Miss Amber (the camp director) and Miss Michelle (the assistant camp director) each carry walkie talkies with built-in weather radios. Whenever there is a storm watch or warning, we alert all of the counselors in camp (by walkie-talkie), to make sure they stay aware of what’s going on. We have several different signals for severe weather, so if a counselor doesn’t hear the message over the radio, we also blare the air horn and ring the big bell outside Main Lodge to signal an emergency.
If a tornado watch or warning is issued, we immediately bring all of the campers to two central locations: The Dining Hall and Morris Lodge. Both of these buildings have basements, so they are the safest places in camp to bring the kids. We monitor the weather radar and radios, and if it gets bad, we move the campers and counselors to the basements. During the time we’re waiting out the storm, we sing camp songs and play games to keep the kids calm.
We do periodic drills with the counselors to make sure they stay sharp and remember all of the proper procedures for various emergency situations.
During weeks when we experience severe heat or when there are heat advisories for our area, we work hard to make sure the campers stay hydrated. Counselors encourage campers to drink multiple glasses of water during meals, and water jugs and cups are made available at activity stations. Counselors are also advised to offer frequent breaks during activities, and to try to keep campers in shady areas whenever possible.
We often make the afternoon swim mandatory on very hot days, to ensure that every camp gets in the water and cools off. Counselors are reminded to watch for signs of heat-related illness, such as dizziness, confusion, bright red skin, or clammy, pale skin, headache, blurry vision, etc. If a camper shows signs of heat-related illness, the counselors are instructed to call for the Camp Nurse, and apply cool, wet cloths to the camper’s face and arms.