Staying Safe this Summer

Ah, summertime as a kid. A time for lazy days at the pool, exciting trips, and plenty of sun and fun. But if you’re like most parents, you struggle with the balance between allowing your children the freedom to gain independence and keeping them safe and protected. 

There’s good news: If your child attends a well-run summer camp at GSHPA, then she is surrounded by professionals who are trained to ensure her safety. From the administrative staff to the counselors, every staff member has been trained and certified in keeping campers as protected as possible. 

But what about when your kid isn’t in camp? What about when she’s swimming in a local pool, playing ball at a park, visiting an amusement park, or hanging out at his friend’s house? 

Summer Safety 

#1 – Sun Safety:Sunburns aren’t just painful; they can also increase a child’s risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Send your child to camp wearing a hat with a brim (preferably one that shades the face, ears, and neck) and apply sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and UVA and UVB protection. Encourage your child to drink 5 to 6 glasses of water a day to protect from dehydration. 

#2 – Safety Plan: Getting lost in a public area can be scary for unprepared kids – which is why it’s important to arm your child with a safety plan. First off, you’ll want to make sure your child has your phone number and address memorized. Also make your child knows that if she gets lost, she should stay in the same area so that you can find her, and she should ask someone in a uniform or a mother with children for help. 

#3 – Personal Safety: Sit down with your child and teach him about personal safety rules. She should know that there’s a difference between a “good touch” and a “bad touch,” that it’s okay to say “no” if someone asks him to do something that makes him feel uncomfortable, and that no one should ever ask him to keep a secret from his parents. 

#4. Water Safety:Make sure your child knows never to enter a pool without supervision. Teach them to walk around pools and only dive in areas that are marked for diving. Warn your child to leave any water area immediately if they see lightning. 

#5 – Communication: One of the most important parts of keeping your child safe is making sure to keep an open line of communication at all times. Encourage your child to speak up if she feels uncomfortable about something, and if your child wants to talk, make the time to do so. Most importantly, try to be positive when your child does confide in you, rather than harping on what she did wrong that caused the situation.   

Here at GSHPA, we take safety very seriously. Our counselors undergo hours of pre-summer training about camper safety, including water safety and safety precautions for each specialty activity.  All lifeguards at GSHPA are Red Cross certified and many of our counselors have CPR and First Aid certification as well. 

So you can rest secure that in camp, we’ve taken every precaution to ensure that your child has a safe summer. But as a parent, you are the most important role model your child has, and the one who will teach him safety lessons that will stay with him for the rest of his life. This summer, show your children how much you love them by teaching them the rules they’ll need to stay safe not just this summer, but for years to come. 


Post by: GSHPA Director of Facilities Planning and Operations, Mike Leavitt

Let’s Get Outside – Girl Scout Style!

7 Awesome Outdoor Activities

As we enter the fifth month of the year, and have learned over the past year how important outdoor experiences are, we have 7 self-led ideas for you and your Girl Scout to get outdoors!  Below are some links/activities to explore a variety of fun related to the outdoors.  Be sure to read all the way to the end for an edible campfire!   

  1. Earn the “Clean Water Grows on Trees” fun patchvia our partners Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Keystone 10 Million Tree Partnership. Trees provide habitat and improve the air we breathe. But did you know that clean water grows on trees? Earn this fun patch by learning about the trees in your neighborhood and then taking action to protect them. 
Lauren Braught, GSHPA Gold Award Girl Scout holding “Clean Water Grows on Trees” fun patch
  1. Soundscape Scavenger Hunt- A soundscape is the acoustic environment as perceived by humans. In this activity, you will explore your backyard for a variety of sounds! This activity satisfies parts of both Daisy: Outdoor Art Maker – Step 2 and Brownie: Senses – Step 2 
  1. Bug Bingo– Discover the wonder and joys of nature through bugs! This activity satisfies step 3 of the Brownie: Bugs Badge.   
     
  1. Learn more about Knots with this Girl Scouts USA blog post:  10 Essential Knots for Girl Scouts  
  1. Backpacking Skills Videos - Learn the basics of backpacking and then learn more about GSHPA’s backpacking programhere
  1. Virtual Constellation Discovery Series - Learn about the stars, constellations, and the stories written in the night sky with Sarah, our Outdoor Program Manager, through a series of fun videos. 
  1. Activity: Edible Campfires 
    (This activity is courtesy of Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington council) 

Learn about fire building and safety by making edible fires! 

Supplies 

  • A plate (to build your edible fire on) 
  • A small cup of water (to represent your fire bucket) 
  • A spoon or fork (to represent your shovel/rake) 
  • Small roundish snacks (to represent your fire ring) 
  • M&M’s, cheerios, and mini marshmallows 
  • Any sort of small, slim snacks (to represent tinder) 
  • Thin, twig-like snacks (to represent kindling) 
  • Pretzel sticks and veggie straws 
  • Thicker, branch-like snacks (to represent fuel) 
  • Jumbo pretzel sticks or tootsie rolls 

Directions  

  • When we make a campfire, we need a clear area free of dried grass and sticks and we should be using an established fire pit. Begin making your fire by making sure you have your plate clean and ready!  
  • Create a fire ring on your plate with your “rocks.” 
  • Do we have the right safety equipment on hand? Ensure that your fire “bucket” is filled with water and that you have your “shovel” nearby. Pull back your hair and make sure you’re not wearing anything that could hang into the fire. 
  • The next step is to collect your tinder, kindling, and fuel. 
  • Tinder is your smallest piece of wood, about the size of your pinky finger. This wood catches quickly and its main purpose is to get your initial flame. 
  • What edible items could these be?  
  • Kindling is the next piece, about the size of 1-2 fingers. This type of wood is the second stage, it burns longer than tinder and can get that necessary initial fire started. Once you get enough kindling burning, it should begin to generate enough heat and flame to get your big pieces lit. 
  • What edible items could these be?  
  • Fuel is the biggest log, the ones that keep your fire burning all night. Some styles of fire have it in their initial formation, while others have to begin to add it as your fire builds up enough heat to catch them. 
  • What edible items could these be?  
  • When building your fire, consider what you want to use it for.  
  • To cook food, to keep you warm in harsh weather, or simply to provide a space to gather around and sing songs and tell stories.  
  • There are hundreds of styles of campfires, here are some easy examples to start. 

Once you’ve fully enjoyed your fire, the most important thing to do is ensure that it is completely put out. Eat your snack, or pack it away into a plastic baggie to enjoy later! 


Post by Lutricia Eberly