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Nudist coalition leaders defend children's camp

U.S. Rep. Mark Foley asked organizers of a nudist summer camp for children to strengthen background checks of employees Monday after meeting with leaders of a coalition defending the camp.

The coalition of recreational nudist groups appealed to Foley to respect the privacy of families who send their children to the camp.

Foley called attention to the camp last month when he asked Gov. Jeb Bush to investigate whether the summer program was illegal. Bush's staff responded that they found no indication of illegal activity.

The weeklong summer camp run by the American Association for Nude Recreation at Lake Como in Land O'Lakes allows children ages 11 to 18 get together for games, sports and discussions about nudism.

"I want to make sure that they're properly regulated, properly secure, and that they're not going to have kids come in contact with undesirables," said Foley, a West Palm Beach Republican who is running for U.S. Senate.

Nudists who met with Foley said they wanted him to stop harassing the camp now that state officials said it was legal.

"It's a fundamental freedom in this country to make such personal choices," Shirley Mason, executive director of BEACHES Foundation Institute, a group that supports clothing-free beaches, said in a statement.

She accused Foley of criticizing the camp to gain publicity for his Senate run.

Foley, co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus, said his concern is for the children's safety.

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