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West Hartford School Rejects Camps Run By Embattled Group


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By AMANDA FALCONE, afalcone@courant.com

The Hartford Courant

1:16 PM EDT, March 19, 2012

WEST HARTFORD —

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The American School for the Deaf has decided against hosting summer camps operated by Daniel Doyle Jr., whose Institute for International Sport has been dealing with debt, failed real estate ventures and a government audit over its use of a $575,000 grant.

The school had hosted Doyle's Camp Renaissance, a program that focuses on sports and cultural activities, and basketball skills clinics.

"As a result of the public issues Camp Renaissance is experiencing and the uncertainty they create, the American School for the Deaf believes that it is in the best interest of all concerned that we discontinue plans to have the camps at ASD this summer," said school spokeswoman Marilyn Rettig in a statement issued Monday.

Doyle, a West Hartford resident and the executive director of the Institute for International Sport, had no comment. The future of the camps is unknown.

Doyle has operated summer camps in West Hartford for more than 20 years through a for-profit business that is separate from the institute, which is a nonprofit organization. The camps have usually been held at Kingswood Oxford School, but Doyle announced last month that he would hold them at the American School for the Deaf this summer.

Doyle made the announcement shortly after Kingswood Oxford said it was reviewing Doyle's camps as well as an institute peace program that was to be held at the school in March in light of the institute's business difficulties. The March 10 peace symposium was postponed.

At the time of Doyle's announcement, American School for the Deaf Executive Director Ed Pelletier said his school did not have a written agreement with Doyle. When Doyle has used the school's facilities in the past, there have been no problems, Pelletier said. As long as Doyle's camps remain reputable and meet the necessary requirements, the school would rent space to him, he said.

"We like to treat him like every other renter," Pelletier said.

Since mid-February, more details about the institute have surfaced and more questions about the camps have been raised, prompting the school for the deaf to tell Doyle to change his summer plans.

The Rhode Island-based nonprofit organized last summer's World Scholar-Athlete Games and World Youth Peace Summit in Connecticut. Rhode Island State Police are investigating its finances, including whether Doyle put institute funds to personal use.

There have also been questions about whether people listed as members of the institute's board of directors on government documents have ever served in that role.

As for Doyle's camps, the for-profit business is not registered with either the Connecticut secretary of the state's office or the West Hartford town clerk's office. They are also not licensed with the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

State law requires youth camps to be licensed by the department. State statutes define a youth camp as any regularly scheduled program or organized group activity advertised as a camp or operated only during school vacations or on weekends for recreational purposes. To be considered a youth camp, there must be five or more children at least 3 years old and under 16.

William Gerrish, spokesman for the state health department, said his department talked to Dan a few years ago about Camp Renaissance and it was determined that the program did not need to be licensed. Doyle, however, has been informed that his basketball skills camps may need a license, Gerrish said.

Gerrish has also said the health department has no record that the world games and peace summit were licensed as youth camps.