The Buddy System is So Last Century! Now at Camp It’s the “Rule of Three”

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From Camp Insurance-in-the-Woods comes this tale:
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Dear Free-Range Kids: I’m not sure if you’ve written anything recently on sleepaway summer camp becoming less and less Free-Range, but I wanted to share the experiences of my 12-year-old daughter, who just returned from a one-week camp run in a partnership with the YMCA.
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There were certainly aspects that taught independence and managing without parents, but there was a bit too much hand-holding for kids not used to helicopter parenting.  At the performance for families on the last day, where I was given a wristband with my child’s name so that she wouldn’t accidentally go home with the wrong family, my daughter raised her hand high when asked if she tried something new and when asked if she made new friends.  But she very intentionally did not raise her hand when asked if she became more independent.
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I could have predicted her one main complaint about camp from the moment we dropped her off at her cabin.  The first sign was when I overheard a counselor reassuring a mom that a counselor would be with the children at all times. Two counselors were assigned to the eight girls, who were all 12 or 13 years old.   As we were leaving, I heard my daughter asked a counselor where the bathrooms were, so she could fill up her water bottle.   The other counselor ran to fill it for her.
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My daughter later said that she assumed they were just being nice, but soon after the campers were taught the “Rule of Three.”  No one was to go anywhere without one counselor and at least one other cabinmate, including the bathroom, the cafeteria, and the activities they went to every day.  They could not even be in the cabin or just outside it without following the Rule of Three.  At night, they were to wake up a counselor and a friend if they needed to use the bathroom.  My daughter said that, had she needed to, she would have grabbed her flashlight and gone on her own.  She said, “I was not waking up two people to take me to the ‘potty’ like a toddler.”
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She told me today that her biggest complaint was that she couldn’t even stop in the bathroom on the way to the dining hall without needing a counselor and another camper to stop with her.
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Although she wants to return next year because the positives still outweighed the negatives, she is looking forward to our upcoming family camping trip, where she will be expected to take all the water bottles to find the pump and fill them on her own.  And she has decided that she will never be a camp counselor, because she would refuse to enforce the Rule of Three. — Mom of a Girl Who Can Pee by Herself

While most kids are not going to sleepaway camp, this cumbersome and downright ridiculous rule is a great example of where we’re heading as we come to believe that kids should never be on their own, for safety or insurance reasons. Maybe next year the campers will have to take five people with them. Or eight! Or a fireman, a social worker and a forensic photographer. Who knows? Can’t be too safe! – L

C'mon girls! I've got to pee!

C’mon girls! I’ve got to pee!

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74 Responses to The Buddy System is So Last Century! Now at Camp It’s the “Rule of Three”

  1. Art June 30, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    Jesus, what is this? Camp Crystal Lake? Are they afraid Jason is to get them?

  2. Jessica June 30, 2016 at 11:22 am #

    I’m sure the other kids (even those who have been helicoptered) probably found the rule obnoxious too– no one walks them to the bathroom in their middle schools! I would encourage the mom to speak with other parents, and then write a letter to the camp director suggesting they loosen this restriction.

    The camp director probably believes that this is what parents want– because the most vocal parents are typically the most anxious ones. If he/she realized that most of you are rolling your eyes– and that your daughter is considering attending a less restrictive camp next year– he/she will probably be open to a discussion about what rules are age-appropriate.

  3. Jesse June 30, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    Oooooof, what a tragedy. When I was a camp counselor, we were taught two things: kids always needed a buddy, and kids had to CHOOSE their buddy. Sadly, there was more than one situation nationwide where abusers/bullies volunteered to be the buddy of the child they were abusing/bullying.

    I’m sure this is the next step.

  4. James June 30, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

    fortunately, not all YMCA camps are this nutty. Frost Valley YMCA (upstate New York) where my son has been going since he was 11 and is now a senior counselor, is far more relaxed and independence-minded.

  5. BL June 30, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

    I went to week-long church camp for two summers at the ages of 11 and 12.

    Nothing was this stupid. No wristbands. I know I went to the bathroom myself, and the bathroom/shower was at least a 25-yard walk from the cabin and obscured by trees.

    Go home with the wrong family? Yeah, right. Like I’m going to forget in a week what they look like. (rolls eyes)

  6. Warren June 30, 2016 at 12:16 pm #

    So now we are teaching future generations that they don’t even have the right to take a leak or dump in privacy. While also teaching them it doesn’t matter how uncomfortable it is they have to stand vigil outside the stall while their charge is sitting on the toilet.
    Great rule after a night of campfire beans, hot dogs and marshmallows.

  7. BL June 30, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

    @Warren
    “Great rule after a night of campfire beans, hot dogs and marshmallows.”

    Warren, I just had lunch and you’re making me hungry again. Cut it out!

  8. Christopher Byrne June 30, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

    I wholeheartedly support this! Just think of the life preparation it entails. In 70 years when these kids are ready for assisted living, they’ll be all set. None of that icky embarrassment my 90-year old father had to endure when he could no longer do anything for himself and had to be helped at virtually every turn, from getting to his meals to needing two people to help in into the bathroom. These kids will never experience the independence, so they’ll never miss it. Genius.
    #sacrasm (And shocking that I even have to add that. But it is 2016. Sigh.)

  9. John B. June 30, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    I’m sure the counselors themselves found “Rule of Three” rather ridiculous too. It had to have placed an undo burden on them and took away some much needed time they could have spent preparing for activities that would really help the kids’ development.

    Perhaps the Camp Director is the culprit here or even higher up from her. Too damn many aggressive Lawyers in this country and not enough reasonable Judges to throw-out the frivolous lawsuits they bring forth. Heaven forbid that one of the girls would fall down and skin her knee on the way to the bathroom unattended. Of course that would be the adult’s fault for not supervising her walk.

  10. railmeat June 30, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    ” . . . a fireman, a social worker and a forensic photographer. Who knows? Can’t be too safe!”

    Ha! Serious Lol!

    You’re killing me Lenore!

  11. Sarah Wolf June 30, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    12 and 13 OMG.

  12. Helen Quine June 30, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

    So 13 year olds can have no privacy at any point during the camp? That almost sounds abusive itself.

  13. Lihtox June 30, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

    My 8-year-old daughter went to a sleepaway camp this past weekend, and complained about a couple of things like this, though not as bad as the Rule of Three. They weren’t allowed to toast marshmallows, for one; I guess someone did it for them? Also, at one point they weren’t allowed to take a poster down from a wall because they might get “paper cuts”?!? Crazy stuff.

  14. Jetsanna June 30, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

    I would “suddenly” develop virulent diarrhea and head to the bathroom every ten minutes all night. Let’s see the counselors put up with that.

  15. Obi-Wandreas June 30, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    We took our 8th grade class to a YMCA camp for an overnight trip. The rule of 3 was explained to us and the rest of the staff more as a “Don’t ever be alone with a camper” to avoid liability and the possibility of being accused of something.

  16. pentamom June 30, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    I would put serious thought into finding an equally good camp that does not enforce this rule. I don’t think her willingness to take the good with the bad is an entirely bad thing, but given the option, if I were the parent, I wouldn’t want to support this camp’s practices with my patronage in future.

  17. Onemusingmama June 30, 2016 at 2:05 pm #

    There are probably kid: c ounselor ratios that must be adhered to, so when one counselor is of taking two girl to the bathroom, are the rest of the campers being improperly supervised? last year my daughter went to a weeklong Girl Scout camp and while GS usually has overly paranoid rules, the Buddy system was sufficient there.

  18. Curt June 30, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

    In Scouts, adult leaders are NOT ALLOWED to be alone with a Scout or even two. It’s called “two-deep” leadership. We would get into an awful lot of trouble if we attempted what they do at this camp. I’m not surprised that the parents aren’t howling about the possibility (however remote) of abuse at the hands of the counselors when they’re off to the bathroom. We always send the kids off with a peer buddy. At camp, they’re off on their own (again with a buddy) for the better part of the day. The only times I usually see the boys is at meals and if they’re between merit badge sessions. Filling water bottles for the boys? HAH!

  19. Papilio June 30, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

    @Jetsanna: “I would “suddenly” develop virulent diarrhea and head to the bathroom every ten minutes all night. Let’s see the counselors put up with that.”

    And ask a counselor to cut my food, and demand to be spoonfed, and not let them leave at night until I’ve had a bedtime story, and…

    @Lenore: “Maybe next year the campers will have to take five people with them. Or eight!”
    Ssssssh, don’t give them ideas! Next thing you know the whole group has to go only at certain times, and the rest of the day the bathroom is not on the schedule…
    “Or a fireman, a social worker and a forensic photographer.”
    What, no swimming guard or doctor? You reckless monster.

  20. Lori June 30, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

    When I first saw the title, I thought “OK, my own kids were taught to be in a group of three when they went somewhere when they were little” – but that was probably when they were 5, 7, & 9 and was our rule because my kids were adventurous. If one of them got hurt at the park, it allowed one kid to go for help while the other one stayed with the injured party. Requiring a buddy plus a counselor for 12-13 year olds is insane!

    When I went to camp in the 80s, we didn’t even have a buddy system – I could go to any activity by myself, including a 3am trip to the bathroom.

  21. James Pollock June 30, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

    When I went to YMCA camp in the late 70s,, the rule was that you couldn’t take a sailboat out onto the ocean unless there were at least two people on board it. (You could take a rowboat out by yourself… if you could find someone to help you carry it to the beach.)) This camp had a rifle range, and there was minimum age to use it… something like 8.

    On the other hand, when I was in AF tech school in the mid 80’s, it was located in Denver, and some people get nosebleeds easily because of the altitude. If a person got a nosebleed in class, they had to walk across the base to the medical clinic, so they could get cotton swaps shoved up their nose until the bleeding stopped. But… the poor bleeding people couldn’t walk across the base alone… what if they fell over into a ditch, and died of blood loss? So instead of one guy missing class to sit in the clinic with cotton shoved up his nose, you had TWO guys missing class. It’s not like the class was important… just how to attach explody things to the AF’s planes for delivery… it’s not like forgetting to do some step in the checklist could cause problems or anything…

  22. Lele June 30, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

    I went to a summer camp for kids who had type 1 diabetes when I was 8. There were no rules like this…and we all survived. Crazy.

  23. Lele June 30, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    That was in 1989 though.

  24. Lele June 30, 2016 at 3:44 pm #

    Oops, I should mention by commenting “that was in 1989 though” , was not meaning times were safer then or anything. Just a time frame reference to the good days when kids were still free.

  25. pentamom June 30, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

    Curt, I’m guessing these counselors aren’t adults but 16-17 year olds. So, magically, because they aren’t adults, that makes being alone with the kids okay.

  26. Xena June 30, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

    A fireman, a social worker and a forensic photographer walk into a bar…

  27. Jana June 30, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

    Scary. But maybe the camp is just scared, too… Who knows if a parent would sue them IF anything (I cannot imagine what) would happen. I would send my kid to a different camp next year. (Sorry for so many woulds :-))

  28. NY Mom June 30, 2016 at 5:54 pm #

    One kid who needs to pee.
    Two counselors. Three other kids.
    Four armed guards.

    Five statistical reports proclaiming The United States of America is safer than at any previous time in our history.

    Six Y Board Members who do not understand statistics.
    Seven Insurance Companies proclaiming the cost of damages if even one girl falls and scrapes her precious knee and there is not a bevy of hovering helicopters swooping in with antiseptics and painkillers.

    Poor girls

  29. Warren June 30, 2016 at 6:35 pm #

    James
    But that is the air force. Marines would just sniff a little and keep on training.

  30. Missus H June 30, 2016 at 7:12 pm #

    Wow. And this is the kids whose adventurous parents allow them to go to camp. How sad. I dropped my eight-year-old girl at sleepaway camp yesterday. I didn’t get a nutty vibe from anyone there — hope they don’t have such a rule. If so I want my money back!

  31. Donald June 30, 2016 at 7:32 pm #

    Remember how parenting magazines would make suggestions such as. ‘Avoid using flower smelling shampoo on your children as it increases their chance of getting stung by a bee’. They did this because they have to fill pages. This is the same with Safety Advice Dispensers (SAD). They have to keep dispensing advice.

    The rule of three will eventually become the rule for four. This will continue until the world figures out that we have become a nation of solution finders. We provide solutions without problems.

  32. diane June 30, 2016 at 7:43 pm #

    I never went to camp as a kid, but was a camp counselor in 1994. I don’t remember anything remotely this crazy, only that we (the counselors) were not allowed into the shower area while the kids were there, and two counselors waited outside the bathhouse in case a child needed actual assistance. They never did.

    I hope we fostered a little more independence, although the kids were pretty independent. I remember teaching an 8 yr old how to make her bed when she confessed she had never done it. “Don’t you do this at home?” I asked. She replied, “No, the maid does it!”

    Well, this was a pretty posh camp in the W. VA mountains, but alas, there was no maid. 🙂

  33. Jen June 30, 2016 at 8:32 pm #

    Just took my daughter to a week of camp run by the local college’s men’s basketball team (I know, right!) about an hour from our home. She had a blast. I signed her and a coworkers daughter in on the first day (this was the only time they had sign in or sign out) and told the coach that when camp was over they were going to walk up to campus. He seemed surprised and asked if they could do that (???). I said, “I sure hope so, they are 10 years old.” Yes, they had to walk out of the gym to the road…walk up a major state road, over a bridge across the river and then navigate the crosswalk at the traffic circle to get to Main Street where they would poke around in shops and eat too much ice-cream and pastries until I picked them up an hour or so later at a pre-designated spot. By the last day, they were running shy on cash. I was a little late but found them kicking back in the local park drinking fancy iced teas waiting for me–exactly where they said they’d be. Sadly, I’m pretty sure they were the only kids to leave camp on their own. I was a little anxious because so many people thought it was strange that I let them do this but they were fine of course.

    Interestingly, they were allowed to go swimming if they chose ,directly after lunch (gasp!) and I don’t believe anyone was accompanying them to the bathroom or locker rooms.–though truthfully, I didn’t think to ask.

  34. Jessie June 30, 2016 at 9:39 pm #

    @diane
    My kids dont know how to make their beds, but they can hunt, fish, skin and cook their catch on the fire they started and feed their family and friends with it. There are many ways to contribute in a family.

  35. Danielle Meitiv June 30, 2016 at 9:46 pm #

    We pulled out two kids out of an Ametican camp because of this kind of helicoptering. They’re going to an overnight camp outside of Montreal.

  36. Beth June 30, 2016 at 9:52 pm #

    ““Don’t ever be alone with a camper” to avoid liability and the possibility of being accused of something.”

    Are there really that many 8th graders that come to camp with the intention of falsely accusing a counselor of abuse?

  37. pentamom June 30, 2016 at 10:01 pm #

    “Are there really that many 8th graders that come to camp with the intention of falsely accusing a counselor of abuse?”

    Not many, but it is a way that troubled kids do act out, and you certainly don’t want to be on the receiving end of that.

  38. Sam July 1, 2016 at 12:14 am #

    Yes! Glad to see that someone else thinks this is insane. My son went to the NYC YMCA sleepaway camp last year where I found out the “rule of three” on the pre-camp tour. I couldn’t believe that you had to wake up two people in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, – no considerate or shy kid would ever bring himself to do such a thing. However, no-one else batted an eye, as if this was perfectly normal. My son’s about 7, so I asked if even teenagers had to follow this rule, and a mom of a 12 year old girl looked shocked and said “surely you’d never leave a teenager alone!”. Hmm.

    The Y in NYC is doing amazing community service with extremely affordable child care and especially after-school and summer programs. There’s just nothing else like it, – no-nonsense programs that welcome people of all income levels. Unfortunately, the liability rules are too much. Perhaps this is inevitable these days, once an organization grows beyond a critical size? Anyway, after this summer, we will have to find another camp.

    By the way, as someone else here said, the Y’s reason for the “rule of three” is that the camper must always have a counselor with them for safety (18+ years old, no less!), and another camper to make sure that said counselor doesn’t get accused of impropriety. I can see the reasoning, but cannot possibly explain it to my kids with a straight face.

  39. diane July 1, 2016 at 12:19 am #

    @Jessie

    LOL! I’m sending my city kids to you to complete their education! I find kids’ skill sets quite patchy, depending on their needs and environment. I grew up in the country and had many skills that my kids have never been introduced to, and I worry when they visit my dad, that they won’t remember to look for venomous snakes, etc. But then again, they get lots of practice walking in heavy traffic areas, and riding a city bus, which I never once did until I went off to college.
    Heck, adults’ skill sets are patchy, too. I can’t do much more than change a light bulb in my house, but I can bake up a mean cake.

  40. sexhysteria July 1, 2016 at 1:38 am #

    A good way to promote polyamory!

  41. gap.runner July 1, 2016 at 2:39 am #

    Yikes! My 17-year-old son went to a week-long sleepover camp when he was 12 and 13 that was run and subsidized by the German Army. The reason my son went, along with other boys in his US Scout troop, was because the leader was in the German Army. The camp was for kids age 9 to 14. It would be a US helicopter parent’s nightmare.

    We got the usual letter explaining what the kids were supposed to bring with them and other general instructions. One of the main instructions was that the only people allowed to have phones were the counselors. Parents were not to call the camp to check up on their kids. The counselors said that the best way to cure homesickness was to get the kids immersed in activities. Anxious parents calling the camp every hour would only make homesickness worse. They also said if something was urgent, they would contact the parents. There was also no live streaming video to show the parents what their precious snowflakes were doing every second.

    The building with the toilets and showers at the camp was approximately 15 meters from where the tents were set up (yes, the kids slept in tents except during thunderstorms). Once the kids knew where the toilets and showers were, they were expected to go by themselves. I guess Germany does not have pedophiles hiding in camp bathrooms (they probably couldn’t get past the smell anyway) or sea serpents inside the toilets just waiting to snatch an unsuspecting camper and suck him down the toilet. The kids at this camp also cooked food on sticks over a bonfire, went on a bike ride on a main road to a nearby lake so they could swim, rode in a helicopter, and even got to try driving an Army jeep on a grassy field. My son said that he was part of a scavenger hunt going house-to-house in the town near the camp and his group ended up with a bottle of wine, which I imagine the counselors enjoyed that night. Yes, those kids were allowed to talk to strangers!

    At this camp there was the following: no live stream video, cooking over an open fire with dirty sticks, cycling on a main road, swimming in a lake where you don’t know what organisms are in it, and driving a vehicle without a license. Let’s not forget the counselors who drink wine at night, allow the kids to talk to strangers, and let the kids use the toilets and showers by themselves. How did my son ever survive this experience?

  42. Emily July 1, 2016 at 6:58 am #

    When I was a kid going to summer camp, we had the buddy system…….for swimming. Also, kids who hadn’t passed the swimming test needed more supervision in the water, but that’s for another post. Anyway, the rest of the time, we were absolutely allowed to traverse the camp alone. The only exception was campers with special needs, who needed a counsellor with them/watching them at all times. Even then, the counsellors adjusted, and took a less active role in supervising kids with milder special needs (for example, one summer, there was one girl with a prosthetic leg, but who otherwise had nothing wrong with her). It was also a YMCA camp. I haven’t been back there since I was sixteen, but I feel like, in general, this shift from “buddy system for swimming, special needs kids need a counsellor” to “every camper needs to be with another camper and a counsellor at all times” is just another symptom of the fallacy that, if some safety precautions are good, more safety precautions are better. In reality, safety precautions are something you CAN have too much of, because they have to be balanced with freedom, independence, adventure, and fostering confidence in kids. I mean, how confident are you going to make little Jayden or Sierra at summer camp if they can’t even go anywhere without a shadow? Why would they believe a counsellor who tells them that they CAN make it to the top of the rock wall, they CAN jump off the diving tower, they CAN master the zipper weave in arts and crafts, but no, they can’t go to the bathroom alone? That’s disingenuous–it basically says, “you’re competent, you’re capable, as long as there’s an adult right there with you.” That kind of message doesn’t foster “strong kids, strong families, or strong communities,” as the YMCA professes to do.

  43. Nicole R. July 1, 2016 at 7:06 am #

    I suppose you could you could express the alternate concern that counselors constantly being woken up in the middle of the night will be groggy the next morning and not able to properly supervise the kids.

  44. Jessie July 1, 2016 at 8:58 am #

    @Diane
    My kids are clueless about any mode of transportation that doesn’t involve door-to-door service. There is simply nowhere close enough to our house for them to walk. I picked my son up from football camp the other day and got there right when it ended, 12:30. All the parents and kids were streaming out from the field. Right at that moment I got a text from my friend wondering if I was going to pick my son up. At 12:30. He was the last one picked up. I found him with my friend at 12:31, looking worried. The kid who hunts and starts fires. Next time I am going to park across the street and tell him he has to come and find me. He clearly needs practice in this area!

  45. marie July 1, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    Don’t ever be alone with a camper” to avoid liability and the possibility of being accused of something.

    I would like to see camps (and schools and families…) stop protecting kids from imagined dangers and, instead, help them DEAL with the unexpected and unpleasant. Things like…what to do if a counselor or other adult touches you inappropriately? What to do if another kid bothers you while in the bathroom? How to stand up to a bully? How to survive embarrassment?

    Pull your kids from the camp if their first piece of advice is the weak-kneed “tell an adult”.

  46. lollipoplover July 1, 2016 at 10:30 am #

    Because every tween and teen girl going through puberty wants to alert two people when her monthly visitor arrives…

    Why not just issue chamber pots to each camper and keep them doing their business in their beds? Solves so many problems without allowing the prisoners mobility.

  47. lollipoplover July 1, 2016 at 10:44 am #

    I didn’t sign my kids up for any camps this summer (two are teens and have jobs already plus sports teams that practice regularly). It’s honestly too much of a hassle between the medical and waiver forms, physicals, and all of the lists of things to bring or buy and hearing these ridiculous rules is just a nail in the coffin.
    There are better camps, people. Find them for your kids if camp’s their thing.

    “My kids don’t know how to make their beds, but they can hunt, fish, skin and cook their catch on the fire they started and feed their family and friends with it. There are many ways to contribute in a family.”

    Nor do mine. I only ask them to pull up the sheet (which they usually kicked off) and straighten the comforter. No hospital corners are being taught here, unfortunately.

    Mine can fish and hunt too and it’s such a lost tradition on so many in this generation. We just came back from the beach, and I put my oldest(15) and his 14 yo friend on a fishing charter trip last weekend. I got a tongue lashing for not going with them (why on earth would I want to be on a deep sea boat?) but both are very good fisherman. I trusted the charter (my son used them before) and it was perfect conditions. They caught nonstop, brought back a bounty of sea bass and flounder cleaned and ready to cook and to freeze for dinners this summer. There is nothing better to eat than fresh fish caught by your son. Seriously delicious. Love to hear when other kids are still doing this!

  48. Mark Roulo July 1, 2016 at 11:00 am #

    “I would like to see camps (and schools and families…) stop protecting kids from imagined dangers and, instead, help them DEAL with the unexpected and unpleasant.”

    My guess is that these rules are not to protect the kids. They are to protect the counselors. And the camp finances.

    And one way for the counselors to deal with the unexpected and unpleasant risk of
    being accused of something improper is to always have a witness.

    Much like male teachers arranging to never be alone with a student.

    These may not be the most logical/reasonable/sane ways to deal with the problem, but my guess is that this is the problem they are trying to deal with.

  49. Mark Roulo July 1, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    “I got a tongue lashing for not going with them …”

    From whom? Friends? Neighbors? Camp counselors?

  50. JulieH July 1, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

    @Xena “A fireman, a social worker and a forensic photographer walk into a bar…”

    The engineer ducks…

  51. Jessie July 1, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    @ lollipoplover, I love sea bass. One of the best tasting fish out there. I also love the sense of purpose and confidence my kids feel when they bring in their catch. We are headed to the beach and my kids will be out fishing and crabbing all say every day.

  52. lollipoplover July 1, 2016 at 3:55 pm #

    @Mark Roulo-
    Friends and family at the beach when I showed up with 2 less kids. I was told they should have an adult with them as deep sea fishing is dangerous (but a vomiting, useless mom to distract the charter staff would be better?)Their opinions changed after the capable boys provided dinner for the night and much more. Sea bass grilled with lemon and olive oil and topped with a citrus-soy finishing butter was absolutely divine and shut them up fast.

  53. Emily July 1, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

    Hey, forgive my ignorance, but what movie is the picture for this article from?

  54. Buffy July 1, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

    OK, so…the camp(s) is worried about false accusations, and real accusations. Why isn’t the solution to let the kids go to the bathroom BY THEMSELVES? No one is going to abuse them if they’re alone, and there’s no one to falsely accuse if they’re alone. I don’t get why 3 people is somehow a prevention method but just allowing a kid to do their business in peace by themselves isn’t.

  55. Dave July 1, 2016 at 10:12 pm #

    The scary reason for the wristbands is to make sure YOU don’t snatch someone elses kid. Sigh.

  56. Warren July 1, 2016 at 11:21 pm #

    Aren’t we missing the real issue. The camp is openly admitting that their camp is not safe enough for someone to go to the can without multiple escorts.
    What are they going to do when friends plot to falsely accuse a councilor together?
    Group bathroom breaks scheduled so the entire group goes at the same time with professional bathroom attendants on duty that have gone through secret service clearance?

  57. hineata July 2, 2016 at 4:27 am #

    I thought for a minute that the OP was talking about going tramping, in which case four people is an ideal number. But going to the loo? And just wandering around camp? Crazy!

    Though maybe it MIGHT help the shy? Or give them bladder problems from holding on!

  58. James Pollock July 2, 2016 at 8:29 am #

    “Why isn’t the solution to let the kids go to the bathroom BY THEMSELVES? No one is going to abuse them if they’re alone, and there’s no one to falsely accuse if they’re alone”

    Going into a bathroom alone and being in there alone are two very different things. Children are allowed to go into school bathrooms alone… are you of the impression that every schoolchild is thus in there, alone, proof from being assaulted?

    The camp I went to had two sets of bathrooms, each with a cluster of cabins around it. My last year there, they decided that maybe it would be OK if girls went to this camp, too, so they built a third housing complex. It had four walls (the others basically had only three, electrical lighting and outlets, and indoor plumbing, by which I mean that the plumbing was located in the same buildings as the sleeping quarters.

    The girl scout camp my daughter visited was much less… primitive. Three decades, plus being closer to cvilization in the first place, made some of the difference, but I’m sure being designed by women for girls made some of the difference, too.

  59. Buffy July 2, 2016 at 8:52 am #

    James, shut up. But I’ll lay it out for you first. It’s the middle of the night, the kid has to pee. He runs down to the bathrooms, goes, and comes back, without waking and taking two people with him. No one else is in the bathroom. He doesn’t get molested. There aren’t two people hanging around who can either molest or be accused of molesting.

  60. James Pollock July 2, 2016 at 9:40 am #

    “James, shut up. But I’ll lay it out for you first. It’s the middle of the night, the kid has to pee. He runs down to the bathrooms, goes, and comes back, without waking and taking two people with him. No one else is in the bathroom.”

    I totally apologize. Since I don’t have your all-seeing, all-knowing gaze, I have no way of knowing this.. But if you say there’s nobody else in the bathroom, it MUST be true.

  61. Papilio July 2, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

    @NY mom: “One kid who needs to pee.
    Two counselors. Three other kids.
    Four armed guards.

    Five statistical reports proclaiming The United States of America is safer than at any previous time in our history.

    Six Y Board Members who do not understand statistics.
    Seven Insurance Companies proclaiming the cost of damages if even one girl falls and scrapes her precious knee and there is not a bevy of hovering helicopters swooping in with antiseptics and painkillers.”

    What’s this, Twelve Days of Bathroom Visit?? (It’s JULY and I’m humming a CHRISTMAS SONG because of you!)

    @Sexhysteria: Indeed, like 18-year-old counselors and 13 year old girls is *not* asking for trouble.

  62. Emily July 3, 2016 at 8:08 am #

    >>“James, shut up. But I’ll lay it out for you first. It’s the middle of the night, the kid has to pee. He runs down to the bathrooms, goes, and comes back, without waking and taking two people with him. No one else is in the bathroom.”

    I totally apologize. Since I don’t have your all-seeing, all-knowing gaze, I have no way of knowing this.. But if you say there’s nobody else in the bathroom, it MUST be true.<<

    Or, alternatively, there is another kid (or even an adult) in the bathroom, but he's just in there for the same reason the kid in the story is, and has no intention of hurting anyone. Nothing untoward happens, they both go back to their cabins, and life at camp goes on as normal.

  63. James Pollock July 3, 2016 at 10:42 am #

    “Or, alternatively, there is another kid (or even an adult) in the bathroom, but he’s just in there for the same reason the kid in the story is, and has no intention of hurting anyone. Nothing untoward happens, they both go back to their cabins, and life at camp goes on as normal.”

    Yes, that is certainly another possibility.
    But go back to the original claim I responded to:
    ““Why isn’t the solution to let the kids go to the bathroom BY THEMSELVES? No one is going to abuse them if they’re alone, and there’s no one to falsely accuse if they’re alone””
    There is an assumption embedded here that if a kid goes into the bathroom alone, they are in there alone. That assumption has no basis in reality… It’s fairly unlikely that a serial child-molester is waiting out there in the camp bathroom, waiting for children to walk in, unescorted. But if you have a policy that children don’t walk in unescorted, then you substantially reduce the danger, small as it was to begin with. Having a counselor in the group also cuts down on the “fun” of older campers trying to scare the little ones.

    It still comes down to this… anyone taking custody of someone else’s children is free to set the terms and conditions under which they will do so, and parents who find the terms and conditions unbearable may choose not to leave their children in that person’s care.

  64. Emily July 3, 2016 at 11:44 am #

    @James Pollock–It’s all well and good for the camp to make the rules, but I understand from this story that neither the mother nor the daughter knew about the “rule of three” until all the parents had dropped off the campers, and they’d moved in–it was part of the camp orientation on the first day. At that point, sure, maybe campers who found the rule unbearable could have called their parents and asked to be picked up, but most camps discourage that, and in some cases, an early pick-up might not have been feasible, for whatever reason. For example, suppose the parents dropped Miss Twelve off at camp, and then the rest of the family went on a camping vacation of their own, where they weren’t reachable by phone? So, yeah, while the camp can make the rules, they need to be upfront about it, so that parents and campers have that information before signing up.

  65. Dawn July 3, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

    I’m the mom of the girl who can pee alone. I didn’t learn about the Rule of Three until we picked her up and got an earful from her. 🙂 It was band camp in the middle of nowhere. She wants to go back because of the unique music program and her friends, but she was shocked at how they were treated. I will say that they were allowed to set marshmallows on fire and learn archery. But she couldn’t understand why they didn’t trust her to manage a trip to the bathroom. I do sympathize with the camp a little, because I know that some of her friends’ parents probably appreciated the rules. These are parents who were surprised that my daughter — at age eleven — knew how to find her way home when she was two blocks away in a suburban neighborhood. Although some parents send their kids to camp to give them an adventure, that’s not always the motivation for band camp parents.

    She also had some things to say about the swimming procedures. She’s all for water safety, but felt they were more concerned about rules than actual safety. There were three roped off swimming areas based on which wristband they received after the swim tests. If they lost their wristband, they couldn’t go in the water for the rest of the week. Only the blue wristbands could go in water that was slightly over their heads, but they all had to stay next to a buddy and do constant “buddy checks” on shore. When they left the beach area, the counselors counted them twice. When someone left an item on the beach (sunglasses, towel), they started Lost Swimmer Procedure, or “LSP”. According to my daughter, that meant the adults ran around in a panic, forced everyone to run to a central area to be counted, and searched the roped off area. She thought it was odd that they didn’t think it important to search under the dock (or outside the roped off area), because that wasn’t part of their procedure.

  66. BL July 4, 2016 at 5:52 am #

    @Dawn
    “hese are parents who were surprised that my daughter — at age eleven — knew how to find her way home when she was two blocks away in a suburban neighborhood”

    Good God, how do people get so twisted? I lived in a suburban neighborhood with dozens of kids on every block, and every one of us could do that by kindergarten age. And it was about as surprising as that we all had a nose, ears and mouth.

    Now we’ve got a generation of “adults” who think this incompetence is a fixed characteristic of children (up to about the age of 35?), which requires highly specialized training to overcome.

  67. James Pollock July 4, 2016 at 10:07 am #

    “It’s all well and good for the camp to make the rules, but I understand from this story that neither the mother nor the daughter knew about the “rule of three” until all the parents had dropped off the campers”

    So… how does this change anything?

  68. Emily July 4, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

    >>“It’s all well and good for the camp to make the rules, but I understand from this story that neither the mother nor the daughter knew about the “rule of three” until all the parents had dropped off the campers”<<

    Because if they had known beforehand, they could have signed up for a different camp with less restrictive, more age-appropriate safety rules.

  69. heartfruit July 5, 2016 at 2:56 am #

    A minmum group size of three makes lots of sense if you are going hiking in the woods. Then if you have something happen, one can apply first aid and one can go for help.

    To a bathroom, that was likely on a couple 100 m away at most, not so much.

  70. Donna Veveris July 5, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    This is rather unusual. My kids (now 11) go to two different sleepaway camps and neither enforces any such rule. You can find better camps. The Y tends to be on the overcautious side, in my view. My kids did go to a few Y camps when they were kindergarteners, but after they taught them “fast food songs” (McDonalds, PizzaHut, KFC! they chanted) and fed them snacks of what is basically junk food (goldfish crackers and those fake “fruit” gummies), that was enough for us.

  71. James Pollock July 5, 2016 at 7:02 pm #

    “>>“It’s all well and good for the camp to make the rules, but I understand from this story that neither the mother nor the daughter knew about the “rule of three” until all the parents had dropped off the campers”<<

    Because if they had known beforehand, they could have signed up for a different camp with less restrictive, more age-appropriate safety rules."

    I guess if it bothered them that much, they should have checked into it a little bit better. Since the camps consider this sort of thing a "feature", it's not like they hide it.

  72. Will JGT July 6, 2016 at 9:06 am #

    “I would “suddenly” develop virulent diarrhea and head to the bathroom every ten minutes all night. Let’s see the counselors put up with that.”

    Jetsanna nailed it.

  73. Dawn July 6, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    James — This was band camp, promoted by our band director, who teaches at the camp. Several of my daughter’s friends were going. So, I really didn’t do any research into which camp would be a good fit. This rule was not mentioned in the promotional materials that we received. I’m sure parents who were especially worried about their children’s safety researched the safety rules, but it didn’t occur to me. My only camp experience, when I was ten, was designed to give kids a feeling of independence and responsibility.

  74. James Pollock July 11, 2016 at 3:01 am #

    ” My only camp experience, when I was ten, was designed to give kids a feeling of independence and responsibility.”

    The camp I went to had a rifle range and let children sail on the ocean by themselves. (We did have to have a counselor if we wanted to go to the island located just offshore.) Things have changed. (For example, my last year at camp was also the first year they allowed girls.)