We'll play at our own risk, thank you!

Adios, Red Rover. Take off, Capture The Flag. Beat it, kick ball.

Here comes the state government.

In an effort to tighten the regulations around so-called "day camps," the state Health Department, in a law that became effective April 1, reclassified such activities as "nonpassive recreational activities with significant risk of injury." (Or, as we all know it: NPRASRI. Right?)

If a program includes at least one NPRASRI it must be regulated as a children's camp. And you know what that brings with it: bureaucratic oversight (and presumably more costs to pay the bureaucrats to make sure dodge ball isn't getting out of hand) and, of course, medical oversight.

State Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie, recently threw a spotlight on this latest government intrusion.

"Summer recreation programs run on very limited budgets, but provide great opportunities for children," Senator Ritchie said in her letter to the state health commissioner. "The additional state mandated expenditure for medical staff, record keeping and permit fees without ample time to put a plan in place will very likely put an end to these programs, and will leave a vast gap in our region's ability to provide children with a safe place to play and learn during the summer months."

Add to that the unintended consequences of such regulation. At a time when the incidence of childhood obesity is being decried, the state health department is crafting supercilious regulations that encourage sedentary recreation.

Ritchie gets credit for spotting this intrusion. Pressure from politicians, residents and the national media led the Health Department to keep the law in place but "redraft" the rules, so let's hope the so-so weather holds out while they decide exactly which games will be too dangerous for our youth.

And we believe the state health department, in redrafting the regulations, should let kids be kids and maybe pursue something more substantial. Like finding a solution for the spiraling costs of New York's Medicaid system.

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