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It is important to note that this legislation is not aimed at responsible camping organizations which may already operate under stricter programs than those called for in the bill. I believe that these camps will welcome a regulatory program which will put an end to the 'fly by nighť camping operations which mar the reputation of the entire industry.
Nor does the bill in any way diminish the great contribution to youth camp safety made by private and civic groups such as the American Camping Association. On the contrary, this legislation would only further the work these groups have begun and help them to achieve their goal of safe camping facilities for our young people.
Mr. Chairman, we set safety standards for our cars, our food and even for children's toys. How then can we continue to ignore the desperate need for safety regulations for camping, an enterprise as potentially dangerous as any of these? I hope you agree that one life needlessly lost in a preventable camping mishap is compelling testimony to the need for youth camp safety legislation. Thank you.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. J. J. PICKLE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS
FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for this opportunity to submit a statement on H.R. 1486, or the Youth Camp Safety Act.
In 1972 I proposed an amendment, which was adopted, to a similar. bill. My amendment required an HEW study to be done on the problems of safety in camps across the nation. I did so because I wanted the Congress to have the best evidence possible as to the need, if any, for Federal legislation.
I was disappointed that HEW did not complete its study sooner and wrote the Department several times urging them to move forward.
I am now glad to see the study is completed.
I am also happy to report to this Committee that after our discussion here on the 1972 Youth Camp Safety Act, my own State of Texas has passed a Youth Camp Safety Act. From all reports that I have, both from legislators, administrators, and camp owners, this is a good bill with teeth. It sets up good standards for camp safety. I am personally proud of this development for two reasons:
1. I feel that the Congressional inquiry on the national level has spurred some state legislatures to move forward. I personally encouraged the passage of the Texas bill;
2. I also will again take the position supported by the Department of HEW that the states should lead the way in passing youth camp safety legislation.
The HEW study recommends a system where the Federal government will play a watchdog role over the states in their policing of camp safety. I think that this is a proper role for the Federal government.
Federal regulations would, in my opinion, result in more trouble than it is worth as the bureaucracy will not be able to regulate the many camps in different states in an effective manner, and will perhaps limit camping opportunities to many youths.
State regulation on the other hand can be more effective as each state will be able to mold its regulations, and the administration of its regulations, to meet the safety problems that will differ from state to state. State regulation will also provide good and safe camping opportunities on an ample basis.
I realize that many of the states at this time have not moved forward with camping legislation. This is regrettable. I hope the states will take action here.
If the Committee feels that the states will not pass model safety legislation, and that a Federal system of regulation is needed, I would urge the Committee to be mindful of the states that have already passed sa ty legislation.
I would hope that the Committee, if it does decide to recommend legislation, would allow the states that have good safety legislation for camps to continue to be the enforcer of youth camp safety instead of being supplanted by a far-away bureaucracy.
Your consideration of my views is appreciated.
STATEMENT OF Hon. LOWELL WEICKER, JR., A U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF
Mr. Chairman, as we approach the summer vacation season, we are once again faced with the appalling lack of federal protection for the health and safety of the millions of youngsters who will be attending summer camp.
More than 4 years ago, as a Member of the House of Representatives, I cosponsored legislation in this area. I believe the problem has been studied enough since that time, and that the moment is right for legislative action. That is why I have cosponsored S. 1830, the “Youth Camp Safety Act."
The person who has done more than anyone else to promote camp safety is Mr. Mitch Kurman of Connecticut, and I am sure that his testimony before you today will be both comprehensive and compelling. There is little I could add to the substantive portion of his testimony, but I do want to express my support for his efforts in this area.
It is my sincere hope that H.R. 1486 will receive favorable action by the House of Representatives as soon as possible.
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C., October 1, 1974. Hon. CARL D. PERKINS, Chairman, Education and Labor Committee, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : Enclosed please find a copy of the letter reecived from Mrs. Bonnie D. French, Headmistress of Hillbrook School in my congressional district.
You will note Mrs. French believes that youth camp safety legislation currently under review by your committee would place an unwarranted burden on the taxpayer, and that existing camp safety programs are adequate.
I shall appreciate your reviewing Mrs. French's remarks and making sure that the Committee members consider views such as those expressed by my constituent as further consideration of H.R. 16420 occurs. Thanking you, and with best wishes, I am Yours sincerely,
CHARLES S. GUBSER,
Member of Congress.
Los GATOS, CALIF., September 25, 1974. Re House bill 1486 by Daniels. Hon. CHARLES GUBSER, House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SIR: It has been brought to my attention that Congress is considering legislation on youth camp safety. I would like to voice our opinion on this legislation because I feel that our camps are more than adequately supervised and regulated by our present state laws and departments. The addition of federal regulations would increase the cost of running our government at a time when we certainly do not need to increase government spending and would make, in my opinion, no appreciable difference in the operation of our camps.
I would appreciate your reading the HEW survey on youth camps which shows that our youth camp safety is well-organized and not a problem.
As a camp director as wall as a former camp parent, I feel that the House bill 1486 is unnecessary, unwarranted and an additional burden on the taxpayer. Thank you so much for your attention to this request. Sincerely yours,
BONNIE D. FRENCH, Headmistress, Hillbrook School.