Nothing is more important than the safety and wellbeing of our Campers. Parents and families place their trust in our commitment and efforts to provide a Camp environment where boys feel safe and secure to grow and become their best selves. Safeguarding our Campers is our daily priority and we continuously evaluate our practices to ensure we are doing all we can to protect the safety of the boys entrusted to our care. We review our practices annually and continue to seek guidance from external subject matter experts and child protection professionals. As effective practices evolve, Tecumseh will also continue to evolve.
Child Protection Policies
Camp Tecumseh is committed to the prevention of child abuse and Camp Policy is designed to comply with all federal and state laws and regulations regarding the prevention, identification, and reporting of physical, sexual, or psychological child abuse and neglect. Camp also provides training to employees to supplement this policy and the Camp Director, Director of Camper Safety and Wellness, and Camper Safety and Wellness Coordinators are available for consultation about appropriate boundaries or suspected abuse at any time. Camp employees who fail to follow Camp Policy may be terminated.
Employee Hiring, Supervising, Training, and Monitoring
- We conduct background checks for all new hires and employees each year prior to the start of Camp.
- In addition to educating staff about Camp child protection policies regarding professional boundaries and supervision ratios, Counselors receive in-person and online training to equip them to understand, detect, report, and prevent child abuse.
- New Hampshire law and Camp Policy require any person who has reason to suspect that a child under age 18 has been abused or neglected to report that suspicion immediately to both the Camp Director and the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF).
- Camp staff must model and maintain appropriate professional relationships with campers and adhere to specific guidelines about Professional Boundaries.
- Camper safety begins at the cabin level, with counselors, cabin mentors, and Camper Safety Coordinators being closely attuned to each Camper’s individual experience. Campers are encouraged to identify a member of Camp staff who they feel comfortable speaking with to share any concerns. Together, Camp staff work to provide holistic and seamless support, mentorship, guidance, and oversight for all Campers.
Our Commitment to Candor
Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our Campers – past, present and future – and direct communication, candid dialogue, and the ability to discuss sensitive matter openly and candidly with our alumni and families is an important part of promoting Camper safety. Camp Tecumseh’s principles demand that we seek a full understanding of any reports of misconduct to respect and protect our many generations of campers. While we strive to create a culture based on traditions that make good boys better, our values demand that we continuously evaluate our practices to ensure the safety of the boys entrusted to our care.
In 2015, Matthew Scavitto, a former Camp Tecumseh counselor from 2001 to 2014, was arrested and subsequently convicted of sexual abuse of two high school students in Pennsylvania, one of whom was a former Camper and Camp counselor. In response to the arrest, the Camp’s Director and the Board of Directors immediately engaged child protection professionals to conduct a review of the former counselor’s conduct, coordinated closely with local law enforcement to share information gathered in our review, communicated with Camp families about the arrest, and asked anyone with information about interactions with the former counselor to contact the Moultonborough Police Department or child protection professionals. Although no other Campers reported abuse at that time, we remained open to the possibility that other individuals may have been impacted by Scavitto, especially as we learned that Scavitto had demonstrated favoritism and engaged in boundary violations with certain Campers. That information was shared with law enforcement.
In October 2020, a second former Camper reported that he was abused by this same counselor in the early 2000s. This former Camper was one of the individuals we had identified in 2015 as a potential Camper of concern for law enforcement to pursue. In early 2016, that former Camper denied any abuse by Scavitto, however, given our understanding of the dynamics of child abuse, when the former Camper came forward in 2020 to report abuse, Camp stood ready to support and believe him. Camp Tecumseh worked to respond to the 2020 report in the same candid, forthright manner we responded in 2015. We again communicated with all Camp families who may have intersected with Scavitto, and shared information we gathered with law enforcement. We also worked collaboratively with the former Camper and his counsel to reach a mediated settlement of a civil lawsuit filed by the former Camper and have sought to understand and learn from his experience. We are deeply appreciative of his courage.
More detailed information about the Camp’s response to sexual abuse by Matthew Scavitto is available here.
Our commitment to addressing any report of abuse remains steadfast. Anyone with concerns about Camper safety or interactions is encouraged to contact:
- Camp Director Doug Knight (firstname.lastname@example.org, 610-513-8564).
- The child protection professionals from the Institutional Response Group at Cozen O’Connor:
- Leslie Gomez (215-665-5546, email@example.com)
- Gina Maisto Smith (215-665-5540, firstname.lastname@example.org),
Concerns about potential abuse can also be reported directly to:
- Jody Baker of the Moultonborough Police Department (603-476-2400, email@example.com),
- New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) (800) 894-5533 (in-state) or (603) 271-6562; available 24/7).