Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

tives of public and private organizations directly involved in youth camp operation.

Refer page 13, section 13, Travel Camps: A clear definition of a "travel camp” is needed. The Boy Scouts of America through its tour permit system monitors thousands of local and troop tours in a year. If the Secretary were to require registration of these troop tours from all agencies operating this type of program, it would be extremely cumbersome.

It is our feeling that these qualified agencies should be permitted to continue the registration and regulation of this type of camp.

We have what we call a tour permit, which every Scout troop or unit must fill out before going on this kind of a trip. Incidentally, in reference to automobiles, vehicles, of course, as I said before, we do not allow them to travel or carry young people in trucks and even in the case of vans and we just had this come up this year, where you can say, "Well, we have a van, it is a passenger car and we can put all kinds of people in it,” we still require in this permit there be a safety belt for each person that travels in the van and that limits it to within the capacity of it. So these things also include where they are going to be, the insurance coverage, the qualifications of the leaders and so on.

For 25 or more years, we have been maintaining standards and improving on those in Scouting. We welcome and heartily endorse the legislation that you propose, sir, in that we feel that not only will it help us in our working with local councils even though we feel that our inspection plans have pretty good teeth in it, but it gives us the added interest in making sure that we have safe and healthy camps for our young people.

Mr. DANIELS. Mr. Christofero, I want to thank you for your fine testimony this morning and I compliment the Boy Scouts of America for having such a wonderful plan.

Your description of how the Boy Scouts operate impressed me very very much.

Now, in the beginning of your statement you say you endorse the intent of this bill. Now, I am sure you are aware of the fact that another bill was introduced in the other body by Senator Ribicoff, under the terms of which compliance by the States or the urging of States to participate is purely on a permissive basis, whereas the bill I have introduced, H.R. 1486, establishes Federal minimum standards and urges all of the States to participate, and if States fail to adopt a health and safety law which is equal to the minimum required by the Federal law and for which approval must be obtained, then the Federal Government will preempt the field.

In other words, the Federal Government rules and regulations will apply. Do you approve of the latter bill I introduced ?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes, sir, we do. We met with some of the organizations and representatives of both your office and Senator Ribicoff's office in New York in February and this incidentally was my first introduction to this because I had been manager of camping since the first of this year. At that time, my impression was that the Daniels bill has more to it than the Ribicoff bill has at the present time, in that what it is going to do is to put—if I might say-pressure on the States to have some regulations in respect to their camps.

Mr. DANIELS. I don't know how familiar you are with the history of this legislation, but I have been interested in this field for the past 6 or 7 years and hearings have been held in the past 3 Congresses on this legislation. When my bill came before Congress in 1971, I believe it was, a substitute was adopted which authorized a study by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and that study just came to our attention. Have you had an opportunity to look at that report?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes, sir, I have.
Mr. DANIELS. Do you care to pass any comment upon it?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Only in that, as has been said before, it is not totally comprehensive. I think the text of it admits that and it has been said here. It certainly can give us some kind of indication, and I believe it was Mr. Sarasin that—well, did you have the full documentation, sir?

Mr. SARASIN. Mr. Peyser.

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes. At any rate, that contains more of the statistics. Even with that, the sampling of camps, it seems to me can have been more complete. I am not trying to be critical. You asked me a question, sir, and we are trying to express ourselves. I am not totally in agreement with all of it, unless, as we talked yesterday, we can see more of the information that was gotten from it.

What it does say is the great need for more States to have some sort of camp regulation.

Mr. DANIELS. Under the Boy Scout rules and regulations, do you require recordkeeping and reporting of accidents and illness?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes, sir, we do.
Mr. DANIELS. Are they maintained at a central office?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes, sir, they are. The local council must also maintain them. Minor accidents are maintained in the local council. Deaths and major accidents are maintained in the national office as well as the local council.

Mr. DANIELS. And how far back do your records go?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Well, I have records back here and these are fatalities only and they are in many categories, that date back as far as 1959. That is as far back as I went, sir. I think we probably can go back further than that.

Mr. DANIELS. Now, by virture of the rules and regulations and mandatory standards that you require, has there been any decrease in the number, or decrease in the accidents, fatalities and illness since 1959 ?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes, I would say so. It is difficult because we have been having these standards now for 25 years. Certainly, what we have done, especially in terms of drownings and requirements for qualification of our waterfront personnel we feel has reduced the number of drownings. Yet, in the records I have here, and the records I have here include both local councils and unit, or scout troop, fatalities. The local councils, and of course since we can control that, it runs much lower on an average basis. I can give you the figures, I have them here, except at the same time we would have to consider the number of deaths by drownings, we would have to consider the growth and change of the number of young people camping at the same time to give you an average.

Mr. DANIELS. Mr. Christofero, I was going to ask you for that information. After all your group is a large and significant group. You camp approximately 780,000 young people in 600 long-term summer camps and I think the information that you can furnish in this area would be very helpful and beneficial to this committee and I know it might be quite a task for you to go back to 1959. It won't be necessary I think to go that far back, unless there is some significance in reporting over such a long period of time.

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Sir, we would be glad to submit that. I would like to break it down a little further than I have here, to break it down between camp related accidents or fatalities versus those that happened when a scout troop goes out on a weekend hike. If you want both of those, we can give you those. If you want just the camp related accidents, we will do that.

Mr. DANIELS. We are primarily interested in the camp related accidents.

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. All right, sir, we will be glad to submit that to you.

Mr. DANIELS. I have no further questions. Mr. Sarasin, any questions?

Mr. SARASIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Christofero, thank you very much for being here and sitting through yesterday's hearing as well. With regard to the statistics the Boy Scouts of America have developed, are they prepared to demonstrate the ratio of those who experienced a certain injury to the total number of campers? In other words, if you had two drownings, or whatever the number of drownings might have been in 1965 or any other year, is that compared to the number of campers so you can establish a meaningful correlation between the years of 1965 and 1973 ?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes, sir, we can do that by simple arithmetic. We have records of how many young people and I find myself saying young people because there are more girls coming into the scouting program and I am learning that rapidly, but we have records of the number of people in our camps in that particular year and we just take fatalities and we can get a ratio.

Mr. SARASIN. Can it be done with a breakdown of all of the statistics that you have? In other words, beyond fatalities, do you keep records for broken limbs? If you know, can you give us the categories or at least some of the categories in which these numbers are broken down?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. That is going to be a little more difficult and it will take a little more time because we have to contact our local councils to verify those.

Mr. SARASIN. Is there any kind of statistical abstract that is kept now by the Boy Scouts to use for your own purpose for comparisons from year to year?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes. We can give you that kind of information. Mr. SARASIN. We would think that the experience that you have

a

had in determining areas of concern might be important for us in suggesting the kind of information we would like the Secretary to keep on a regular basis. Basically, what kind of breakdowns are important in addition to fatalities? How do you break down the other illness? How do you break down food sickness in a camp or whatever it might be?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Epidemic outbreaks and floods and so on, you can have almost anything happen.

Let me say this in respect to that. We would consider ourselves on call at any time to be of whatever assistance we can be to you.

Mr. SARASIN. Mr. Christofero, what steps are taken to screen personnel that are used as camp directors or others in positions of responsibility ?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Everyone who is a member of a camp staff, any scout camp staff, has to be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America. Therefore, there are certain principles, first of all, he must subscribe to. Generally, he is a man that we have known for sometime. Local councils tend to employ staff people from their local councils, people who have been active in scouting which they have known. When they register, they already have had to pass some kind of a check.

If we have any doubt, then, within the bounds of reason, we try to find out if there is any kind or record as such. We have to be pretty careful in the investigation, as we do that. But he has to be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America.

Mr. SARASIN. There is no automatic checking of police records, or comparable sources of information for everyone who would be employed in a camp situation?

Nr. CHRISTOFERO. No, we do not unless we have some concern about it.

Mr. SARAsin. The concerns you list on page 3 of your statement, specifically the seventh one, which refers to the possibility of allowing the Boy Scouts to make their own inspections in lieu of State inspections, bothers me. I just don't know. You said that even though Michigan has their consultants out you do inspect your own camps, which I find laudable, but do you actually feel it will accomplish the purpose of the act if we allowed these various exceptions for these people to inspect their own camps in spite of the reputation that the Boy Scouts have?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. No, I have to agree with you, Mr. Sarasin, in that we would not want to do anything that would put any part of that or the attitude towards it in jeopardy.

We make that statement because we believe we have a very strong inspection or analysis, camp analysis, or whatever you want to call it. I vould say that when the Federal legislation passes and the States have it, we will still continue to do our inspection, because we also want to be satisfied as far as our program is concerned. There would be a number of things that would not be in the Federal or State regulations, such as program, as pertaining to BSA, that we would need to know about, so we will go ahead and do it anyway. It is not a major point with us.

[ocr errors]

Mr. SARASIN. If I understand your previous statement to Mr. Daniels, you do feel that the Federal Government should step in in those cases where the States do not act, assuming we pass this law. In other words, if the States fail to implement their own standards, you believe that the government should then go in with our standårds and enforcement personnel ?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes, sir, we do. That statement comes after a considerable amount of thinking and soul-searching. If we are going to have regulations that create a safety situation and health situation for our young people it has to be the ultimate responsibility of the Federal Government to see that it happens throughout the country so therefore your answer is yes.

Mr. SARASIN. Thank you and I appreciate again the time you have taken to help this committee in its deliberations.

Mr. DANIELS. Mr. Christofero, I want to go back for a few questions. What are the ages of the children attending Boy Scout camps ?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Long-term camps is from 11 to 16 or 17.

Mr. DANIELS. Now, you are here on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America. What about the Girl Scouts? Are you connected with them.

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Only that we have worked with them as we have gone over these. They are a separate organization.

Mr. DANIELS. Are medical certificates required of each boy attending camp?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes, sir. Our standards require that not only is a medical examination required before he comes to camp, and that is written here in the standard, but that he get a recheck after he arrives at camp either by the camp doctor or someone else.

Mr. DANIELS. By whom is he rechecked?

Mr. CHRISTOFERÓ. Either by the camp doctor if the camp is large enough to have one, or by a person authorized by the camp physician. The reason for this medical recheck, is, if he had contracted anything or has a cold and intends to go in the water there are just many things that can happen between the time he gets his physical at home and the time he gets to camp.

Mr. DANIELS. Will a boy be accepted at camp in the absence of a medical certificate?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. No, sir, he would not. If we had a medical doctor at camp, we would then examine him right at camp so we wouldn't have to send him home.

Mr. DANIELS. Are these campers insured by the Boy Scouts of America ?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes, sir.

Mr. DANIELS. Do the Boy Scouts have a blanket policy or each camper takes out an individual policy?

Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Each camp, each local council takes out a policy, two policies, a liability policy which protects all leaders and a medical policy which grants, and this varies in councils, medical assistance.

Mr. DANIELS. By whom are these policies issued? Do you have one company or a series of insurance companies?

« PreviousContinue »