Swim club director: 'We don't discriminate'

Members of a day camp from Carnell Elementary School in Northeast Philadelphia were recently denied return access to The Valley Club, a suburban swim club, even though they'd paid, in advance, the fees associated with pool use. (James Heaney / Staff Photographer)

Inquirer staff writer Zoe Tillman reports:

The Valley Swim Club does not discriminate, said Fred Helbig, one of the club’s directors, today. Helbig, 71, who is retired and lives in Huntington Valley, has been a member of the club since 1982.

He said he was at the pool on June 29 and did not hear any members make racial comments about the children from Creative Steps Inc. day camp. He did not know why the camp’s membership was rescinded.

“We have people who are black, people who are Asian, and Russians and Jewish people,” he said. “We don’t discriminate.”

The club is facing allegations of racial discrimination after several Creative Steps campers said they heard club members make racial comments on June 29 while they were swimming at the club’s pool. The camp’s membership to the club was rescinded several days later.

Supporters of the camp are expected to gather and protest outside the club today at 5:30 p.m.

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