Keeping our kids safe when severe weather strikes at summer camp
Jeff Janca, Courtny Gerrish
Photo: Video by tmj4.com
MENOMONEE FALLS - School is out and that can mean only one thing--Summer is in full swing! At Tri-County YMCA in Menomonee Falls, kids are running and playing at day camp.
Regional Director and camp counseler Chris Przedpelski explains, "Whether they are into science, art, cooking, sports--there is something for everyone."
But Przedpelski knows that the weather can change everything in an instant. The recent tornadoes in Oklahoma, and the severe weather we have seen in our own state, show us the destruction mother nature is capable of. Having a plan in place is necessary. "We are always monitoring the weather. We have to be aware of the heat, we have to be aware of rain, lightning, and then something unfortunate like a tornado."
It's not only the campers who rely on him. The campers' parents do too. The state requires at least one severe weather drill per month, and Przedpelski assures parents they are prepared for anything. "We do more than that because we need to be perfect in the case if something were to happen."
Protocols are in place, and counselors are instructed to jump into action when bad weather hits. Campers are taken into the lower level of the main buidling to wait out the storm.
With almost 200 campers at any given time, Przedpelski admits its not always an easy task.
"The key is maintaining a calm attitude, keeping the kids calm, keeping the kids calm, keeping them entertained when they are down there," he says.
If your child is in day camp, there are few things that you can do at home to prepare them for danerous weather.
One: Educate your child on severe weather. Let them know the dangers of it.
Two: Have a plan at home in case of severe weather so they know what to do if it does hit. They can then apply what they know to do at home, at camp.
Three: Make sure they feel comfortable with their counselors and will listen to them.
The YMCA camp also goes on many field trips and even some overnight trips. Every location has its own procedures and protocols, and the camp staff practices for those unfortunate events.