How Safe Are Kids at Camp?
An alleged incident of sexual battery involving two juveniles occurred at a University of Georgia athletic camp.
You drive your child to camp, help him or her get settled and give a quick kiss on the cheek before waving goodbye. You made sure that they packed everything that they may need to survive the days and nights as they venture off into the world without you.
Their reflection gets smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror as you drive away. It may sting a bit, but you know in your heart that attending camp will be good for their independence, so you drive away.
After all the time you invest in making sure that your child is safe, how do you know that you can trust the adults in charge? It seems that everyday there is another story about a sexual crime against a child.
It certainly appears that there are more dangers lurking for children these days than there were when I went away to church camp as a little girl. I try not to be an alarmist, but I can't help but pause when I read the news and learn that another child was sexually assaulted at camp.
By now we've all heard about the Penn State scandal and the allegations that the former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky, "horsed around" and sexually assaulted boys over a 15 year period.
He met all the victims through the Second Mile Charity. According to the website, it's is a State College, Pennsylvania statewide, nonprofit organization for children who need additional support and who would benefit from positive human contact. I'm sure that Sandusky's form of contact was not what the parents of the victims had in mind for their children.
It's not just adults that are preying on young ones either and it could be happening practically in your own backyard. The Athens Banner Herald reported last week that there was an alleged incident of sexual battery involving two children at a University of Georgia athletic camp.
According to a UGA police report, the juvenile victim “stated that while attending an overnight UGA athletic camp, another juvenile had made intentional physical contact with the intimate parts of the juvenile’s body without consent." The alleged incident occurred sometime between 10 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. Monday in Russell Hall, a UGA dormitory.
No adults were involved in the incident but I can't help but question the safety of young people staying the night together in a dorm. What kind of adult supervision is in place and how can young ones be protected in a situation like that?
It's a tricky time to be a parent and an even trickier time to be a child or teenager. I know we can't hold onto them forever, but it's hard to know all the safe places that we can let them go.
Do you allow your child to go to camp? Do you consider the risk of sexual assault in your decision making? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.