This was the summer of rich-children-at-summer-camp trend pieces. We learned not only how “high-net-worth individuals” fly north in private jets for their fresh-air infusion, requesting a single strawberry for their salad courses, but also that their parents dispense $9,000 to ensure coaching from crack tennis pros, filmmaking classes from Oscar winners and the latest in gourmet cooking techniques. The Transom, however, had not yet penned its story on the gilded age of diamond-studded bunk beds, molecular gastronomy s’mores, or arts and crafts classes taught by the likes of Marina Abramovic.
Feeling neglectful of our journalistic duty, we sought out the most expensive summer camp of all.
Boldly titled “The Global Fellows for Social Enterprise,” the program was the brainchild of Michael Loeb, the millionaire private equity investor. Launched with an Upper East Side party last February that was reported on by The Wall Street Journal (headline: “Richie Rich Could Have Used This Camp”), the program was to teach young scions how to be philanthropists, with internships at nonprofit organizations, classes at N.Y.U. and weekend forays to the Berkshires, the Hamptons and Cape Cod. All this for a small sum of $25,000 ($2,500 of which would, of course, be tax deductible.)
“I always thought the trepidation high-net-worth people have about their kids growing up right was a Champagne problem until I found out it was really real,” Mr. Loeb told The Journal back then. “I see the program as a service to these kids who are perplexed and have a lot of questions.”
At the end of June, when the program was to have begun, we started making phone calls for our contribution. Mr. Loeb did not call us back. Nor did Abby Raphel of the Redwoods Initiative, the “not-for-profit venture focused on family sustainability through wealth education” that was a partner in the project.
Global Fellows listed N.Y.U. as a partner in the venture; a professor involved there said he had not heard anything from the organizers since early spring. At Vision Spring, another not-for-profit listed as a camp partner offering “work-study” to heirs and heiresses, an employee who asked to remain anonymous explained that “we haven’t talked to them since April or March, so I’m not sure what the status of their program is.” Neither are we: the work study placements and the lectures might have been a no go, but it’s entirely possible the participants are in the Hamptons right now, doing something other than sunning themselves. Like recycling.