Assemblywoman Amy R. Paulin joins County Executive Andy Spano today in urging that Governor David Paterson sign into law a bill that will enable the Westchester County Department of Health to protect the well-being of thousands of kids attending Westchester summer camps.
The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Paulin, will close a loophole that keeps local health departments throughout New York State from inspecting children’s summer camps where more than half of the activities are conducted indoors. The bill was also sponsored by Suzi Oppenheimer (D-Mamaroneck) and it passed the Assembly and Senate last Thursday.
“My legislation will protect our children by ensuring that summer camps that conduct their activities indoors such as circus camps and many sports camps are held to the same safety requirements as outdoor camps,” said Assemblywoman Paulin. “Currently our children are at risk and parents are unaware that the law is not protecting them. We hope the governor will sign this important legislation.”
If the governor signs this bill, next summer the county Health Department would have the authority to inspect all summer day camps – this will include at least two dozen that had not previously been covered under the law. The county Health Department currently inspects more than 260 camps each summer. The inspections check out everything from staff training and certifications to health and fire safety as well as waterfront activities.
Doug Volan, director of Mount Tom Day Camp in New Rochelle and the former president of the New York State Camp Director’s Association, said the group supports the bill.
“We have been advocating for this for years,” Volan said, “All children who attend camps in the state whether indoor or outdoor, need the same protections. It shouldn’t matter whether they swim or climb rocks indoors or out. I’m surprised this was not done years ago.”