Owner has issue with story

in

To The Editor:
The Catskill Mountain News and writer Brian Sweeney must be made aware that they have now participated not only in unjustly damaging the reputation of Camp Move IT™ but the Catskill Mountain News has also just validated the entitled, self righteous, needy and narcissistic swagger of a young generation that is clueless about the meaning of hard work, work ethic and respect for their employers.

Employing young adults of this Millennial Generation is a challenge acknowledged across the boards of the business world. This generation’s sense of entitlement is an ingrained trait, buffed and polished by an upbringing of trophies and accolades just for showing up to school or the athletic field. These young employees only know communication through media. They have no concept of and in fact are quite fearful of face-to-face conversation of any sort. Speak with passion or strength in your tone or be critical of their performance and they break down because they perceive that as a screaming attack. These “Gen Y” employees then take that perception and run with it to state agencies and media outlets with accusations of verbal abuse. These former employees are high maintenance rookies in the world of interpersonal communication, needing constant positive reinforcement and specific step-by-step directions for how to complete the simplest tasks. They are so fearful of critique that they would rather accomplish nothing than risk being told they may have done something wrong. They have no clue about the value of risk taking and the empowerment received from being innovative go getters in the work place or in life. These young women are exactly the opposite of what Camp Move IT represents.

We provide girls an environment where they are safe to take risks, be innovative and most of all be open to the personal voices and opinions of others, even if what is said is sometimes hard to hear. It is most unfortunate that some of the women we employed to lead our campers misinterpreted this as damaging and demeaning. We had employees here this summer who seem to believe that they have a right to hold our choice of lifestyle and our all inclusive business model against us, to the point of lying about and distorting the true sequence of events to justify their actions against Camp Move IT™.

The mission of Camp Move IT™ is one Taylor Blake needed for her own personal growth. Ms. Blake is quoted as saying that she “wanted to share in this with the campers.” This is actually quite true, Ms. Blake needed and desired to be a camper, not a leader.  Ms. Blake commented on how we hurt her self esteem and once training was over it was apparent that Ms. Blake had arrived suffering from low self esteem issues alongside her own obvious personal identity crisis, which was challenged by the fact that we her employers, are a gay couple.

Her personal beliefs simply were not compatible with our inclusive environment making it impossible for her to be present with children in a positive accepting manner. Ms. Blake was fired and driven to the bus stop, which in Delhi is at the gas station.

We resent Mr. Sweeney’s pernicious accounting of her say on this matter and question the Catskill News dedicating two pages of the paper to the whining and babble of naive young adults who believe they are entitled to full pay when they only worked for a few days of their contract. What exactly was the intention of Mr. Sweeney’s sensationalist writing?  The women he quoted are upset because they must wait to be paid while we sort out with the Labor Department what our rights are regarding their payment. They of course feel entitled to full pay and clearly hold Camp Move IT™ responsible for their inability to be responsible employees.

They are no longer employed because of their insubordinate behavior, drug addiction, questionable character and overall unacceptable job performance. I should not have to prove my right to terminate such employees due to Mr. Sweeney’s irresponsible reporting. I am dismayed that I must publicly defend my business. Let me be clear, Camp Move IT™ operated under full approval from the NYS Department of Health and every other agency involved in permitting us to run our 2012 season. 

Mr. Sweeney retold the accounts of these disgruntled and vengeful former employees as though they were the reasons camp closed. Camp Move IT™ closed just a few days early for reasons totally unrelated to anything reported by Mr. Sweeney and we demand an apology and a retraction of his misrepresentation of Camp Move IT™. It is true that our property is in a constant state of improvement. Camp Move IT has struggled financially due to the incomplete job and alleged breach of contract on the part of Second Nature Construction in the summer of 2011. We are in the midst of a legal suit against Lee Liddle to hold him accountable for the damage we believe he has done to our business. 

The sounds that echo through our valley on Pink Street are sounds of joyous girls engaged in dynamic relationships, singing, dancing and laughing and yes crying too because for perhaps the first time in their young lives they are in a place where they feel safe to reveal their most authentic selves, discover newfound passions and grow with the realization that their new-found courage will change the way they encounter the world. 

In the words of eight-year-old campers Rosie and Antonia ... “A lot of girls come here to have fun and learn who they really truly are.”

Our hope as the owners of Camp Move IT is that the experiences our girls share will empower them to perhaps shift the entitled dynamic that pervades their upbringing in the rest of their lives.
Our hope as business owners is that we will be treated with respect and accepted for the diligence we display in working to create a successful business in this community.

Brigid McGinn and Jill Powell, owners
Camp Move IT,
Bovina

Editor’s Note: The News stands behind its story on Camp Move IT’s troubles, as reported in the August 8 issue.
The camp owners were contacted for the story and provided their views regarding our questions.
The owners’ statements were included in the story, as were comments from others who expressed, what we determined, were valid concerns regarding the camp’s operation.