Twelve long years ago Scott Brody, Owner & Director of our overnight camp in NH, began working on a passion project. The goal was to help create and pass federal legislation that would allow summer camps access to FBI fingerprint background checks when vetting possible volunteers and employees. Criminal background checks are an essential part of a multifaceted screening process that includes personal interviews, reference checks, past employment checks and education verification. Comprehensive criminal background checks can deter those who intend to harm children from even applying for staff and volunteer positions in youth-serving organizations.
Shockingly, organizations like overnight and day camps were barred easy access to the FBI's data collecting efforts, and even worse, there were many obstacles that prevented this common sense legislation from becoming the Federal law.
Undaunted and undeterred, Scott and our colleagues at the American Camp Association worked closely with the YMCA and the National Mentoring Project to help our elected officials understand why this was necessary for the physical and emotional safety of our nation's children. For years Scott and his collaborators made regular trips to Washington, DC to meet with lobbyists, legislative aids, and even Congressmen and Senators, speaking on behalf of the camping industry, and children and parents. And after 12 long years their efforts finally came to fruition with the passing of the Child Protection Improvements Act as part of the omnibus spending bill that was signed into law on Friday.
On Tuesday, during the Camp industry's largest annual conference, NYNJ-ACA Executive Director Susie Lupert led over 2,000 Camp professionals in a thank you cheer for Scott for his years of dedication to this project. Most of the K&E Leadership Team was there and so proud to see so many Camp professionals celebrating his tireless efforts.
The organizations that pushed for the CPIA serve millions of children each year in afterschool and summer enrichment programs, mentoring programs, youth sports, day camps, overnight camps and much more. At all of them the safety of children is our top priority. While youth-serving organizations like ours have internal child-protection policies and multifaceted staff-screening procedures, too many organizations have lacked access to FBI fingerprint-based background checks. We now have another crucial tool in our toolbox to fully protect children throughout the United States!
Please join us in congratulating our friend Scott Brody on his years of dedication to the healthy and safety of America's children, and for his success in helping pass a bill that will benefit generations of future campers!