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Heat wave slows down summer camp outdoor activities

July 06, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com

As an oppressive heat wave continues to besiege the area with no signs of letting up, kids and counselors at area summer camps have had to slow down their outdoor activities.

“It’s been really hot all week,” said Marty Snook camper Jordan Gardner, 12, of Hagerstown. “I drink lots of water.”

Members of the Marty Snook and Williamsport Camps went to the skating rink at Turner’s Skating Palace on Virginia Avenue on Friday, something they do every week. But during the rest of the week, the campers had to find other ways to cool off.

Marty Snook camper Nichole Sherman, 11, of Hagerstown said they found some less heated outdoor activities.

“They’ve had water days when we’ll go to the pool or play with water balloons, but then we played capture the flag in the woods,” she said. “It’s been really fun, but it gets really hot.”

The amount of time outside has been less than usual this week due to the heat, Marty Snook Camp Counselor Cody Waldron said.

Waldron, 25, of Smithsburg said that he has had to reduce the time of  activities, as well as make the kids keep cool.

“We try to break up the activities, and we have to make some of the kids stop,” he said. “You also have to make sure you wear sunscreen and stay hydrated.”

Waldron said that water was incorporated in other activities they were doing, such as using a sponge to play duck, duck, goose.

“There are other ways to use water,” he said. “We also have the pool in the afternoon, so the kids really like that.”

Jaime Dick, recreation director for Washington County, said that the duration of camp activities and sporting events have been reduced due to the heat.

“We don’t want the kids outside three to four hours,” he said. “We take every precaution that we can.”

For sporting events, times can be cut by shortening the halves of soccer games, for example, he said.

Campers can also do more inside activities, he said.

“Some of the campers can go into gyms and play games, and we have flat-screen TVs in pavilions for some of the kids,” Dick said. “There is a trick to it; we just have to adjust the schedule.”

As the weekend approaches, the heat will is not expected to abate until Sunday, the National Weather Service said on its website.

The high for today was expected to be 100 degrees, but on Sunday it is expected to drop to 94 degrees before dropping to 84 degrees Monday and Tuesday, according to the website.

Williamsport camper Rion Murray, 12, of Hagerstown said that the heat so far has been “kind of annoying.”

“You can’t do a lot of stuff for a long time,” Rion said. “You just get tired, and you want to give up.”

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Tips for keeping cool

Staying cool could be difficult as temperatures once again climb toward triple digits this weekend. But there are some ways to do it, including:

  • Wearing the right type of clothing can help to keep temperatures down. Try wearing thin, baggy and light-colored clothing, which will allow more breathing between the body and the air. Light-colored clothing also will absorb the suns’ rays a little less.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often. The larger the meal, the more metabolic heat your body creates breaking down the food. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol, because it dehydrates the body. Choose mineral water or low-sugar, carbonated drinks. Avoid drinks with caffeine such as coffee and colas. These increase the metabolic heat in the body.
  • Sweating is the body’s way of cooling, so though it might not be pleasant, it will allow your body to cool.
  • The night before going out for the day in the sun, roll up some damp washcloths and put them in the freezer. Take them along in a plastic bag. When you start to feel hot, unwrap them and place them over your face.

— Raychel Harvey-Jones

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