School will be soon be out but if it’s up to the New York State Health Department, a lot of city kids might be spending their time indoors.
The New York State Health Department created a list of what they deemed “risky recreational activities” and is forcing many summer programs to ban these games unless they shell out extra funds to be recognized as an official summer camp. They say the activities listed pose a “significant risk of injury” and have been named as hazards which need to be regulated at day camps.
While proper supervision and safety concerns rank high on every parent’s list of priorities, the games that have been deemed unsafe and risky might shock a lot of city parents who grew up playing these ‘dangerous’ games.
For starters, kids can kiss wiffle ball, dodge ball, and kick ball goodbye. Horseback riding and scuba make the list and more understandably, archery. But so does freeze tag, Frisbee, steal the bacon and tug of war!
According to the NY Daily News, under the new rules, any program that offers two or more organized recreational activities – with at least one of them on the risky list – is deemed a summer camp and subject to state regulation. Health Department spokeswoman Diane Mathis said the list of risky activities was crafted with help from camp groups.
Sen. Patty Ritchie says, “It looks like Albany bureaucrats are looking for kids to just sit in a corner in a house all day and not be outside.” She also points out that the regulations could cripple small recreational programs, forcing them to pay a $200 fee to register as a summer camp and provide medical staff.
So all those city kids who attend small summer programs (and possibly cannot afford a large camp) will be not be allowed to play these so-called hazardous games, and possibly spend the day engaging in more sedentary activities. Besides the obvious impact that will come from making kids even less active in an era where childhood obesity had reached epic proportions, the banning of typical and very normal kids’ games is robbing kids of normal fun.
When I was little, that is all we did. We hung outside our house and played all those games- with barely any supervision! And we all survived… and had a lot of creative group fun and physical activity in the process. My kids have gone to summer programs that weren’t camps where they played all these games and loved it. And they always came home in one piece. Just the other day, my eight-year-old was playing Red Rover in the schoolyard (another banned game).
By becoming hyper-vigilant about safety precautions, we are raising a generation of paranoid kids that are missing a large part of childhood. Maybe if we let kids be kids, a lot of them would lose the video games, lessen the pent up aggression and actually have good old-fashioned fun.
UPDATE 4/20/2011 Health Dept. officials quickly scrap the list and say a new one will created. Click here for further details.