynolds somewhat resembles Han Solo, while Whedon used the Millennium Falcon as inspiration to create Serenity. In fact, you can spot a few spacecraft from George Lucas's magnum opus on the show.

When Inara’s shuttle docks with Serenity in the pilot episode, an Imperial Shuttle can be found flying in the background. In the episode “Shindig,” you can see a Starlight Intruder as the crew lands on the planet Persephone.

7. HAN SOLO FROZEN IN CARBONITE POPS UP THROUGHOUT FIREFLY.

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Nathan Fillion is a big Han Solo fan, so the Firefly prop department made a 12-inch replica of Han Solo encased in Carbonite for the Canadian-born actor. You can see the prop in the background in a number of scenes.

8. ALIEN'S WEYLAND-YUTANI CORPORATION MADE AN APPEARANCE.

In Firefly’s pilot episode, the opening scene features the legendary Battle of Serenity Valley between the Browncoats and The Union of Allied Planets. Captain Malcolm Reynolds takes control of a cannon with a Weyland-Yutani logo inside of its display. Weyland-Yutani is the large conglomerate corporation in the Alien film franchise. (Whedon wrote Alien: Resurrection in 1997.)

9. ZAC EFRON'S ACTING DEBUT WAS ON FIREFLY.

A 13-year-old Zac Efron made his acting debut in the episode “Safe” in 2002. He played Young Simon in a flashback.

10. CAPTAIN MALCOLM REYNOLDS'S HORSE IS A WESTERN TROPE.

At its core, Firefly is a sci-fi western—and Malcolm Reynolds rides the same horse on every planet (it's named Fred).

11. FOX AIRED FIREFLY'S EPISODES OUT OF ORDER.

Fox didn’t feel Firefly’s two-hour pilot episode was strong enough to air as its first episode. Instead, “The Train Job” was broadcast first because it featured more action and excitement. The network continued to cherry-pick episodes based on broad appeal rather than story consistency, and eventually aired the pilot as the show’s final episode.

12. THE ALLIANCE'S ORIGINS ARE AMERICAN AND CHINESE.

The full name of The Alliance is The Anglo-Sino Alliance. Whedon envisioned The Alliance as a merger of American and Chinese government and corporate superpowers. The Union of Allied Planets’ flag is a blending of the American and Chinese national flags.

13. THE SERENITY LOUNGE SERVED AS AN ACTUAL LOUNGE.

Between set-ups and shots, the cast would hang out in the lounge on the Serenity set rather than trailers or green rooms.

14. INARA SERRA'S NAME IS MESOPOTAMIAN.

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Inara Serra is named after the Mesopotamian Hittite goddess, the protector of all wild animals.

15. THE CHARACTERS SWORE (JUST NOT IN ENGLISH).

The Firefly universe is a mixture of American and Chinese culture, which made it easy for writers to get around censors by having characters swear in Chinese.

16. THE UNIFORMS ARE RECYCLED FROM STARSHIP TROOPERS.

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The uniforms for Alliance officers and soldiers were the costumes from the 1997 science fiction film Starship Troopers. The same costumes were repurposed again for the Starship Troopers sequel.

17. "SUMMER!" MEANS SOMEONE MESSED UP.

Every time a cast member flubbed one of his or her lines, they would yell Summer Glau’s name. This was a running gag among the cast after Glau forgot her lines in the episode “Objects In Space.”

18. THE SERENITY SPACESHIP WAS BUILT TO SCALE.

The interior of Serenity was built entirely to scale; rooms and sections were completely contiguous. The ship’s interior was split into two stages, one for the upper deck and one for the lower. Whedon showed off the Firefly set in one long take to open the Serenity movie.

19. "THE MESSAGE" SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE SHOW'S FAREWELL.

Although “The Message” was the twelfth episode, it was the last episode filmed during Firefly’s short run. Composer Greg Edmonson wrote a piece of music for a funeral scene in the episode, which served as a final farewell to the show. Sadly, it was one of three episodes (the other two were “Trash” and “Heart of Gold”) that didn’t air during Firefly’s original broadcast run on Fox.

20. FIREFLY AND SERENITY WERE SENT TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION.

American Astronaut Steven Ray Swanson is a big fan of Firefly, so when he was sent to the International Space Station for his first mission (STS-117) in 2007, he brought DVD copies of Firefly and its feature film Serenity aboard with him. The DVDs are now a permanent part of the space station’s library.

This post originally appeared in 2014.

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