Family Sues Summer Camp After Boy, 15, Drowns

CHICAGO (CBS) — The family of a teenage boy from Buffalo Grove is suing, after the boy died during a swimming session at a summer camp in southwest Michigan.

Jacob Waxberg, 15, of Buffalo Grove, drowned July 20 during a lake swim session at the Greenwoods Camp for Boys near Decatur, Mich.

Waxberg’s family filed the suit against the camp and its corporate owner, Campgroup, LLC.

The suit claims Waxberg struggled in the water about 10:10 p.m. July 20 during a group swim session of boys at the camp, but no one saw him because of the darkness. There were no lights to maintain night visibility in the swimming area, according to the lawsuit.

Still unseen, Waxberg slipped underwater and was not found for almost 30 minutes, the lawsuit contends.

Waxberg had been at the camp for less than 48 hours at the time of his death, according to the family’s lawyers.

The Lake of the Woods Camp is operated by a number of Chicago area personnel and has become a popular camp for Chicago and north suburban families over the years.

“This was a completely preventable tragedy,” said Todd A. Smith of Power Rogers & Smith, one of the Waxbergs’ attorneys. “There are regulations which prohibit swimming in darkness which were clearly violated by having Jacob, and other swimmers, in the lake after 10 p.m. on this summer evening.

The police investigation revealed that sunset had occurred at 9:17 p.m. Upon being called to the scene, Michigan State police officer Brandon Davis immediately jumped into the water while still in his full clothing and police vest, and was required to use his flashlight under the water to try to find Waxberg.

His repeated efforts, along with other police personnel and camp personnel, eventually brought Waxberg up, but it was too late.

Waxberg attended Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, where he would have been a sophomore this school year, according to the Buffalo Grove Patch.

A memorial page for Waxberg on Facebook has drawn more than 4,160 fans.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

  • Jim Hamilton

    Why didn’t CBS report these shootings?

    2 teens were shot about the legs this afternoon in Lawndale neighborhood A gold 4-door car pulled up to the two victims who were walking down the street and someone got out of the car and started shooting,

    shooting at about 5:40 p.m. Monday victim, 31, was trying to enter the building’s outer vestibule when the gunman shot him in the head

    • Jerome

      Their lack of reporting such stories will mess up the accuracy of the “Negro Lottery”.

      • ra

        It will be good when pakistan or North Korea over then you won’t be able to write useless comments and then you’ll be sorry, get ready

  • Jim Hamilton

    Good luck to the family here the park broke the law they need to pay up it’s just to bad the boy lost his life.

  • Anonymous Member of Waxberg's Cabin at Greenwoods Camp for Boys

    To the attorneys of the case: It was 9:40 wen we went swimming, the sun was setting but it was far from dark. Waxberg went under as quietly as someone slipping asleep at night, and nobody saw him go under because in fact he did not struggle at all. We noticed he was missing very shortly after he went under (about 30 seconds, maybe a minute), and it was only 20 minutes before we recovered his body. Know what you are talking about before you make a lawsuit out of it

    To the waxberg family: You are a disgrace to the memory of the loving friend that was Jacob Waxberg. Do you think that this is what he would’ve wanted?

    • Jim Hamilton

      It’s not just about young Jacob, this place for whatever reason failed Jacob and this will be gone through to help insure it doesn’t happen to anyone else. I find it hard to believe someone drowning doesn’t struggle. Just sayin.

      But then again you don’t know if he struggled or not you don’t know if it were 30 seconds or 3 minutes that passed before you noticed him missing because by your own account you didn’t see him go missing. Calling his family a disgrace sure wouldn’t be doing Jacob any good in fact with your lack of support for his family it’s questionable if you were even a friend of his.

      • Jim Hamilton

        @Anonymous Member

        if this place gets shut down which it won’t they have insurances that cover things like this but if it did it won’t be because of Jacob it would be because this camp for whatever reason failed Jacob and it can not continue to happen. Again yes it sounds like a monetary value is being placed here but really there is no other way for any reconciliation, so we always use money moral or not that’s just the fact of life. It doesn’t mean they are exchanging his life for money. They would much rather have their son back but that’s just not going to happen and sometimes, most times money is our only option. When an accident takes place on a property and someone gets hurt or killed then 9 out of 10 times the property owner is automatically liable it happened on their property so really it doesn’t matter about the cause to much the camp is liable by law, and by my experiences in this sort of thing will be for more than the 50% of the evidence. That can be as simple as possession of the boy and possession of the lake. I know you say it was light outside when it happened let me ask you this. What is worse having a boy drown on your watch during the light hours or having him drown during the dark? Neither one is good but having him drown in the daylight sounds to me the personnel would even be more personally liable. But what matters most is that it doesn’t happen again. Not telling you what to do but as a friend of Jacob’s and being there at the time of his death you have been through a lot maybe you should seek a counselor if you haven’t already done that.

      • Anonymous Member of Waxberg's Cabin at Greenwood's Camp for Boys

        First, Greenwoods was Jacob’s favorite place in the world, he even said so himself. The last thing he would want would be for the camp to possibly be shut down because of him or anyone close to him. Secondly, by filing a lawsuit his family is putting a price on his life which just isn’t morally right. People aren’t dollar bills and there is no price for a human life. This is why I ferouciously disagree with his family’s choice.

    • David Dworkin

      can we have some respect please. We lost our friend and they lost their son. We cant even imagine what there going through.

  • David Dworkin

    I knew Jacob, I went to Greenwoods Camp for Boys, I took the photo in the picture up there. No money will bring him back. Lake of the Woods always looked out for our safety and well being.

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