Monday, July 26, 2010

Planning for Camp

As I sit helping my daughter collect all the last minute items needed to attend field hockey camp, I think back to the planning that went into making sure she has a safe experience. It started before registration. Finding an accredited camp and asking questions: What policies are in place to keep kids safe? What are camp procedures on handling medical emergencies and dealing with routine health needs? Do they have certified medical professional on site at all times? It is also a good idea to ask your network of friends for feedback from previous camper’s experiences.
As time for camp came closer, I went into my mother hen mode, making sure all safety gear fit and performed as designed to protect. Another safety item to consider: Is your camper prepared for the physical demands? During high heat index days, experts recommend scheduling exercise in early morning or evening hours when temperatures are cooler. But as July rolled around, my daughter scheduled her runs during the heat of the day to better prepare for the demands of camp.
With camp only one week away, it is now important to focus on another item often missed in the rush of other summer activities. Offering well balanced meals and snacks to make sure dietary needs are being met for optimum health. When purchasing camp snacks look for items that contain a combination of carbohydrates and protein. Good nonperishable items consist of dried fruit and nuts, granola bars (read the nutritional facts for good choices), and whole wheat crackers with peanut butter.
One other key to staying safe at summer camp is being well hydrated. The human body consists of 60-70% water which is critical in many body functions, and thirst is the body’s first sign of dehydration. We can help combat this by reminding youth to drink plenty of fluids, such as water, and offering foods high in water content, such as fruits and vegetables. Foods can contribute up to 20% of the water needed in our bodies. Knowing my camper will be in the heat and running much of the day, sport drinks (make sure to read labels before purchasing) are appropriate, but one to two a day is all that is generally needed to keep electrolytes balanced.
Knowing we have prepared for camp ensures she has a safe fun experience while she learns new skills, makes new friends and builds lifelong memories.

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