ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The Department of Youth Affairs late Thursday met with organisers of summer camps as officials seek to put in motion standards they hope will ensure the safety of children enrolled.
Director of the department Cleon Athill has been pushing for the standards that are aimed at making camps “safe, fun and age appropriate.”
The new standards cover everything from proper food safety practices and fire safety, to due diligence checks on the adults present at the facility.
“We had a meeting with the camp providers and we went through the standards and that meeting went off pretty well.”
About 10 camps were represented at Thursday’s meeting, which Athill said was successful. She however admitted that not everyone is excited about the new measures, which also includes a registration of camps.
“It’s not going as well as we like and that is our challenge, to get people to respect that there is order. Oftentimes, providers don’t see these standards applying to them,” she said.
“But the youth department is indeed the agency responsible for youth development and we take out children safely very seriously.”
The department head also wants the minister of youth affairs to have the standards approved by Cabinet “because she has had the standards for quite a while now.”
According to Athill, when the standards are approved by Cabinet, “persons who are providing camps would understand that there is a mandatory registration process.”