The cancellation of the Easter residential Kids’ Camp has caused outrage this week, after the Trustee Board decided only to maintain the non-residential Kids’ Club scheme.
A previous YUSU Charities Development Officer has claimed that the decision is causing Kids’ Camp to move “backwards” and that Kids’ Camp has a “responsibility to the community” that will leave a void if cancelled.
This news follows concerns raised earlier in the academic year that the removal of the Student Development and Charities Officer from the Union would threaten the future of Kids’ Camp. It is no longer within the Student Activities Officer’s remit to manage and run the camp, and finding someone to take on the responsibility has proved problematic due to the experience and training required to take on the responsibility of the project. The previous Officer maintains, however, that “the only way there could be a potential liability is if they [Kids’ Camp] were seen to be negligent.”
The previous Officer cites how “impressed” the Chair of Safeguarding in York was by how “well covered” Kids’ Camp was when she was an Officer in the Union.
She added: “The Union has the responsibility within the city to fill the gap within the community.”
Jamie Tyler, Student Development Officer from 2008-2009, said: “There needs to be someone in the Sabb team to champion Kids’ Camp.”
One member of the Kids’ Camp Working Group, a sub-committee of the Trustee Board, told Nouse: “All the training that we have to go through makes it impossible for there to be any potential liability… Kids’ Camp has been running for 40 years and has never encountered any problems before.”
Tim Ngwena, YUSU President and Chair of the Trustee Board, commented: “Unfortunately, the primary concern has to be the liability… People have to separate the emotional attachment they have to the experience with the management and organisation of the project.” He added that one of the reasons why there have not been more meetings regarding establishing a residential project this Easter is because it “costs so much money and staff time” to hire a person to organise and manage Camp.
This follows information given to Nouse this week detailing how there have been no more than two Kids’ Camp meetings this term. One member of the Working Group also complained to Ngwena about the minuting of the meeting, in which it was officially decided that Easter Camp would run as a non-residential project.
Rhianna Kinchin, Chair of the Working Group, has been accused of failing to take “adequate minutes” during the meeting, in which the decision made was “huge… for a project that has run for over 40 years, and represents a massive failure on both a democratic and good governance dimension.” Kinchin stated in her manifesto last year that she wanted “to work for the future of Kids’ Camp” and that this meant “finding a way of running camp with minimum risk.”
Tyler added: “They [YUSU] can definitely do more to save Kids’ Camp.”
Kinchin commented: “I fed back the suggestions of the informal group to the Trustee Board where the Board asked for an extensive review and decided to formally recognise the group; the decision to make Kids Camp non-residential at Easter had to be taken to ensure the project’s future.”