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Records: Kids weight loss camp opened without a license

August 7, 2021 GMT

KENT, Conn. (AP) — A children’s weight loss camp in Connecticut that closed last month amid a state investigation had opened this summer without a license and had a history of violations and other problems, according to state records.

An inspector with the state Office of Early Childhood did a surprise inspection July 2 at Camp Shane in Kent and found it had been operating without a license since June 24, according to records from the office that were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Hearst Connecticut Media.

Despite the inspector having several concerns about medical training documentation and other issues, the camp was granted a license later the same day as the inspection, the records show.

The camp later shut down July 13. The owner, David Ettenberg, told Hearst at the time that the camp closed because of a staffing shortage. Ettenberg did not return messages seeking comment by Hearst and The Associated Press about the newly released records.


Later the same day as the camp closed, however, the Office of Early Childhood and the Department of Children and Families issued a statement saying they were opening an investigation because of “concerns about the health, safety and well-being of children enrolled at the summer youth camp.”

A spokesperson for the Early Childhood Office did not have any updates on the investigation Friday.

It remains unclear whether the state investigation is related to an 8-year-old girl suffering a severe head injury at the camp shortly before it closed. Ettenberg previously said the child was injured when a goal post at an athletic field fell on her. But he said there were four staff members nearby and the staff shortage did not create a safety issue.

The camp ran briefly at South Kent School this summer. It was held in 2019 in Pomfret at The Rectory School and did not operate in 2020.

In 2019 in Pomfret, state officials found violations at Camp Shane that included problems with documentation of staff training on medication administration and with documentation of policies. During an unannounced inspection in July of that year, 34 violations were documented.

State officials said the camp lacked many medical oversight measures including not having documented medical training for staff to administer medications or proof of lifeguard certifications.

Ettenberg provided corrective action plans requested by the Early Childhood Office.