PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 9, 2022
By Joe Snook Administrator 220 SE Green Street, Lee’s Summit, MO 64063 816-969-1500
Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation (LSPR) has completed an internal review of the cancellation of a private event scheduled for August 6. The review identified missed processes and miscommunication that led to the cancellation. A sincere apology is owed to the Evans family and our Lee’s Summit community. LSPR strives to be a respectful and inclusive organization where all members of our community feel welcome and appreciated. Inappropriate language, social media posts and behavior are not acceptable and will not be tolerated.
The following is a summary of our investigation. On July 8, the renting party booked Summit Waves for a teen birthday party scheduled for Saturday, August 6 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and indicated 250 attendees. According to the rental forms, the event would not be publicized via social media, and fees would not be charged to attend the event. It has been our experience, that social media marketing and/or ticket sales have the potential to increase event attendance beyond the number initially stated and can result in insufficient staffing and security. The “no” answers provided on the form by the booking party did not create concerns.
The rental form indicated that 10 – 15 chaperones would be in attendance and per the rental form, security consisting of officers from the Lee’s Summit Police Department or Jackson County Sheriff’s office is required. The cost of security is paid by the rental party but is arranged and booked by LSPR. Through our investigation, LSPR found that staff failed to arrange security for the event. On the evening of Thursday, August 4, Summit Waves staff was made aware of a social media post advertising an event called “Splash Blast 2” from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Summit Waves. On the morning of Friday, August 5, Summit Waves staff called the renting party, left a message inquiring about the social media post, and requested a return call. LSPR did not receive a return call.
On Saturday, August 6, Summit Waves staff received approximately 15 calls from parents with questions (cost, hours, parent attendance, etc.) about “Splash Blast 2” and the safety of the event. Summit Waves staff called the renting party two additional times on August 6 to address concerns. LSPR made the decision to cancel the event at 5 p.m. due to the inability to contact the renting party. Safety pertaining to the anticipated crowd size and the potential impact it might have on party guests and the staff was the sole reason for the cancellation.
The renting party returned the phone call to Summit Waves staff at approximately 5:30 pm. They were notified at that time of the cancellation and that LSPR would provide a full refund. The renting party arrived around 6:15 pm at which time LSPR staff reiterated the event was canceled. Staff and police stayed on-site until the crowd dispersed at approximately 8 p.m. Lee’s Summit Police estimated the crowd to be approximately 500 people between 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
On Sunday, August 7, LSPR was made aware of a disturbing social media post made by a part-time Summit Waves lifeguard. At approximately 10 a.m. on Monday, August 8, the administrator of Parks and Recreation contacted the renting party and apologized for the poor experience the family received on Saturday night. In addition, the administrator apologized for the inappropriate and insensitive language used by staff including the social media post and advised that appropriate actions would be taken with staff. The administrator identified the internal processes that broke down and reassured the renting party that the rental cancellation was due solely to safety issues associated with potential crowd size. A refund was completed that afternoon and an offer was made to cover any additional expenses associated with the rental beyond the rental fee. The administrator and the rental party agreed to a follow-up phone call on Wednesday, August 10 to continue discussions.
LSPR intends to complete a comprehensive review of the rental process, including communication. LSPR will also enhance training to align with the City’s diversity and inclusion efforts. LSPR is committed to serving all people in our community and providing exceptional parks and recreation experiences for everyone.