Problems at a Catholic Summer Camp


My husband’s younger sister is a youth counselor at a CYO camp. She says that there are alot of problems there. The counselors are all sick, the directors are overbearing and constantly threaten the counselors that they will fire them, telling them they are expendable. They only get one day of rest between sessions and they can’t stay at the camp, but have to travel to wherever they can find a place to crash. She said that they are also driven very hard while they are there, and get very behind on their sleep.

She says that not all of the counselors are Catholic. She told us that they found pot and meth this session at the place where the smokers go to smoke, so that tells you that some of the counselors and/or kitchen staff are using drugs.

She told us that she spoke to the camp nurse this session, and she said that she felt like a prisoner there, that the directors had been rude and overbearing to her, even though the nurse is in her 40s and the camp directors themselves are in their 20s. She told us that the nurse had approached the directors about the lack of sanitation in the bathrooms that the counselors were sharing with her, that there was no soap and the bathroom was filthy, but nothing was done about it. Then the nurse also came down with the same type of illness.

My sister-in-law loves working with the kids, but she’s disenchanted with this camp. She said that they don’t really emphasis the Catholic faith in particular but try to be overly ecumenical.



So she should go to the director’s boss and file a formal complaint. :shrug:

As for the drugs, notify the cops. That can be done anonymously. Then notify all the churches that send kids there.



And she should copy the Archbishop of the area with her reports. The diocese needs to know this is going on.


Emphatically, she should report this.


She’s only 19 years old, I think she feels too intimidated. She says that she plans on sticking it out but will never work there again. She is also afraid of getting fired if she speaks up, the director is very controlling and threatens them constantly.


Is this camp sponsored by a parish or diocese? If so then it needs to reported to the Priest or Bishop in charge of the camp. She does not have to report it, you can off of what she is telling you.


This camp is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Seattle. We live on the other side of the state, in the diocese of Spokane. I’ll talk to my husband and see what he wants to do.


A phone call the the Bishops office with your concerns will not hurt. You do not need to ID yourself or your relationship to your niece.


Okay, this is scaring the heck out of my. My son was just there. Oye.


Getting fired should be the least of her worries. If they have illegal drugs on the premises and they get busted, what makes her think she won’t be implicated, especially if the boss is the controlling, threatening type? She needs to notify the authorities before she finds herself in a lot of trouble.

As for lack of sanitation, an anonymous call to the health department is in order especially if people are getting sick from it. That might even be enough to shut the camp down and launch an investigation.

She needs to speak up. Tell her to pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance. I know it will be hard, but someone has to do this for the sake of the children who are being entrusted to this place!


My husband has defered taking any action to his parents. They are contemplating encouraging her to drop out of the program. Thanks for all the imput!


The things described are concerning, and should be reported.

What you describe does put children at risk of harm:

**Abuse refers to an intentional act committed by a person in a position of trust which harms or threatens to harm a minor’s (under age 18) or vulnerable adult’s physical or mental welfare.”

And the Diocese does require reporting of these situations:

**"It is the policy of the Archdiocese of Seattle that all of the following groups are required to follow the mandated guidelines for reporting suspected abuse of children and vulnerable adults:

Priests** (outside of Sacramental Confession)
All school personnel
Pastoral staff who work with minors or vulnerable adults:
*]Children’s choir masters
*]RCIA and RCIC instructors
*]Religious education staff
*]Youth ministers[/LIST]Volunteers:
Scout leaders
Youth leaders
And, any other individuals who have regular, ongoing, unsupervised access to minors or vulnerable adults.

Individuals making a good faith report to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) or local authorities are protected from retaliatory actions."


Thanks Kate. I agree, this is very troubling. The counselors, however, are all 18 and 19. They are the ones who are suffering due to poor management and poor sanitation at the camp. She told us that the campers are treated well.

It is concerning that there is drug use at the camp. That is probably a problem that crops up at other youth camps however. I suppose the camp made a police report.


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