Summer Camp: Is it safe?

Did you ever wonder about the training and experience required of camp counselors?  This article from the Aspen Times highlights a few camps that are holding their counselors to high standards by requiring Wilderness First Aid training and encouraging Wilderness First Responder training for staff leading extended trips. ASPEN — At Aspen’s Camp Eco and Camp Eco Sport, students aren’t told about basalt rocks. Instead, they’re taken to a place where basalt rocks are, and told to find them. The teaching style doesn’t just help the students learn more, said director-owner Greg Gissler. It also keeps them safer, by alleviating some of what he calls the “I’m bored, I’m going to do something to get attention” attitude. The good news for parents sending their children off to day and boarding camps this summer is that outdoor programs, in general, have tightened their risk-management policies over the years. “The industry is maturing,” said Todd Schimelpfenig, curriculum director for the Wilderness Medicine Institute of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), based in Lander, Wyo. “There are more expectations.” While First Aid and CPR certifications still appear to be the standard for day-camp counselors, many nearby wilderness adventure camps report that their instructors have a three-day Wilderness First Aid certification. Many programs that take students on wilderness trips say they have at least one counselor who has a 10-day Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification. “My guess is that the trend in the industry is going to move more toward the WFR,” predicted Marty Ferguson, director of Camp Chief Ouray, YMCA of the Rockies. To read the complete article visit the Aspen Times website.