A Healthy Summer Starts at Home
We strive to create a camp environment that is fun, safe and healthy. We appreciate your partnership to help with this goal. Here are things you can do at home to prepare your camper (and yourself, if you are on staff) for a fun, safe & healthy summer:
Teach, talk about and reinforce:
- The #1 way to prevent illness is with frequent handwashing with soap and water and then drying your hands. Sanitizer is the next best option when soap & water are not available.
- Sneezing and coughing into your arm. If you forget and use your hands, wash your hands with soap and water.
- Keeping your hands off your faces. Fingers spread germs.
Applying sunscreen. Incorporate this habit into your daily routine BEFORE camp. While staff will help younger campers, ensure campers practice applying sunscreen and label the bottle.
Drinking enough water & keeping track of a refillable water bottle. Plan to send two, LABELED water bottles that have wide openings for filling and for easy to washing out and easy to carry that your child will use. Talk about what their urine will look like when they are well hydrated (pale yellow). Remind them of the importance of drinking throughout the day. Have them practice rinsing out their own water bottles at home. Remind your child that their water bottles should only be for water, NEVER FOOD. If your child puts sugary drink powder in their water bottle, it is important that they rinse it out well afterward.
Good sleep habits. Fatigue contributes to illness and injuries. The camp days are full and busy. While in some ways, sleepaway camp is like one long slumber party, it is important that campers and staff get adequate sleep each night.
Brushing their teeth: Teeth should be brushed twice a day twice a day. Flossing should also be a part of the routine.
Drying off. Practice after showers, pool and lake, especially between those toes, which may help prevent athlete’s foot.
Cutting their nails: Most campers should be able to handle cutting their own nails. Make sure they have a nail clipper for fingers and toes, plus an emery board. The Marp will help when needed, but often we see kids after they have cut their nails too short and not straight across, resulting in a painful, ingrown nail. Properly sized shoes also help prevent foot and toenail problems.
Topics to Tackle:
- Wearing the right shoes for the right activities. Slides and flip flops for the pool, lake and the bunk. Everyone must ALWAYS wear shoes on their feet at camp for safety and wear closed toe shoes for sports.
- Wearing the best clothes for the weather, including rain gear (wet does not cause illness, but rain boots or waterproof shoes with good tread are essential on slippery, wet surfaces in camp).
- Eating something at every meal to help fuel them for their busy days. There are fruits and veggies at every meal, but counselors cannot be the nutrition police.
- Not sharing towels. Everyone must use only their own towel to dry hands and face or to shower, or for the pool. One person with pink eye or another illness can infect everyone else who uses the same towel.
- Practice trouble shooting your child’s discomforts before they come to camp in the same way that you would at home before calling the pediatrician. If they sometimes have tummy trouble (not diagnosed GI conditions), first steps to take would be to try using the bathroom, drinking some water, eating something. Headaches: unless your child has a history of severe headaches or migraines, they should first drink an entire water bottle if they have a headache, try eating something and taking a few minutes to rest before coming to the health center. If they wake up with a sore throat, teach them to drink some water, have breakfast, then see how they are feeling. The health center is available 24/7 for urgent issues and emergencies. Remind your child that there are specific times during the day when they can come to the health center if they are still feeling unwell.
If your child is showing signs of *illness in the days and hours leading up to camp, contact the Marp (camp’s health center). Keeping your child back until they are feeling better will support your child’s successful start to their summer and reduce the spread of illness at camp. *Temperature over 100.0 F, throwing up, diarrhea, nasal drainage or congestion, cough, complaints of sore throat, eye drainage.