Summer camp canceled; what's a mom to do?

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by JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA

Posted on June 26, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 26 at 5:23 PM

CEDAR HILL — Tyronda Trunnell is spending part of this week in her Cedar Hill home entertaining her four young children.

She was supposed to be at work, but the single mother was forced to take time off after her kids’ summer camp was suddenly canceled.

“I think it was really unprofessional,” she said. “They really could have taken more time to give the parents a lot more notice.”

Trunnell said she was told Friday afternoon while picking up her kids that the summer camp — which is run out of the city’s recreation center — was canceled for the next week.

The city handed out letters to arriving parents informing them “a decision has been made to cancel the remaining weeks of the summer camp program. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.”

“I don’t have any family here,” said Trunnell, whose husband died recently in a car accident. “Nobody put any thoughts into the parents. They just didn’t care.”

Although Cedar Hill’s summer camp program was held in the city’s recreation center, it was run by an outside company called Lucky Longhorns. Its director, Jacquede Moore, said she and her staff of 15 were told Friday their contract was suddenly being canceled.

“They kicked us out,” Moore said, adding it affected about 65 kids. “I was very surprised, because I found myself kind of like, shaking. It was surreal.”

Rhoda Savage, Cedar Hill’s parks and recreation director, told News 8 she had to pull the plug halfway through the six-week camp after discovering problems with the background checks on some of the employees.

“This is in the best interest of the kids,” Savage told News 8. “We had about seven people who either didn’t show up, or didn’t pass what would be a basic level for them to be employed with the city.”

Savage said she canceled the contract after trying to work with Moore for several weeks to get the employees screened. Moore strongly denies that assertion.

“Why are you not going to come talk to me about it?” Moore asked. “If these were a few individuals, how can you go ahead and shut down the whole program?”

To help minimize inconvenience, Cedar Hill said it now offers its own summer camp — operated by city workers — as well as refunds for any upset parents.

“It was something we found out about pretty quickly,” Savage said, “so we had to make a quick decision.”

That offers little comfort to Trunnell, who decided not to bring her children back to the recreation center.

“I’m supposed to trust my kids with someone I’ve never met? No. I won’t do that,” she said.

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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