As camp directors, our goal is to ensure that your child has a safe, fun, exciting and memorable summer. As parents, you have entrusted your children into our care for a few weeks, assigning their safety to us. Thus, we have an obligation to protect them from any harm and we are responsible to ensure that no one physically, spiritually, or mentally harms your child.
Several weeks ago, we were asked to join Project E.M.E.S. (Educating Mosdos on Eradicating S. Abuse), a program endorsed by professionals and designed to ensure appropriate child abuse policies that are put in place in frum overnight camps.
Upon review of this project which began last year, it is evident that it was comprehensive and appropriate. Seeing that it can only assist us in our summer camp goals, we sent them a list of our potential staff members for review and to obtain the agreement for all of our future staff to sign.
Within 48 hours of providing our staff list, we were contacted by JCW and notified that a potential member of our staff was a confirmed child molester and that he had multiple victims.
We were shocked, to say the least. That potential staff member will obviously not be coming to our camp. As a result, we are enhancing our no-tolerance policy and requiring every staff member to sign the Project EMES agreement.
This letter’s purpose is to ask and beg parents to be extremely vigilant. Unfortunately, no community is immune to the issues of child abuse and therefore, it is our duty as the directors of Pioneers Camp to ensure the safety of all of our campers.
We urge every parent to review this project and make sure, if you have kids going to other summer camps or programs, that they have these policies in place. Do not just listen to the words of the director that they give a seminar discussing child abuse, because such seminars are often insufficient.
Demand that each camp have a written CSA no-tolerance policy in place. Demand that every staff member be required to sign such an agreement. Demand that staff-lists are forwarded to appropriate organizations for review and background checks.
As a parent you too have a duty to protect your children at all costs as do we. You too have to do your due diligence. Do not take no for an answer if another camp refuses to provide staff lists.
Thank you to Jewish Community Watch for your tireless effort on protecting our children and helping us make sure our camp is a safer place. I hope other camps will follow suit.
Binyamin Murray and Michoel Nagel
Directors of Pioneers Camp in Vermont