On Tuesday, ARC Broward’s Kamp Krayola campers which consisted of 30 children ages 5 through 12 who have autism and other special needs, went on a field trip to Funtastic Cafe in Tamarac. According to ARC Broward, the trip was reserved in advance, and Funtastic Cafe’s staff was made aware that the children have special needs. The group was scheduled from 12 – 3p.m.
The camp arrived late to their session, according to Doug Caires, Manager of Funtastic Cafe, who said this wasn’t the problem. The first problem he said was that campers were naked in the middle of both the men and women’s bathrooms and customers complained. During this time, Caires observed one of the counselors sitting in the back reading a book and not overseeing the campers.
He said that the children were disruptive to other people that were using the facility and not being watched closely.
“I knew the situation and that these campers had special needs, and one counselor was working hard. We tried to accommodate them, but they had no supervision and customers complained and two customers left.” – Doug Caires, Manager of Funtastic Cafe
He told one counselor that they should be walking around watching the children. Children were playing in the wrong areas for their age and size which created a dangerous situation for smaller children. Caires even told a counselor that he would report them to the owner of ARC Broward.
Because they arrived late, their time was cut short, and at 3 pm their session was over. Broward ARC wanted to stay later, and Caines said that if the children were better supervised, he would have let them stay, but with the complaints, he asked them to leave.
Asked for a response, ARC Broward sent out a press release with their version of events which stated that they were asked to leave at 1:30pm, well in advance of their session expiring. They also wrote that while assisting the two campers with using the restroom, the counselor slid on the wet bathroom floor, that wasn’t caused by the campers using the bathroom, and asked another ARC staff member to get help to dry the floor.
“The disappointing behavior by one local business owner did hit home for a lot of us today,” states Dennis Haas, CEO of ARC Broward. “As an organization committed to providing a better, more fulfilled life for those individuals with autism and developmental disabilities and their families, ARC Broward will continue to work toward achieving a greater awareness for acceptance and inclusion.”
Caires insists that if they had proper supervision on the equipment and weren’t disruptive, they would have been welcome to stay longer.