HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa. (AP) _ A suburban Philadelphia private swim club turned away children from a day camp after the camp's director says members questioned why Black people were swimming there.
The children from the Creative Steps day camp in northeast Philadelphia were at the club June 29. Executive director Alethea Wright said Wednesday three children told her they heard members of The Valley Club asking what Blacks were doing there. Wright's camp had paid $1900 to The Valley Swim Club.
Wright says the club refunded the camp's swimming fees without explanation several days later.
Club President John Duesler said in a statement that "there was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club." He said the complaints didn't involve race. Horace Gibson, a parent of a day camp child told NBC Philadelphia that all the White children immediately left the pool when the Black children arrived. Gibson said a pool attendant told the children the club didn't allow minorities.
Duesler did not immediately respond to messages left for him Wednesday by The Associated Press at the club and at his home.
According to NBC Philadelphia, Girard College, a private boarding school for children of low-income and single parent homes, allowed the Creative Steps camp use of their facilities. The owners of a local ice cream company treated the campers to a day of candy and ice cream making, as well.
U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., has announced plans to launch an investigation against the Valley Swim Club.