Day Camp Rules
I recently read in an article by the excellent old colleague of mine Randy Richmond of the London Free Press of the city of London’s new day camp policy. So I was not surprised when a London YMCA day camp counsellor called to advise me I would need photo ID to pick my daughter up from camp next week. The policy has recently been changed as a direct result of the tragic abduction and murder of Tori Stafford from Woodstock. Stafford, 8, was taken from her school before Easter weekend. A massive search and media outpouring went on for months as parents held their children closer and Stafford’s devastated parents held on to hope she might be found alive. Two people from the Woodstock area were later charged with murder in relation to her disappearance, but her body has not been found. It was a horrible, sad and unthinkable crime. It is precisely these types of tragedies that motivate us to rethink policy and reevaluate how we can protect our children. It is the least we can do to prevent further sadness. Tori Stafford’s death should also provoke inquiry into how we issue amber alerts. The City of London’s new day camp policy is smart in the wake of Tori Stafford’s death. It is a common sense tool that frankly should be in place at every day camp, preschool, camp or playground. The Thames Valley School Board would have been wise to have issued some sort of policy change as well. While they are not to blame, it would have been prudent and good public relations.It is far too easy for children to slip away unnoticed in the craziness of pickup time at camp, or school, or even soccer practice. My own children are day campers and I’ve often wondered at the lack of consistent policy around pickup time. Just last week while my youngest, fastest child, attended day camp at a private school facility nearby she slipped away for a few moments. When I arrived at pickup time I found her walking on her own to the parking lot. Unsupervised. Unescorted. Children need help to stay safe. We all need to do our part, so I will happily show my ID all next week when I pick up my most precious things in the world. My children. Kudos to the city of London.