PASADENA (CBSLA) — Last June, 6-year-old Roxie Forbes drowned in a swimming pool at an Altadena day camp while a lifeguard was on duty.
“Roxie meant everything to us,” Doug Forbes, her father, said. “She was our morning, our noon, our night.”
“I was in awe of Roxie’s compassion, empathy and bravery,” Elena Matyas, Roxie’s mother, said.
Forbes and Matyas said they were drawing on their only child’s bravery to get through the pain of her passing and to make sure that what happened to her doesn’t happen to other children. The pair said Roxie’s death was not a tragic accident, but was instead a preventable drowning.
In the wake of her death, Roxie’s parents said there was no accountability from Summerkids Camp.
“No explanation was offered, it was quite the opposite,” Matyas said.
And an investigation by state officials later found that the camp was operating without a license.
“We realized very, very quickly and, in doing our own due diligence, that this was just not an L.A. County licensing issue,” Forbes said. “This was a statewide issue where the day camps are effectively not licensed.”
Since then, Forbes and Matyas have been working with local and state authorities to push for legislation that protects young campers.
Earlier this month, State Senator Anthony J. Portantino introduced The Roxie Rules Act, which aims to provide more oversight of summer camps in California by bringing them in line with other regulated services such as daycare facilities.
And just recently, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed an injunction against Summerkids Camp to prevent the company from continuing to operate without a license.
“Our goal is not to shut camps down, our goal is to keep kids safe, and our attorney general took that to heart,” Matyas said. “It’s not about us, it’s about Roxie. It’s about honoring her.”
In response to the injunction, Summerkids Camp issued the following statement:
“We have received the complaint and are reviewing it closely. We have been working with the authorities to resolve this matter since it was first brought to our attention.”
Forbes and Matyas have also filed suit against the camp that they say is all about accountability.