NY Camp Directors Assoc. head wants change to background check law

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YONKERS -

The head of the New York State Camp Directors Association is demanding changes before next summer to an outdated state law that allows for many staffers to go without background checks.

The statement comes after a recent Turn to Tara investigation revealed a legal loophole that allows thousands of single-purpose camps across the state to hire counselors without doing even the most basic background checks, including running names against a sex offender registry.

New York state law currently exempts camps focused on just one activity, like basketball or arts, from the stricter standards to which traditional camps must adhere.

"No one is checking on them, so if no one is going to check up on you, whatever you might think might be happening," says Mark Hemmerdinger, director of the New York State Camp Directors Association.

Sen. David Carlucci is also fighting for a bill that would require all camps to be held to the same standards. Hemmerdinger thinks it’s long overdue and says all camps should be inspected and watched.

Hemmerdinger says parents should be vigilant and ask questions about the camp's hiring process and staffing ratios, as well as if they do background checks on all hires and if they are inspected.

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