NY State Health Officials Back Down On ‘Micromanagement’ Of Summer Camp

NEW CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Red rover, red rover, don’t even think about coming over.  That was the message delivered by some New York state bureaucrats after a Health Department list of summer camp restrictions was released Tuesday morning before they eventually backed off.

Childrens’ games, such as Wiffle Ball, kickball, dodgeball, freeze tag and even some arts and crafts were said to pose a “significant risk of injury.”

Twelve-year-old Glen talked to CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu and took issue with Wiffle Ball and arts and crafts being on the list.  He said “it’s not more than likely that you would get hurt” from those activities.

The list was part of a new law that said any summer programs that included at least one of aforementioned “risky” games would now be considered a summer day camp.  That distinction would require them to follow certain state regulations and fees.

However, after the list went public and outcry followed, the New York State Health Department pulled back saying the rules were implemented under the previous administration of Gov. David Paterson.

“After a review spurred by a lawmaker’s questions Friday and subsequent news reports, they’ve been judged too detailed and amount to micromanagement,” a statement read.

1010 WINS’ John Montone with a couple of grown-ups who survived childhood

Before the Health Department’s change of tune on Tuesday, many adults scoffed at the idea, saying they made it through childhood in one piece.

A man from Bensonhurst told 1010 WINS’ John Montone when he was a child everybody played Wiffle Ball. “It’s a harmless game, it’s a piece of plastic,” he said. “It’s not going to do that much damage.”

“We played everything. Nobody got hurt significantly at all,” another man said. “The people today are cry babies about everything.”

Lawmakers said a loophole had previously allowed indoor programs to operate without oversight.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams with Adam Langbart, president of the New York Camp Directors Association

Adam Langbart, president of the New York Camp Directors Association, thinks indoor programs should be subjected to the same rules as outdoor ones.

“There really shouldn’t be a difference. You’re operating a camp, you’re operating a camp, whether a camp is in a gymnasium or out in a field,” Langbart told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams.

Langbart says those who are protesting miss the point: “People are dissecting the law and dissecting the rules and regulations and basically taking things out of context. You gotta look at the big picture and not just say, ‘Oh. The state wants to regulate Wiffle Ball.’ They don’t.”

He said what the state is really concerned about is “that the camp is performing background checks, that the camp is screening their staff through the New York State sex offender registry, that the camp has a proper staff-to-child ratio – in not just counselors, but CPR and first aid.”

For now, the new adminstration of Governor Andrew Cuomo will get an in-depth look at camp rules. A spokesperson said any changes deemed necessary would come this summer.

Do you think these games are dangerous and potentially deadly? Sound off below

More from Sean Adams
  • http://indoorplayequipmentx.com/ Mandy

    You have a awesome website here. Was well worth visiting for the great information. Keep it up

  • Ben

    A parent has a reasonable expectation that someone is making sure that if they’re sending their child to a camp, there is an emergency response plan, that the camp is doing proper background checks and sex offender registry checks, etc.

    Also, the soundbyte where indoor camps say they will now have to hire a registered nurse is incorrect. DOH regulations do not require a registered nurse to be present on grounds. Sorry CBS, but you should have done your research before saying that.

    So for those who paint this as the government sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong, that’s simply not the issue. It’s about closing a glaring loophole which dated back over 50 years when there was no such thing as an indoor camp. There are currently camps that do high risk activities indoors, such as gymnastics and skydiving. Yes, skydiving.

    As for wiffle ball, etc., that list of activities was not a part of the legislation. Some overzealous person submitted it as a way to try and explain what activities may pose a risk of injury. I think we can agree that wiffleball does not pose a significant risk.

  • Thomas Hull

    If this was about neighbor kids playing pick-up games of wiffle-ball, dodge ball, etc., that would be one thing. The regulations concern programs with organized activities that the parents of participatiing children expect will be conducted in a manner that reduces the chances their kids will be injured or worse. Even with what seems like over-regulation with regard to these “risky activities”, you still can’t protect every child from every conceivable accident. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to at least reduce the chances of an accident occurring, which is what these regulations would do. The list of “risky activities” seems very inclusive; however, you would be surprised as to the level of creativity Children’s Camps can come up with when putting their activities programs together. Just when you think you’ve seen or heard the wackiest activity ever to have a group of kids engaged in, someone will come up with an even crazier one. So if you think these regulations are over-the-top (and for some of the activities they may well be), think again. Us older folks may think they are silly (I didn’t wear a bicycle helmet growing up, and I still don’t) when you are on the “inside” and have a better appreciation for what your kids are being protected against (not so much the activities, but the people you are entrusting your child’s safety to) they aren’t really so ridiculous after all..

  • Steven

    We need to be doing everything we can to encourage to move. This ain’t it. American are fat, happy, stupid and through over regulation the government and wimpy libs who are afraid of their own shadows let alone a plastic whiffle ball, hopes to keep them that way.

  • kendra

    i dn,t thgey worry about more serious things going on in this world instead of a bunch of foolishness…

  • Joe

    We played the games all the time during summer camp and at home. Kids are kids, I am getting tired of Government sticking their noses where it does not belong. Grow up and take care of the real business of running the state!

  • JCB

    the games have nothing to do with anything. The law should be if you supervise children then you are subject to the oversight and background checks. Why confuse the issue with what type of game and how many are played there? Typical liberal laws. They can’t just come out and say what they are doing.

  • Kyle

    I feel like this legislation is totally necessary. If you actually read the article and look past the “overly governed” aspect, these programs should be regulated.

    Think about it- if you were a parent sending your child to one of these “indoor camps” the staff there wouldn’t need a back ground check or be trained in CPR/First Aid. Would you send your child to a summer swimming program where they weren’t required to have lifeguards? Would you want to send your child to a program that didn’t have emergency exits?

    I know that as a parent I do not want my child attending a program that isn’t required to abide by basic safety regulations. They have had two years to get their acts together and protect the children that they look after.

    • billy boyer

      yes i would

  • Chris

    I can see our tax dollars are so hard at work. What happened to a free country. The government does not need to control every aspect of our decision making. If you dont want your kid to partisipate, dont sign the release form and its all said and done. We dont need government in this. Grows some balls people.

  • peter

    Moves like this prove there are far too many bureaucrats and they must go out of their way to justify their jobs.

  • Lieutenantdan

    The feminist movement strikes again!
    We are now living in an age of male castration by women rights groups and feminists. Its not good enough for them to castrate young college men they now are trying to castrate at the earliest age possible. Well, my four year old watches wrestling, Power Rangers, HULK and is playing T_Ball this Summer. He will then start kick boxing and judo lessons.

  • Johnny Handsome

    As “Step away from the bong” stated: What does the title of the article have to do with the actual article? Might as well called it “Red Balls, Blue Balls.”

  • mj

    for christs sake you can get hurt walking down the street . these people have gotten totally ridiculos . ok i’ll admit kick ball doge ball have a ” chance” of getting hurt but stil ….. but wiffle ball ? who are these morons and how did they get elected ? they don’t have better things to legislate ?

  • mak

    The sissyfication of America continues.

  • DP

    So the point is that if a day facility plays whiffle ball, then the counselors have to be screened for sex offenses, but if they don’t play whiffle ball, then the counselors do not have to be screened? What does screening for sex offenses have to do with whiffle ball? Nothing – they have to do with camp owners competing against other kinds of day-care.

    This is not just whimpering about whiffle ball, this is simple stupidity.

  • Railien7

    This has to be a cruel April Fool’s joke. Staying indoors and playing video games does nothing for a kid. The instance of a kid getting hit by a swing illustrates the fact that by living in an insular world of video games whaere you get to live many lives, desensitizes a youth into thinking nothing can happen to them. Also, a lack of physical exercise is bad for a kid’s health. Playing Dodgeball teaches that you can’t run from the guy throwing at you but your best defense is standing up for yourself and catching the ball – getting the thrower out of the game, a life lesson.

  • Timbo

    Here they go again. The government sticking their noses where it doesn’t belong . If not overseas, its right here at home. Kids today are lazy enough. Their minds wasting away on tv and video games. And giving themselves Brain Cancer with their Cell Phones that they use 24/7. They complain about obesity in kids. But want to take physical activity away from them. Parents and officials are way to over protective. They need to lighten up. Let the kids enjoy thier childhood. Kids have a choice too. If they don’t want to play a game, they don’t have to.

  • craig

    This seems about right. Parents let kids just play video games at home. Then when they actually get to play they don’t know that standing too close to the person kicking the ball might get them hurt. I am a Gym Teacher and Playground Supervisor and it is amazing how a 5th grader will walk in front of a 100lb kid on a swing and then wonder why they got hurt, then the parent will want to blame someone else.

  • Mike


  • Step away from the bong

    Um, CBS? Your headline has NOTHING to do with the article below it.

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