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Heat can turn camp fun into a crisis

Imagine a perfect summer day at camp: kids running, playing and exploring the outdoors. Now, imagine that same day turning dangerous because of unchecked heat. Heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke can escalate quickly, leading to serious health consequences or even fatalities. Protecting campers from extreme heat isn't just about comfort—it's about safeguarding their well-being and ensuring the summer memories they make are positive and healthy. 

9 ways to beat the heat 

  • Stay Hydrated: Encourage frequent water breaks. Make hydration fun with hydration stations, flavored water options, and reminders from staff and volunteers.  

  • Shade and Rest: Ensure plenty of shaded areas using natural shade from trees, tarps, canopies and portable shelters. Schedule regular rest breaks, especially during peak sun hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).  

  • Dress Smart: Promote wearing light, loose-fitting and light-colored clothing. Hats and sunglasses are also great for protecting from direct sunlight.  

  • Sunscreen Reminders: A sunburn can lead to dehydration and difficulty cooling the body. Have scheduled times to reapply throughout the day.   

  • Cool Activities: Plan water-based activities and indoor programs during the hottest parts of the day to keep campers and participants cool. If indoor spaces aren't available, create cooling stations with misters or kiddie pools.  

  • Heat Education: Teach campers and staff to recognize signs of heat-related illnesses such as dizziness, nausea and excessive sweating. Make sure they know when and how to seek help.  

  • Emergency Plan: Have a clear action plan for heat emergencies, including accessible first aid stations and trained staff ready to respond.  

  • Portable Cooling: Use battery-powered or hand-held fans and cooling towels. For day camps and outdoor recreation programs, participants can be encouraged to bring personal cooling items like reusable ice packs or cooling neck wraps.  

  • Adjust Schedules: Shift more strenuous activities to early mornings or late afternoons when temperatures are cooler. Consider reducing the duration of outdoor activities during extreme heat. 

Additional resources 

For more comprehensive guidelines and expert advice on managing heat at summer camps, check out these leading resources:  

Summer camps are all about making the most of the sunny season, and with the right strategies in place, we can keep the heat from spoiling the fun. By prioritizing heat safety, we ensure everyone can enjoy the adventures, friendships and experiences that make summer camp so special. 

To find more tips and resources for camps like yours, visit