Amid a Maelstrom, Swim Club Reaches Out to Creative Steps Camp
The Valley Swim Club and its president, John Duesler, after barring the Creative Steps Day Camp from the club, have reconsidered their actions. The campers are Latino and African American children in kindergarten through seventh grade.
On June 29, 2009, the Creative Steps Day Camp, having paid $1,950.00 to the Valley Swim Club for its membership, arrived with staff and the children of the camp. The camp director, Alethea Wright, accompanied the group.
Shortly after arrival, the children reported to Ms. Wright they'd heard racial comments at the pool. Some of the campers reported overhearing comments from the adults at the pool regarding fearing for the safety of their children and worrying about theft of their property.
Ms. Wright, when speaking to CNN, stated many of the parents pulled their children out of the pool when the campers got in the pool. The day camp left soon after the incident.
A few days after the camp used the Valley Swim Club pool, Creative Steps Day Camp's membership was suspended and the membership fee returned. At the time of suspension, no reason was given.
Later, a statement was issued by John Duesler, president of the club, stating the club's concern for the "complexion" and "atmosphere" changing at the club in response to questions regarding the suspension of the day camp's membership. Mr. Duesler has since apologized and stated his words were poorly chosen.
The incident at Valley Swim Club has sparked at least one parent of children attending Creative Steps Day Camp to file a lawsuit.
The incident is being investigated by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
According to local newsradio station KYW 1060, the cost to Creative Steps Day Camp at the time of reinstatement has not been determined.
Click here to read of Valley Swim Club's decision and offer to reinstate membership to the Creative Steps Day Camp.
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States