Summer camp’s abrupt closure has parents demanding answers
MOULTONBOROUGH, N.H. (AP) — Parents are demanding answers after a New Hampshire summer camp that calls itself one of the best in the nation unexpectedly shut down after just six days this month.
Officials at Camp Quinebarge notified parents in early July that they needed to pick up their children after delays in food shipments made it impossible to continue, The Boston Globe reported. All remaining sessions for the overnight camp were canceled.
But some parents told The Globe that problems appeared to go beyond food deliveries. Stories surfaced about counselors who were hired days before camp with little training. Campers reported that multiple meals were served on dirty dishes. Some parents said their children were quarantined after they vomited and that the parents were not notified.
The camp’s executive director, Eric Carlson, apologized to parents but said the closure was tied to industry-wide staffing and supply chain problems and not because of any long-term problems with the camp’s operations.
“We sincerely apologize to all those families and staff members who had their summer plans interrupted by our premature closure,” Carlson wrote in a statement.
The camp had been licensed to operate by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, but it closed before an in-season inspection was performed, a department spokesperson told The Globe.
Some parents have said they deserve a full accounting of what happened at the 85-year-old camp, which costs $3,400 for two weeks. Although some defend the camp, some have swapped horror stories on a Facebook group for aggrieved parents.
“Shock does not even begin to cover it,” said Rebecca Gove, a Foxborough, Massachusetts, parent, in a recent letter to camp officials. Gove sent two children to the camp and now moderates the Facebook group.
Soon after the camp shut down, officials sent an email saying the experience could only be good for children “if we can ensure their health and safety.”
“That is why as soon as we finish our closing work for 2021, we will begin preparing for summer 2022,” camp officials wrote.