KENT (AP) – A children’s weight loss camp, which closed this week amid a state investigation into camper safety, has had a history of regulatory violations, records show of State.
Camp Shane closed its Connecticut site at South Kent School on Tuesday after its operator said it could not provide enough staff at the facility. The group operated similar camps across the country.
The State Office for Early Years and the State Department for Children and Families on the same day issued a joint statement confirming that the state had launched an investigation “due to concerns about health, safety and well-being of children enrolled in summer youth camp. “
Camp Shane is one of 417 camps in the state approved by the Early Years Office.
State records show that inspections carried out in 2019, when the camp was located in Pomfret, revealed 62 violations, including failure to file plans for the operation of a youth camp, inadequate medical training of the staff and inappropriate drug distribution.
Owner David Ettenberg told Hearst Connecticut Media on Thursday that any breach was minor. Messages seeking Ettenberg’s comment on Friday were not immediately returned.
He told NBC Connecticut he closed the camp this week after he couldn’t find replacements for several staff who resigned due to COVID-19 protocols that required them to stay on campus .
Parents told the TV station that there were serious problems in the camp, including stolen medicine and poor monitoring of medical conditions.
“You choose a medically supervised camp for all of those reasons knowing that they are safe and supervised and yet they weren’t from day one,” said Pamela Artigas, of Vero Beach, Fla., Who had 14-year-old girl at the camp. “They weren’t.”
Ettenberg has confirmed that a child was injured at camp last weekend when a goal post on a sports field fell on him. But he said there were four staff members nearby and the staff shortage did not create a safety issue.
“They were missing activities, yes, but they were always, always, always safe and really not until the last happy days of the kids,” Ettenberg told the TV station.