PHILADELPHIA – A private suburban swim club accused of racism after it canceled the memberships of dozens of minority children says it will seek a meeting with the kids' camps to work out an agreement for them to return.
Amy Goldman, a member of The Valley Club, said those able to attend a hastily called meeting Sunday afternoon voted unanimously in support of reinstating the memberships of the Creative Steps day camp and two other camps as long as safety issues, times and terms can be agreed upon.
The Creative Steps camp had arranged for 65 mostly black and Hispanic children to swim each Monday afternoon at the gated Huntingdon Valley club, which is on a leafy hillside in a village straddling two overwhelmingly white townships. But after the group arrived June 29, camp director Alethea Wright said, several children reported hearing racial comments and some swim club members pulled their children out of the pool.
The camp's $1,950 was refunded a few days later.
The president of the swim club's board of directors, John Duesler, has said the decision was made out of safety considerations, not racial concerns.
"We have near-unanimous approval from our membership, so at this point we'll be figuring out ... how to approach all the camps and see how we can move forward," Duesler told WPVI-TV at the club's entrance on Sunday.
( The swim club has claimed it has a diverse, multiethnic membership, but Goldman, a member for two years, said she couldn't remember seeing a black member this year.Collapse )
If I had kids, there is no way in hell I'd let them go back to that pool. NO WAY. This is purely face-saving.