Posts Tagged ‘Health & Wellness’

A Useful Resource for Camp Nurses

Posted on March 6, 2017 by CCA Communications Committee

Mary Casey Camp Nursing Circles of CareCamp Nursing – Circles of Care is written by Mary Casey, BScN PHN, an experienced camp nurse and award-winning author.

This handy, comprehensive, reference book includes an extensive chapter, Treatment Guidelines, which includes accepted procedures on illness and accidents. The content and principles presented in  apply to all camps.

Order now from or contact Mary Casey at

Professional Development Opportunity

Posted on October 31, 2016 by CCA Communications Committee


Lyme Disease training and education

Posted on June 20, 2016 by CCA Communications Committee

Over the past year a Lyme Disease Stakeholder group, headed up by the Ontairo Ministry of Health and Long Term Care involving many stakeholders from across Ontario, including the Ontario Camps Association, has been working towards the creation of Lyme Disease training and education tools.

The following information was created to help bring awareness and education on Lyme disease which you may be dealing with this summer:

Posters and fact sheets they can be can be ordered from:

Toll free within Canada: 1-800-668-9938 (TTY toll free within Ontario: 1-800-268-7095)

Webinar – Managing challenging camper behavior

Posted on April 8, 2016 by Mike Stewart

The International Camping Fellowship is happy to announce a special opportunity, made possible by Markel Insurance and the Educational Alliance between ICF and the American Camp Association, for a free webinar with Bob Ditter on Tuesday, April 19, 1:00 p.m. EST, and you are invited!  The webinar will be presented in English.

Managing Challenging Camper Behavior

Learn new ways to work with challenging camper behavior. This highly practical webinar will provide you with simple and effective ways to work with children who struggle making the adjustment to camp life.

In this webinar you will learn:

  • Identify possible challenging camper behaviors BEFORE camp.
  • When to put a camper “on an agreement” prior to camp.
  • Critical knowledge for working with ADHD campers, including medication guidelines.
  • Techniques for working with campers who are impulsive, disorganized or resist counselors’ guidance.
  • Techniques for working with girls struggling to form a cohesive group.

The “prognostic indicators” that guide your decision about continuing to work with a camper versus sending them home.

Bob Ditter is a highly-recognized child, adolescent, and family therapist from Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He is a nationally recognized trainer and consultant for organizations that work with young people. He has been called “camping’s most articulate spokesman” because of his work with children’s summer camps since 1982.

Limited registration is now open to ICF members! To reserve your space, click hereSelect ‘Register’ in event status.

ICF extends a big thank you to Markel Insurance for offering this special opportunity to you, and we hope many of you will register!  This is time sensitive!  Register now!

Camp Nursing – Circles of Care

Posted on February 28, 2016 by Mike Stewart

Mary Casey Camp Nursing Circles of CareCamp Nursing-Circles of Care is a popular and useful resource for camp nurses across the country.

Written by experienced camp nurse and award-winning author, Mary Casey BScN PHN, Camp Nursing-Circles of Care gives an overview of the multi-facetted job of a camp nurse. Spiral-bound for convenient reference, the book includes fifty pages of Treatment Guidelines, the accepted procedures for illness and accidents. The content and the principles presented are applicable to all camps.

Order from: or contact Mary Casey at

Summer Camp Health Initiative

Posted on January 18, 2016 by CCA Communications Committee

The Summer Camp Health Initiative is a project developed by four medical students at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. They are also keen, experienced campers. Their focus is on health promotion and injury and illness prevention at summer camps.

Current programs include a first-aid training program for camp staff and a research study into injury and illness at camp.

Camps can join SCHI and access the information and benefits at no cost.

You can download the Summer Camp Health Initiative poster for more information or visit

Sanofi Canada – Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Allerject

Posted on October 29, 2015 by Bev Unger

Sanofi Canada has announced a Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Allerject.

For more information please click on the following link:

Thank you for your time and attention to this information.

A Health Challenge for All Camps

Posted on June 8, 2015 by Bev Unger

Dr. Clive Schwartz, Assistant Professor Paediatrics University of Toronto, Developmental Paediatrics, The Hospital for Sick Children and 13 year Camp Physician, presents all Canadian camps with a practical challenge.

Dr. Schwartz is challenging ALL camps that make and serve food to decide whether they continue to use products in their kitchens with a significant Saturated and/or Trans Fat content for frying and baking or heed his recommendation to consider the available alternatives.

To help us he provides this link to his teaching notes:

Please let us know if you are going to take the “Know Your FA(c)TS” challenge this summer. We would welcome your feedback at

Pearl Bell & Bev Unger
Healthcare Committee
Ontario Camps Association

Measles – What Every Camp Director Needs To Know

Posted on May 4, 2015 by Bev Unger

As the summer approaches, families are thinking about the risk of measles and summer plans. I know this hot topic is also on the minds of camp directors as we read and hear new reports about measles out breaks and a small panic rises in us – “what if we get measles at our camp?!”

With proper knowledge and planning, the risk of infectious or communicable disease outbreaks at camp can be decreased and your ability to handle the situation heightened.

Increase your measles knowledge

Fact sheets from your own region’s public health department are only a click away.

Before the campers arrive:

The camp’s Health Care Custodian should review every health form to screen for those who are NOT immunized or who are immunosuppressed (such as people undergoing chemotherapy).

Immunization dates should be provided for every camper and staff. If they are not, it is recommended that efforts be made to obtain the dates of immunization.

Have a Communicable Disease Camp Policy in place:

Develop a policy that clearly states the procedures your camp will follow if an individual is suspected to have measles (or any other communicable illness).

To ensure the health and safety of everyone:

  • Prepare communication before camp starts and share it with your families. Be clear on your fee adjustment plans: will you reimburse or have a no refund policy?
  • What are you plans for campers / staff who are not immunized?
  • What are you plans for campers / staff who are immunosuppressed?
  • What procedures will be put into place for individuals who are suspected to have a communicable illness?
  • What procedures do you have for isolation?

Know the signs and symptoms:

I am pro vaccination; however, I support and understand individuals’ decisions if they choose not to vaccinate. We worry about our population who are not vaccinated but remember that vaccinations are not 100% effective. There is a small population who, although fully vaccinated, could possibly come down with the illness. With this in mind, we need to be monitoring and assessing everyone who shows any signs of illness.

Make sure you have health staff on hand who are knowledgeable and able to identify the signs and symptoms of measles (or any communicable / infectious disease). Early detection will mean less exposure and a better ability for your camp to handle any issues that may arise.

  • Symptoms begin 7 – 12 days after exposure
  • Fever ≥ 38.3 degrees Celsius (oral)
  • At least one of: cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis (red eyes), irritability
  • Small white spots may be on the inside of the mouth and throat, but not always
  • Generalized red blotchy rash usually appears on the face and moves down the body

Prevention and Treatment Plan – what to do if there is a case or measles at your camp:

  • At the first sign of a communicable illness, the individual must be isolated into a single room with the door closed.
  • Only immune staff should be allowed to enter the room.
  • The individual who is ill should wear a surgical mask (If you do not have an airborne infection isolation room, I am sure your camp does not)
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and gowns may be added as required.
  • Make arrangements for the individual to seek an immediate medical assessment. Call ahead if you are going to a medical facility so they can take the proper precautions to avoid further exposure.
  • If it is determined the individual does have measles make arrangements for the person to be sent home for the isolation period (21 days for measles).
  • The measles virus can remain airborne for two hours; no individuals should be placed in the room for at least two hours
  • The room must be cleaned thoroughly

Additional Steps:

Non- immunized or immunosuppressed individuals

  • Contact families of those who are not immunized or immunosuppressed.
  • A frank discussion of the situation should take place and a joint decision made on the next steps.
  • It is recommended these campers be removed from camp for the isolation period.

Follow your camp crisis response plan and notify your provincial association

Report to public health

  • All suspected cases of measles MUST be reported to the public health department in your area.
  • Prior to camp, obtain a list of all the reportable illnesses from your local public health department and know they are there to help you.

Other Resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

World Health Organization, Measles 2015:

Bullying Redux

Posted on April 26, 2015 by Dr. Christopher Thurber

In 1929, Camping and Character: A Camp Experiment in Character Education was published.

Authors Hedley Dimock and Charles Hendry reported on the results of a multiyear study conducted at Camp Ahmek in Ontario. The study sought to uncover the changes evidenced in campers’ behaviour during six weeks at camp, and to understand the mechanisms behind those changes. Among the more than 50 behaviors the authors tracked was bullying. Dimock and Hendry recognized that even small increases in bullying behavior needed to be addressed by the camp leadership. They were also encouraged by huge increases in many prosocial behaviors in youngsters. My favourite is: “Making friendly approach to [an] unlikable boy.”

Over 80 years later, what are the most important things we’ve learned about bullying? The answer has four parts. First, bullying itself is only half the picture. For every bully, there is at least one target. Second, bullying is cyclic. A recent study by the Center for Disease Control confirmed that about three quarters of bullies are also targets and about three quarters of targets turn around to bully another child. Third, bullying is social. Antisocial, to be sure, but it represents a dynamic, complex, interaction whose origins lie in unhealthy relationships. Therefore, the solutions lie not in simple punishment, but in the formation of healthy relationships. And finally, there are often bystanders; onlookers who have the power to say something. “Hey, that’s not cool” or “Dude” or “Lay off” or “C’mon” are examples of benign-sounding comments that have the power to derail nascent bullying.

Camps are uniquely suited to deal with bullying because they are such healthy social environments. At camp, leaders supervise children and have opportunities to educate bullies and targets. Leaders can teach the kinds of prosocial behaviors Dimock, Hendry, and their pioneering predecessors saw so often at camps. This is easier to do than most people think, partly because bullying is so often a misguided attempt to make a social connection. If you can teach a bully how to make a social connection without using coercion, threats, or violence, you have actually met that child’s needs instead of simply punishing his or her misbehavior.

Specifically, camps help children in the following ways:

  • By having the camp staff set a sterling interpersonal example for all children to follow.
  • By seeing beyond the bully alone and including his or her target, plus any bystanders, in an intervention.
  • By strengthening bullies’ fragile sense of themselves by providing opportunities for authentic achievement and human connection in various athletic or artistic domains.
  • By teaching bullies to make social connections through healthy interaction. We all want to belong to a group…it’s just the bullies go about it in antisocial ways.
  • By teaching targets to stand up to bullies in ways that makes bullying unrewarding.
  • By setting, early and often in the camp session, strict guidelines for kindness and generosity…and then heaping on the praise when staff witness prosocial behaviours.
  • By providing the kind of close supervision that allows both bullies and targets to replay unacceptable or unassertive interactions under the guidance of experienced adult staff.
  • By deliberately creating a culture of caring that is perhaps different from school or the neighborhood at home…and then immersing children in that culture.
  • By allowing positive peer pressure to exert itself such that children feel appreciated and rewarded for gentleness, honesty, kindness, and unselfishness.

Camps are not a bullying panacea. Outside of camp, there are powerful forces, such as violent media, that infuse children with the notion that violent, even lethal solutions to vexing social problems are both effective and glorious. Nevertheless, camp is a powerful, positive force for change. Educating bullies, targets, and bystanders is just one of the many ways camp enriches lives and changes the world.

So next time you’re talking with a parent about how your camp handles bullying, provide a better answer than “We don’t tolerate bullying.” Instead, explain how your staff is trained to help children make friends. That is the single best way to prevent antisocial behaviour. Give everyone a sense of belonging.

Then, explain how you use a combination of pre-season online training and in-person on-site training to train your staff to spot bullying, teach prosocial behaviors, encourage bystanders to be “upstanders,” and give opportunities for bullies to make amends. There will always be some kinds of egregious misbehaviors that require expulsion from camp, but most instances of bullying are below this safety threshold. Showcase the strength of your camp by outlining how well prepared your staff is to prevent bullying and respond thoughtfully when it occurs.

This article originally appeared in the Week-Ender blog, a product of Camp Business magazine. To subscribe to this content, visit