Lack of lifeguards halts Camp Northern Lights in Haliburton for season

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The Peterborough Examiner

Friday, July 14, 2017 2:23:31 EDT AM

Head lifeguard Joshua Avery Scott keeps a watchful eye on swimmers at the Camp Vincent pool on Thursday, July 30, 2015. DON ROBINET/POSTMEDIA NETWORK file photo

Head lifeguard Joshua Avery Scott keeps a watchful eye on swimmers at the Camp Vincent pool on Thursday, July 30, 2015. DON ROBINET/POSTMEDIA NETWORK file photo

Camp Northern Lights in Haliburton, a summer camp for kids that had Rev. Bill Moloney as its long-time director, is taking a summer off this year – and a board member says it’s due to a lack of qualified lifeguards.

Mary Jane Smith, a member of the camp’s board of directors, said the hiatus has nothing to do with a recent police investigation that resulted in no charges against Moloney.

The camp is taking a summer off because they couldn’t hire enough lifeguards, she said.

“We looked everywhere for qualified staff,” Smith said.

Moloney is a Catholic priest who was investigated – but not charged – by the Ontario Provincial Police after someone brought allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

The alleged misconduct was reported to have taken place in the 1980s, at Camp Northern Lights.

Moloney was director of the camp at the time and was still director when he was reported to police in November.

He stepped down as camp director during the investigation and hasn’t returned (Randy Riel is now the director).

In December, the OPP announced it had investigated and wouldn’t be bringing charges against Rev. Moloney.

On Monday, the Catholic Diocese of Peterborough stated that it had completed an internal investigation and that the bishop was returning Moloney to his job as minister on Wednesday.

And on Thursday, a spokesman with the Catholic school board stated that Rev. Moloney will continue his pastoral duties with four Peterborough schools in September. (The priest was suspended during the investigation.)

Spokesman Galen Eagle said Rev. Moloney will continue his duties at St. Peter Secondary School, Immaculate Conception School, Monsignor O’Donoghue School and St. Patrick School.

Those schools are part of the local Catholic school board, which is called the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board.

Meanwhile, Smith said all of this coincided with a lack of lifeguards, this summer.

She said there was a shortage of applicants, due to stringent new rules for camp lifeguards.

Smith said lifeguards have to be older now, and their training is more rigorous than ever. It meant there were very few candidates for the jobs.

She said the board of directors voted in May to take the summer off to do renovations at the camp and develop new programs.

There were a few campers already registered at the time, Smith said, but not many.

Smith said the board of directors will meet again in September; at that time, they may discuss whether Moloney will serve again at camp.

She said a lot of “options” will be discussed then.

“A lot of things will be looked at,” she said.

Smith also said she doesn’t think the police investigation – or the Diocesan investigation that followed – will tarnish the camp’s reputation.

“The camp is run by a board (of directors),” she said – not Moloney.

Camp Northern Lights was established in the 1970s by the Knights of Columbus. It’s meant for kids aged nine to 13.

Meanwhile, the board is looking to resume camp in the summer of 2018. Smith said there have been 2,300 campers over the last decade at Camp Northern Lights.

Next year they will get started early, in their quest to hire lifeguards.

“We will be recruiting early – and hoping we get the right people,” Smith said.

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1 Response to Lack of lifeguards halts Camp Northern Lights in Haliburton for season

  1. Sylvia says:

    Lifeguards or no I trust the diocese will share with camp officials all relevant information acquired during its investigation into the Father Moloney allegations. The same holds true for educators at the various schools at which Father Moloney has “duties.”

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