Skip to content

Healthy Living at Summer Camp

2010 April 6

From the time that I was very young my family and I have been attending a summer camp in southern Michigan. Camp has always been a big part of my life, so when I became a counselor for the camp three years ago, I made it a goal of mine to give my campers the same, positive, experience my counselors gave to me. However, I knew there was one aspect of being a counselor that I wanted to improve on from the counselors of the past.

As a camper I always got sick as summer camp is a place for kids to play around in dirt, the lake, and be in close quarters with one another. I realized that there were little things that not only I, but other counselors and kids could do to prevent sickness. Campers and counselors were required to wash and sanitize their hands before every meal, shower at scheduled times, change out of wet clothing and swimsuits when not in the water, and clean the cabins daily. I knew these practices were helping the campers’ health as I noticed both my campers and I were getting sick less often.

Two summers ago a large storm swept through the camp, causing many of the cabins to flood. Limited space required the counselors and campers to stay in the water-ridden cabins. I realized quickly that this was not good for our health. My fellow counselors and I asked to be moved out of the cabin, explaining that we thought our kids were getting sick because of the forming mold. We were moved to different cabins that had some room and immediately saw our campers becoming healthier.

After the flood, action was taken immediately to solve the flooding problem. Erosion, due to campers walking off paths, and general rainfall was a main cause of the floods. Construction was done to help move run-off water away from the cabins.

Although children are usually at summer camp for a relatively small amount of time, it is important that they stay healthy while having fun! Summer camp provides a fun “getaway” from daily living, but also provides a chance for kids to learn a variety of life values, including independence. It is not only up to the counselors, but the campers to achieve healthy practices. While the counselors must teach, the campers must perform.

About the author: Nicole Reising is an intern at the Office of Children’s Health Protection. She is a sophomore studying non-profit management at Indiana University.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Lori Gertz permalink
    April 15, 2010

    Another issue relating to Summer camp that is near and dear to me relates to the increasing encroachment of housing developments near otherwise “remote” acreage devoted to them. Camp Henry Horner, Ingleside Il has launched their Green Guardian Effort to plant trees to block the loss of the nature preserve feel on over 180 acres. This 91 year old non profit camp is losing its sacred natural resources as the din of TV screens reflect in the retention pond where an empty field that once sported beautiful century old trees and prairie sat adjacent to the cabins. The Green Guardian Fund is groundbreaking with their tree first major planting event on Earth Day 2010!

  2. Charles Lock permalink
    July 25, 2010

    Nice post. Children should be exposed to great outdoor life to make them have a sense of independence from early age.
    I normally bring my kids to hiking trips as well.
    And so far I have only found a few such as this one guidedhikingtrips.com …if some one has any more good sites that I can refer to, please inform me…Summer vacation is here and I am preparing for a family trip.

  3. Kevin Megan permalink
    September 22, 2010

    those old scouting years, I remember were camping in the jungle and that time is rainy seasons we are always wet and we sleep in a wet mattress

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS