When you swim in a pool with small children, you run certain risks. Everyone has to be extra careful to keep an eye on the little ones. And you have to accept the fact that accidents might happen. Children swimming in a pool aren’t known for their bladder control. That’s what the chlorine is for.
Apparently, the camp counselors at an Ohio YMCA were not quite as understanding when a child defecated in the pool. After trying to get the perpetrator to come forward, the counselors made campers come to a private office two-by-two and strip of their suits to be checked.
Understandably, parents of the campers were not happy about the situation. One of them reported the incident to the Lancaster police department who took the case from there. The report shows that none of the children were touched inappropriately, simply made to pull down their shorts, then go shower off and change into their day clothes. The YMCA has issued a statement saying that they are launching an internal investigation to find out exactly what happened and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
I can understand the camp counselors’ frustration when they suddenly had to deal with poop in the pool. It would be pretty intensely irritating. And I really don’t think that the adults were trying to be inappropriate when they asked kids to submit to this search. But whether that was their intention or not, the whole situation was not handled correctly.
First of all, if you’re working with kids as young as five, you should have been prepared for something like this to happen. Potty training happens at all types of levels. And while most kindergartners are fully trained, accidents happen. But even though five is young enough to have an accident, its also old enough to be embarrassed about it. Of course that child didn’t want to admit in front 65 other students that they had an accident! They were mortified! Creating a huge, humiliating issue was exactly the wrong response.
I think the biggest problem with this story is that it communicates the lack of qualifications these people had. Counselors who were used to dealing with young children would have handled this issue much better. But if you throw some underpaid teenagers into a Y and put them in charge of 65 kids, you’re going to have problems. Unfortunately, this one became a much bigger issue than it had to be. I hope this will bring more than an internal investigation to the Y. I hope it will encourage them to train their counselors to deal with young kids.