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Mr. CHRISTOFERO. No, sir, it varies from council to council, because each local council has the prerogative of selecting its own insurance company.
Mr. DANIELS. Can you furnish the committee the names of those insurance companies?
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes, sir, I can do that.
Mr. DANIELS. Are you acquainted with Mr. Turner of the Boy Scouts ?
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes, sir. He is my predecessor, a good friend.
Mr. DANIELS. He was director of camping and conservation at the time he testified before this committee, which was July 1971. Now, in questioning him, he stated that the Boy Scouts maintained records of serious accidents and that at one point I asked him what he meant by serious accidents, and I asked him this question and I quote, “Do you require that every accident which requires medical care and attention or hospitalization to be reported ?" Mr. Turner answered, “No, as I said we don't, because a good many camps, and we have a provision in the mandatory standard agreement with a local hospital, and if the hospital is within five or ten miles of the camp our policy is to move the boy into the hospital even in a case of high temperature for two or three days and we don't keep him in the camp unless there is a medical doctor in the camp."
I then asked, “You move him directly to the hospital ?"
He answered, “Yes, that is one of the requirements and also there is a daily house log maintained."
I said, “Does your Boy Scout Headquarters then receive the reports ?”
Mr. Turner said, “We do not collect those 400 and some books, though they are available locally and are maintained as part of the official records of the local scout council.”
Is that the way you operate today, too?
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes, he is speaking of the first aid or the record book that is required to be kept in each of the local council camps and we do not collect those, but the council is required to keep them so that we can refer to them or the council can.
Mr. DANIELS. Well, he made reference to serious accidents, that they report serious accidents. Don't you at central headquarters get reports of all accidents?
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Not all accidents, no, sir.
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Well, I suppose a boy cutting himself while whittling or some of those things would not be reported. An accident which would involve more than one person, like a bus accident or something of that sort, that would require a feedback from the local council.
Mr. DANIELS. But if a boy is sick for more than 1 day or is hospitalized rather than obtaining just mere emergency treatment, is it reported to headquarters ?
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. No, sir, not to national headquarters, to the local council. If it got to epidemic proportions in a camp, it would then be reported, yes.
Mr. DANIELS. Well, how would you describe the nature of the reports that are received and maintained at central headquarters?
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Serious accidents which involve multiple injuries in case of automobile accidents or drownings or serious injury in connection with boat accidents, explosions, this kind of thing.
Mr. DANIELS. Well, those records then would be rather limited in scope compared to the overall picture of accidents ?
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes. This is why I say it would take time, for purpose of this committee, to get a record back. Our local councils can give it to us readily. What it requires is for us to write to the local councils in a bulletin and say, “We need this for assistance and would you give us a rundown on the past however many years of this type of accident or illness in your camps."
Mr. DANIELS. Have you ever made a check or study of the records of the local councils?
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes, sir.
Mr. DANIELS. That is with regard to accidents that are not reported ?
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Well, I can speak from my own experience, because up until the end of last year I was the Scout executive at Seattle, Wash. We never, as far as a fatality is concerned, we always reported it. There is a regular procedure, a regular file in which we have instructions from the national council on the procedure to go through in case of fatality. I had one last year. That becomes a matter of record in the local council. It has to be acted on by local council volunteers who file a complete report and also the national council.
We, in case of a fracture or this kind of accident, which happens in a camp, we would not send that on to the national headquarters. We would, and I am speaking as a local council executive now, keep that record in the local council, a complete record of it.
Mr. DANIEL. But what if a Scout broke his arm while swimming or tripped over a log and fractured a limb, the record of that would only be maintained in the local council ?
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes, sir; that is right.
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Well, it is serious to the boy and serious to the local council. I don't know how to answer that. Well, yes, I consider it serious from the standpoint of the boy being hurt, anything like that. As far as, when you compare it to a fatality or something like that, no, sir; it is not.
Mr. DANIELS. Well, what I am trying to get clear in my mind is just exactly what you mean by a serious accident which must be reported by the local council to central headquarters of the Boy Scouts? Your report is not going to be a very comprehensive report. You refer to serious accidents and just exactly what do you mean by "se rious accidents ?"
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Well, as I have stated, what I will do, if you want the reports of fractures, illness, and so on in camps, we will get it for you from our local councils, because we know that they have it.
Mr. DANIELS. Suppose, for example, you had a breakout of ptomaine poisoning at a camp, maybe, 200 or 300 boys were poisoned?
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. That would be serious.
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes, sir, indeed, and I just see a Scout executive calling the national council, my phone ringing and the health and safety people being very much concerned with it and I have seen this happen, and somebody from our office actually flying out there and working with the health authorities to find out why such a thing happened!
Mr. DANIEL. How about allergies?
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. We can consider it a serious thing and I cite the 1950 Jamboree at Valley Forge, in which we have to admit we did not take the precautions of instructing, and I can remember going to the hospital and seeing some of our kids in pretty bad condition. It is different as far as allergies is concerned. We now have in our literature a very clear description of what poison oak or poison ivy looks like without having to touch it.
Mr. DANIELS. Is that reported to central headquarters?
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Central headquarters was all over the place on that one.
Mr. SARASIN. Will you yield?
Mr. SARASIN. I think one of the problems in Government is that we are obsessed by reporting and statistics and everything else, but I don't know how we can make any kind of evaluation of success, either of the programs enacted as a result of this act or the programs of Michigan or the Boy Scouts or anyone else, unless reporting has been done on a fairly comparable basis. Now, how many local councils are there in the Boy Scouts of America ?
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. 487.
Mr. SARASIN. Are they required to annually compile their accident reports and break them down into certain categories?
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Only in that they are required to keep the logbook of what happened at their camps and they can pull it out of there. Some councils might do that. Their health and safety committee might say, and it is listed there to make an analysis each year, and some of them do and some of them don't. But the information is there and available. It is a required thing.
Mr. SARASIN. It would seem to me there has to be some sensible 'breakdown in addition to just listing fatalities or fatalities by drowning, auto accidents, et cetera. A breakdown of illness and injuries would be certainly helpful to judging the success of any program. Apparently the Boy Scouts are not using any kind of breakdown that requires reporting by their local council to a national headquarters so you can get the total picture at the end of the year of what is happening in your camps.
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. We do that, sir, as we inspect our camps and reinspect our camps each year, because we take a look at what happened last year on that first aid book and they are compared. They
have to have both records and they have to keep that for a period of 5 years, the log of their first aid. So we have some sort of check.
It is not to the extent you are talking about, and I think what you are talking about is a good thing and probably it should come to the surface somewhere in this legislation that that needs to be done.
Mr. SARASIN. I wonder if the Boy Scouts might not be very helpful to the committee in that area of suggesting breakdowns, because you certainly have some experience ?
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. Yes, sir; we would be glad to.
Mr. SARASIN. If left to our own devices, we might not think of all of the areas that should possibly be covered and reported. I am concerned that a minor injury in an automobile accident might be reported and yet a more serious injury, say with two boys colliding on a basketball court, might not be reported. I would think we would want to know both, with some sort of sensible breakdown.
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. All right.
Mr. DANIELS. Mr. Christofero, your testimony has been very illuminating and helpful and I would appreciate it if you would send the documentation that we requested today to us.
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. I would be glad to do that, sir. I would like to make one more statement, if I might.
Mr. DANIELS. Yes.
Mr. CHRISTOFERO. In some of the newspaper articles in the past few months there have been indications that the Boy Scouts of America is opposed to Federal legislation. I think our testimony here today and the testimony of my predecessor, Mr. Turner, bears out that that is not so. So if I were to close with anything, I would say we offer our help and consider ourselves on call to you and heartily endorse and will give whatever assistance we can.
Mr. DANIELS. Thank you for your offer, sir. This concludes today's hearing and the next hearing will be held Friday, on the 7th of June at Bear Mountain and additional ones here in Washington on June 12 and 13.
STATEMENT OF L. S. CHRISTOFERO, MANAGER, CAMPING AND ENGINEERING
SERVICE, Boy SCOUTS OF AMERICA
INTRODUCTION The Boy Scouts of America has carefully reviewed HR 1486 to be cited as “Youth Camp Safety Act.”
Since it has always been concerned about the welfare of all youth, the Boy Scouts of America heartily endorses the intent of this bill as it did predecessor bills on youth camp safety.
THE SCOPE OF SCOUT CAMPING
The Boy Scouts of America is chartered by Congress and reports to that body each year. We feel a deep obligation to provide safe, healthy camping opportunities for young people.
Local Scout councils throughout America camp approximately 780,000 young people in its 600 long-term summer camps annually.
TROOP AND PATROL CAMPING
In addition to their long-term summer camp experience, hundreds of thousands of young people enjoy short-term (weekend) hikes and camps throughout the year with their own troop or patrol.
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Since this requires eternal vigilence in matters of health and safety, the National Standard Camp Rating has been developed over the years for all Boy Scouts of America long-term camps. The rating contains 117 separate items ranging from safety standards to program standards.
This rating includes a pre-camp inspection required 30-60 days prior to camp opening and a full inspection soon after each camp opens.
These inspections are conducted annually carefully trained volunteer and professional adults representing the National Council, B.S.A.
The inspectors have the authority to initiate closure of a camp or any of its sections should it fail to comply with mandatory standards.
(Copy of these standards is submitted.)
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
1. Camping literature in the following manuals :
Managing the Council Outdoor Program, catalog #12001
Promoting the Great Adventure, catalog #3699 2. National Camping Schools—About 40 schools are conducted, throughout the country, to train and qualify personnel who will be holding key positions of management and program in each camp.
These camp schools are developed by National Boy Scouts of America staff personnel and conducted by trained staff people in the six Boy Scouts of America regions.
Approximately 500,000 young people and leaders are involved annually in travel groups. The Boy Scouts of America administers a tour permit system which requires all groups to file records of adequate leadership, proper vehicles, insurance, and itinerary prior to making the trip.
HEALTH AND SAFETY EMPHASIS
A national Health and Safety Committee and professional staff work with local councils in establishing policies and procedures to conduct safe camps. The Health and Safety arm of the Boy Scouts of America projects directly through to local councils in order to assure that all activities are conducted with emphasis on safety.
COOPERATION WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
The Boy Scouts of America works cooperatively with many national and local organizations, including the American Camping Association. We are, at present, working with the American Camping Association to develop a set of National Standards (camp inspection) that can be recognized by all camps within the American Camping Association and Boy Scouts of America scope of jurisdiction.
We recommend that these standards be referred to in development of any Federal Standards.
1. That legislation include all facets of organized camping in addition to recreation and education groups, programs, or clinics with camping characteristics.
2. That the Federal government, with its ultimate responsibility for the law and its minimum standards, encourage uniformity among states.
3. That implementation be the responsibility of the states.
5. That Youth Camp Safety implementation be funded by public funds, Federal, state, or both, rather than by fees from camps which would eventually come from the campers themselves.
6. That further development of the law and its implementation use the resources and expertise of recognized camp leaders and operators.