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Binah Magazine Joins Forces With Agudath Israel And Local Politicians To Advance The Issue Of Camp Security

An innovative meeting of the minds took place last week at Camp Agudah in follow up to a recent article on Camp Security published by Binah Magazine.  Organized by the author of the article, Mrs. Shoshana Bernstein, the event brought together Assemblyman Dov Hikind, Senate hopeful Simcha Felder and Camp Director Mr. Meir Frischman putting ‘feet on the ground’ in a collaborative effort to create forward momentum on this pivotal issue.

The article, which included an interview with Jerome Hauer, the New York State Commissioner of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) as well as input from Mr. Yanky Meyer of Misaskim and Dr. Norman Blumenthal, renowned child psychologist, provided an eye-opening look at the security challenges camps and schools face and outlined steps that can and should be taken to ensure our children’s safety to the best of our ability.

Dov Hikind and Simcha Felder, whose commitment to our communities was evidenced by their having taken the time to make the lengthy drive from Brooklyn,  were privy to a first-hand look at the security measures in place at Camp Bnoseinu as well as Camp Agudah.

“Simcha and I were impressed with the security at the front gates and were glad to be challenged by the personnel on guard,” stated Dov Hikind. “It didn’t matter when I told them I was an Assemblyman and Simcha was a Senate hopeful,” he added with a laugh, quickly turning serious when contemplating what the lack of security could mean for the thousands of children who spend their summers away from home.

“I was informed about two incidents which occurred right after the article came out and underscored the need to educate staff and children regarding security protocols,” shared Mrs. Bernstein. In one incident a camp conducted a fire drill in the morning; as a result everyone knew what to do when a fire broke out that same evening. The other scenario painted a very different picture–a van full of miscreants accessed a camp on Friday night, drove around for several minutes, shot a BB gun and then left.

Meir Frischman pointed out that the first line of defense in any camp or school is visible security measures which act as a deterrent to anyone looking to create trouble or find an easy target. A discussion ensued and thoughts and ideas were shared regarding steps that can be taken by camp directors, school administrators, parents and educators.  

“It is incumbent upon us to be proactive rather than reactive,” Assemblyman Hikind stated. Mr. Felder echoed the sentiment and added that parents must become educated consumers. “Before registering your child in camp or school, call and find out what security measures they have in place!” By displaying interest and concern parents can compel camps and schools to examine and improve upon existing security measures and protocols.

All agreed that adequate lighting, walkie talkies to facilitate communication between head staff members, background checks on all employees and a front gate with someone manning it are examples of basic measures that every camp must take. In addition, the potential impact of empowering children by educating them regarding safety protocols year-round was discussed and the catch phrase “See Something, Say Something” cited as a powerful tool.  

The participants took this thought one step further discussing the need for every school and camp to institute a visible means by which visitors can be identified as having been approved for access.  A bright label marked ‘visitor’ and/or a bright colored wrist band would allow staff and students and campers to see at a glance that an unfamiliar person was officially allowed on campus. Students could be taught that if the label is missing they should immediately report to someone familiar and will be commended for doing so.

The event concluded with an enjoyable meet and greet. The campers’ smiling faces underscored why the effort was made to address the issue and each participant reiterated their intent to remain focused on doing their part to further the cause of security both in camp, in school and across our communities. TLS.

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There are 7 Comments to "Binah Magazine Joins Forces With Agudath Israel And Local Politicians To Advance The Issue Of Camp Security"

  • LinSanity says:

    im a long time agudah boy and its about time that they do something about this

  • #1 says:

    There was NEVER any issue in Agudah to spark any issues….

  • 100 p right says:

    good move

  • me says:

    another way to throw tax payers money out the window
    but better this than other things

  • Witnessed with my own eyes says:

    I am a long time “Camp Guy”. From being a camper for many years, junior staff member, senior staff member, and now division head. I feel this is a wonderful thing that they did by getting together to discuss security issues. Its long over do.
    However, I do feel that they need to discuss and make a much bigger deal about the security of the campers from people who are in camp itself, more than from intruders from the outside.
    I am referring to the security of campers from counselors, d.h.’s, rabbeim, and possibly even head staff members. There are too many stories that go on every year of boys and girls who get molested from people who they trust, and think care for them. The most common and vulnerable place is clearly in a sleep away camp. I have witnessed it myself more than once. Scary. Sadly. Yes, I did inform the head counselor, and sadly the staff member got thrown out of camp after admitting to what he did. Police were not called. But the head counselor made the staff member promise to stay in touch with him about the effort the Bochur is doing to control his desires. I don’t know where either of the guys are today, but I really hope that they got some professional help.
    I went to a very popular camp. No need to say which one, because this goes on in EVERY CAMP! I have discussed with friends from all walks of life in my history of going to camp. Each and every one told me there are stories in there camps EVERY SINGLE YEAR! NO EXAGGERATIONS.
    All i’m trying to bring out is that every parent MUST MUST MUST speak to there children about unhealthy relationships! Unhealthy touch! And never be scared to tell someone of what happened. Each parent must learn the proper way of addressing this issue with there children. Because it does happen sadly. But it can be prevented. Its in the parents hands to educate their children.
    As well, all head staff members must give speeches to there staff members, let them get scared to do something they shouldn’t. Know that people will be looking out for it.
    There is nothing that’s 100% fool proof, but the more effort we put in to try and protect our children, the better chance we have of making sure they don’t get hurt.

    From an eye witness of a few molestations and abuses.

  • "I will always be a ruch country boy..." says:

    The sister camp of Agudah is Camp Bnos, not Bnoseinu…

  • anonymous says:

    To #6 Camp Bnos was divided into a younger division called Bnoseinu a few years ago.

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