Tweet on gender participant numbers for Alberta science camp spurs clarification from organizers

An Albertosaurus on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alta., Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

An Alberta woman started a lengthy Twitter debate Monday afternoon after posting her thoughts on the gender-based number caps one summer camp seemed to have implemented.

Patti Marcellus said she was searching the web for a camp to enroll her nine-year-old daughter in when she came across a junior science camp hosted by the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

Read more: Summer camp is back in Alberta but with some hesitation

“Her favourite subjects are science generally, nature and physics more specifically,” Marcellus said of her daughter.

“Royal Tyrrell’s popped up in a Facebook ad, I think maybe a Travel Alberta post, so I followed the link. It was the first I’d heard of it.”

That was when Marcellus noticed something she thought to be a glaring issue; the website noted that the camp had 24 available spaces for boys and only 12 for girls.

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Due to her frustration, Marcellus decided to take her concerns to Twitter.

“I posted the tweet out of irritation but didn’t expect anyone to read it,” Marcellus said of the tweet, which less than 24 hours later had received more than 2,000 likes, 100 comments and 400 retweets.

“The attention the tweet has gotten has been overwhelming.”

Marcellus said she had not intended to make the matter a bigger deal than necessary, noting that there could be a variety of reasons for the gender-based number caps to exist.

Following the confusion, the Royal Tyrrell Museum explained the numbers, which have now been removed from the website to avoid any further misunderstanding, noting that many of the spots in these camps are quickly snapped up by boys, and so a specific number of places are put on hold for girls to avoid having them miss out on the experience.

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“The Royal Tyrrell Museum strives to make sure all campers feel welcome and have fun at camp, regardless of their gender identity or expression,” Elaine Secord, the head of marketing and public relations with the Royal Tyrrell Museum, said in a statement to Global News on Tuesday.

“Even though the Badlands Science Camp is usually oversubscribed by boys, we’re ensuring girls also have the chance to participate.

“Registrations for the 2022 Badlands Science Camp opened on March 1. All spots for boys have been sold out since mid-March. There are 16 spots still available for girls for the five-week 2022 season, and we’re looking forward to those spots being filled.”

Read more: Lethbridge summer camps ‘going back to normal’ with minimal restrictions

The museum added that these camps also accommodate non-gender conforming individuals.

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