DPR is “is reviewing access to recreation centers during camp hours to ensure the safety of our campers – any change will be communicated with the public”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr.TinDC

“Dear PoPville,

Not sure if you’ve heard anything about this, but this morning I tried to visit a rec center gym and was told the facility was closed to adults until 6 pm for the rest of the summer. The explanation was that something happened last week at another rec center with a child in a camp or summer program, and so they’ve enacted this policy. I called to confirm this with DPR and was told this is in fact true. Do you have any idea what happened or is going on? Seems like a pretty bold move to close all rec centers to adults until 6PM for the rest of the summer. I’m sure I’m not the only one affected by this.”


“All outdoor pools are open to the public (adults included) Monday – Friday from 1 pm – 8 pm and on Saturday/Sunday from noon – 6 pm. Additionally, to clarify, there were no reported “incidents” involving a child at a pool last week.

The agency is reviewing access to recreation centers during camp hours to ensure the safety of our campers. This may be the source of the confusion. However, no determination has been made and any change will be communicated with the public.”

17 Comment

  • Wait, the pools associated with rec centers, too? For the rest of the SUMMER?! That seems thoughtlessly reactionary …. or, a normal Monday at DPR central.

    • Where does this say anything about pools? It just says Rec Centers in the post.

      • There are many indoor pools that are housed in the same building as rec centers (Turkey Thicket, etc.). To enter the pool you have to enter the rec center. Some of them share locker rooms as well, and there are some outdoor pools you have to enter via access through the rec center. If they bar adults from entering rec centers that effectively shuts down pool use as well. I guess they really DO mean the actual gym parts and not the facility at large, but, you know, DPR communications failure. There is nothing posted on any official channel I could find.

        • Oh, I see. I can understand the thought process now. I know that Takoma stays open despite the camps there, if that helps. You are right, better communication from DPR would be key here. I just re-read the Camp Parent Handbook and saw no reference to this.

  • this doesn’t even make sense. So I can’t accompany my 2.5 year old to the pool? DPR aquatics is so mismanaged its embarrassing. They never have enough lifeguards to fully operate, the pool hours are so ridiculous (opening at noon on Saturday?) and now this bone headed move. Emailed DPR now.

    • Rec centers, not pools. Like, the building part.

      Is this really the first year they’ve done this? I thought camp activities always resulted in limited hours for adult use?

      • Last year my kids were at Emery and it was limited access. Everyone had to sign in and the adult activities they did have were confined to the central hall as you walk in. The kids were upstairs in classrooms and no adults were allowed upstairs unless picking up a kid. Personally, I’m perfectly happy with this.

  • I dropped my son off at Petworth Rec for his first day of Little Explorers (not our first camp, but the first time I’d ever been in Petworth Rec) and the camp is taking up the entirety of the Rec Center. So it makes sense that they would do this. There are other small Rec Centers (Upshur jumps to mind) with camps, and I am sure they also take up the entire facility. Pools do not hold camps in the same way as the Rec Centers, so I can’t see them being affected.

  • This freaked me out a little since my son is 3 and in a DPR camp this summer. I called DPR Camp and they said that it’s a standard policy, nothing happened. If you’re not in camp, a parent/care giver picking up a child, or working at a camp/rec center, you’re not allowed in until 6pm. I wasn’t aware of this either, but it makes me feel better to know nothing happened to a child. I’ll let everyone else argue the virtues of it. In addition, they take the campers to pools earlier than they are open to the public, so I sort of doubt this is an issue for pools attached to rec centers. Hope that helps.

    • I’m pretty sure that if something happened to a kid at a DPR camp at the hands of a random adult walking in, it would have been all over at least the local listservs (Seriously, a kid dropped a deuce at Petworth last week and it was all the talk)

    • SkeptiDC

      This is definitely the first year I’ve heard of this happening. And how does it make any sense to not let other adults who PAY to use the fitness center (which is adults only btw) into the rec center building? Rec centers are for all DC residents, not only children, so this policy makes no sense, and it’s bizarrely punitive. If in fact something did happen to a child (which is TBD by the way) how is banning all adults that aren’t parents/caregivers going to solve what already happened or prevent it from happening in the future? There are ALWAYS children running around (unattended most of the time) at the rec centers, not just during the summer or during the day – so again, what is this policy achieving?

      • The DPR camps are also fee-based camps, so the campers are paying too. This policy may have been in force for a while and this could just be the first time that it has really been enforced, you never know. All of the this is TBD until DPR makes an actual statement.
        And just to jump full on into the child vs. anti-child troll-ism, “children running around (unattended most of the time)”? Come on. That’s total BS. Just because a child is does not have a helicopter parent hovering at all times does not mean they are unattended. When I take my kids to the playground or a splash park I am perfectly content letting them play. That does not mean they are “unattended.” Just because you don’t see an adult who looks like they could be a parent does not mean that child is unattended.

        • SkeptiDC

          I wrote that they are “unintended” based on some discussion that was going around a neighborhood listserv recently. Personally I don’t think they are really “unattended,” but most adults around DC would probably define it as such, for better or worse. My greater point was that there are lots of kids running around the rec center at all times of the day/year. And what you cite about the splash park is not what I see at the rec center. I see kids wandering the halls, peeping into the weight room, sometimes even going into the weight room, without their parent or care giver in sight. I would call that unattended, but not in a negative way. They are physically unattended at that moment, but it doesn’t mean I think they are in danger or have bad parents.

          And also, I don’t get your point about the camps being fee based? How does that affect the situation? So both the camp and the fitness membership cost money, why does one significantly trump the other?

  • binpetworth

    That’s a bummer. I regularly use my rec center fitness room in the mid-afternoon, especially on my telework days, and will have to rearrange my schedule a bit now to utilize it in the evening. It’s a little bit odd that the fitness rooms–which are restricted to adult use–are also out of bounds during this time.

    • Especially since (at least at Raymond Rec.) users of the fitness room have to pay an annual fee to use the facilities. How can they restrict access to adults who have paid to use the fitness facilities?

  • Before everyone freaks out why don’t you call or stop by your regular rec center, not the main DPR line. When I picked up my kids at camp at the Deanwood Rec Center of Friday and again when I dropped them off today there were senior citizens using the Senior Room, Adults in the indoor pool, and adult men in the gym. Nothing seemed any different other then their was a banner that said, “Welcome campers” (or “Welcome Tiny Tots” because I can’t actually remember right now). This may all be a case of one employee misinterpreting a memo or a rule.

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