Campers "Complexion" No Problem for New Pool
The campers from Creative Steps have cause to celebrate since they will again be able to make a splash.
For kids in the summertime, there's nothing better than jumping full-speed into a pool to cool off. So when 65 kids from a Northeast Philadelphia camp were banned from taking a dip at a private swim club because of fears they would "change the complexion" and "atmosphere" of the club, they couldn't understand why.
After a group of kids were thrown out of a private swim club for fear they would change the "atmosphere" and "complexion," will be able to splash down...
Creative Steps Day Camp paid The Valley Swim Club more than $1900 for one day of swimming a week, but after the first day, the money was quickly refunded and the campers were told not to return.
At first there was no explanation, but some of the campers recalled overhearing comments about the color of their skin while at the club.
Then the swim club president John Duesler issued this statement: "There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion &hellip and the atmosphere of the club."
So the staff at Girard College, a private Philadelphia boarding school for children who live in low-income and single parent homes, stepped in and offered their pool.
"We had to help," said Girard College director of Admissions Tamara Leclair. "Every child deserves an incredible summer camp experience."
The school already serves 500 campers of its own, but felt they could squeeze in 65 more – especially since the pool is vacant on the day the Creative Steps had originally planned to swim at Valley Swim Club.
"I'm so excited," camp director Alethea Wright exclaimed. There are still a few logistical nuisances -- like insurance -- the organizations have to work out, but it seems the campers will not stay dry for long.
And to sweeten the deal, the owners of Gumdrops & Sprinkles treated the kids to a free day of candy and ice cream making.
The banning has caused so much controversy that U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) plans to launch an investigation into the discrimination claim.
"The allegations against the swim club as they are reported are extremely disturbing," Specter said in a statement. "I am reaching out to the parties involved to ascertain the facts. Racial discrimination has no place in America today."
Great! Now let's investigate the hell out of the Valley Swim Club, and publicly humliate them for their bullshit!
HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa. – A suburban Philadelphia swim club accused of kicking out a group of minority children visiting from the city denies any.
In a statement posted on its Web site Thursday afternoon, The Valley Club in says accusations of racism toward the Creative Steps day camp are untrue.
The statement says the club doesn't have the capacity to deal with outside groups and returned funds to more than one camp.
Creative Steps director Alethea Wright says the camp paid for weekly swim time. But she says during a trip there June 29 some of the children said they heard people asking what "black kids" were doing at the club.ETA UPDATE 2:
Another article (this one on MSNBC.com) had some minor additional details.
"Commission plans investigation
Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission said it will investigate the allegations that the club kicked out black and Hispanic children. Commission Chairman Stephen A. Glassman said the NAACP requested the investigation.
Some heard racial comments
Creative Steps, in northeast Philadelphia, had contracted for the 65 children at the day camp to go each Monday afternoon, Wright said. But shortly after they arrived June 29, she said, some black and Hispanic children reported hearing racial comments.
"A couple of the children ran down saying, 'Miss Wright, Miss Wright, they're up there saying, 'What are those black kids doing here?'"
Wright said she went to talk to a group of members at the top of the hill and heard one woman say she would see to it that the group, made of up of children in kindergarten through seventh grade, did not return.
"Some of the members began pulling their children out of the pool and were standing around with their arms folded," Wright said. "Only three members left their children in the pool with us."
Several days later, the club refunded the camp's payment without explanation, said Wright, who added that some parents are "weighing their options" on legal action.
The club's telephone message system was full and a message could not be left there by The Associated Press; Duesler did not return calls to his home.
Gee, I wonder who could possibly have been calling them??? (blinks innocently)
I guess some people might have posted their phone number ALL OVER THE INTERNETS! Ya think??