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For YouTube stars like Tyler Oakley, a summer at fan camp

This one time at fan camp.

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Published Sep 21, 2016   Updated May 25, 2021, 11:20 pm CDT

BY TODD LONGWELL

YouTube star Meghan Rienks admits to being antsy prior to embarking on her stint as a celebrity counselor at Camp AIM, held Aug. 22-26 at Beber Camp in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. She acted out by “overpacking and buying out Target’s supply of bug spray,” she says.

For YouTubers, direct fan contact—from online messaging to hugs at digital influencer meet-and-greets such as DigiTour—is par for the course. But putting digital influencers together with a single group of fans in a remote wilderness outpost for a week of activities and intimate interaction was uncharted territory.

There was a lot that could’ve gone wrong, from bad weather to bad behavior by spoiled Veruca Salt-esque campers. (The price tag for the event was $1,095 per camper, after all.) Fortunately, neither showed up at Camp AIM.

“Honestly, I was just most nervous that I was going to get stood up by all the campers,” says Rienks. “But as soon as I met them all, I was just excited for the week ahead.”

Rienks’s Camp AIM (Authentic, Inspiration and Motivation), for girls ages 10-16, was one of three digital influencer-led summer camps mounted by Mills Entertainment in August under the banner Camp17, along with Tyler Oakley and Bethany Mota’s #Bestcampever (Aug. 21-27) in Torrington, Connecticut; and Connor Franta’s Creator Camp (Aug. 22-26), also held at Beber Camp.

Activities included everything from baking, making friendship bracelets and traditional campfire singalongs to zip lining and a “silent disco” (where campers danced along to one of three music streams piped into their individual headphones).

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*First Published: Sep 21, 2016, 6:21 am CDT