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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Selecting a Safe Summer Camp for Your Kids

DAYTON -- Soon, a lot of lucky local kids will be packing off to summer camp! And for some parents, that can mean anxiety over choosing a safe camp.

We've all heard the horror stories of camp counselors taking advantage of children, so you may have reservations about sending your kids off while virtual strangers take care of them. We went to the experts to find out the questions you must have answered before you make your selection.

Next month, tens of thousands of Ohio children will pack their clothes and favorite pillow and head off to camp. Most will come  home with thrilling memories and new friends.

But in the past for a select few, that return home was accompanied by nightmares of sexual abuse.

"Every sex offender has a first time," said Dennis Elliot, American Camp Association.

But the good news for parents today is that past horrors have made hiring camp counselors a stringent process.

"It's a pretty lengthy process. We start recruiting in January," Glen Helen Ecocamp Director Janene Giuseffi said.

The state of Ohio requires applicants who have lived in Ohio for less than five years get fingerprinted and reviewed by the FBI

"It's the same clearance that teachers go through," Giuseffi added.

That's only the beginning. The American Camp Association sets specific safety standards and procedures that camps must follow, like checking  with two previous employers and two additional references and a search on the national sex offender registry.

If camps meet the more than 100 guidelines, they receive the coveted ACA accreditation.

"We've found taking these steps, putting these roadblocks with persons that have ulterior motives, it's very rare," Elliot explained proudly.

"We're looking at higher caliber with the staff. Folks with an education or social work background," Camp Joy Executive Director Amy Thompson added.  "So we feel comfortable that they have appropriate reasons why they want to work with children."

Thompson, from ACA-accredited Camp Joy, hosts kids from low-income households and kids with special needs. Camp Joy has a multi-level interview process.

"They feel and know that this is a responsibility that they have by taking care of parents' precious toys, their precious kids," Camp Joy's Jermaine Isaac added.

There have only been two documented cases of sexual abuse by a camp counselor in Ohio in the last seven years

For the ultimate skeptics who are looking another safeguard, experts says look for camps associated with a larger institution like Girl Scouts or the YMCA. In those cases there's an additional level of management monitoring the camp.

 
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