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How summer camps and programs are helping families beat the heat

Posted at 5:28 PM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 20:53:16-04

TWIN FALLS — As the heat persists and people do their best to stay cool, plenty of summer camps and programs are going on as scheduled. Yet, for those that are more outdoor-based, safety may look a little different.

“The first week of our camp, we did have some things going on a little later, like around 1 in the afternoon, and we had kids getting too hot," said Leah Jones, the Camp Director for the E Street Community Centers Summer STEM Camp. We had counselors getting too hot, and so it was just brutal.”

The E Street Community Center, which was formerly the YMCA, is now in the middle of one of its summer STEM camps. While there was a preset schedule, the directors swiftly had to act and make numerous changes to what they originally had planned.

“Luckily, it’s a big facility, and we started using the tennis courts because they’re indoors, and we started using the yoga room quite a bit because it’s indoors," said Jones. "So basically, just moving things around and just adding more activities that are indoors.”

The activity the kids had today involved Southern Idaho Reptile Rescue bringing in numerous reptiles like snakes, turtles, and even an alligator the kids could interact with.

Although camp directors had to gear more of the activities indoors, the kids still get a chance to get outside in the early morning hours where the temperature is not as hot.

Still, directors are taking no chances and are taking precautions to prevent any problems like heat exhaustion.

“Stay hydrated, wearing a hat, wearing sunscreen, staying in the shade," said Dorothy Dallman, the Interim CEO of E Street Community Center. "If they don’t feel good, or they feel hot or starting to sweat, they need to let us know.”

However, not all programs are being impacted by the heat. The Jerome Picnic and Play summer-feeding program is running operations as normal.

"The ICCU park has big mature trees, so there is shade everywhere," said Deloris Argyle, the United Way Jerome Community coordinator. "We have no lack of shade, and then we have the splash pad right there that a lot of the kids go visit either before or after they come and do the activities."

Despite the differences in how both programs are being run, both are trying to give kids a fun summer experience.

“We have a lot of families who come and get their lunch, have a picnic in the park, go do the activity and then sometimes go to the splash pad. So, it has been great,” said Argyle.

The E Street Community Center is also working on keeping the kids as active as possible even when indoors.

“We incorporated swimming every day, even though some days it’s only an hour of swimming or 45 minutes of swimming because we want them to be able to move," said Jones. "But when we’re outside in the morning they can just run.”