New England Camp Staffs on High Alert During Heat Wave - NECN

New England Camp Staffs on High Alert During Heat Wave



    New England camp staffs on high alert during heat wave

    Staffers are making sure campers are staying cool and hydrated while still having fun (Published Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014)

    (NECN: Amy Sinclair) - This stretch of hot, humid weather isn't just uncomfortable - it can also be dangerous, especially for children.

    Camp staffs across New England are on high alert this week making sure campers are staying cool and hydrated. The trick, they say, is to do it without putting a damper on the good times.

    "I think the danger with kids is that they don't think like we do, like needing to stay hydrated, because they're just so busy out there playing," says Dr. Amy Sedgwick, an emergency physician and mother of two.

    So camp staffs know it's up to them to keep their campers cool. At St. Peters Grand Slam Tennis Camp in Portland, it starts by educating the parents.

    "We send out three emails reminding them to send kids in light colored hats and shirts, to bring water bottles and wear sun screen," says Founder and Tennis Pro Wayne St. Peter.

    St. Peter says he constantly reminds staff and campers to take water breaks, keep water bottles filled and get out of the sun for a few minutes after half hour.

    Camp Ketcha in Scarborough, Maine has 320 kids this week, ranging in age from 3 to 14.

    "That's a lot of responsibility," says Camp Director Tom Doherty. "And every parent wants every child back safely. There's no just missing with one child. Everyone has to go home happy and healthy."

    Doherty says the key to dealing with extreme heat is flexibility.

    When it's this hot, they double up on swim time and get creative with water games. It doesn't have to be fancy. Hosing down a tarp can provide hours of slip-sliding fun.

    And it turns out there really is something to that expression, "it's not the heat, it's the humidity."

    "When humidity exceeds 75 percent, we lose ability to evaporate heat," says Dr. Sedgwick, meaning we no longer sweat.

    So in high humidity, pulling heat away from the body quickly - by getting in the water is the most effective way to cool down quickly. Of course, there are a few camps that avoid the heat altogether.

    The young athletes at Pro Ambitions Hockey Camp in Falmouth, Maine are spending the week on the ice where the air temperature is 50 degrees - at least until they go back outdoors.