Mask Talk A message from the Camp Director

Hi Friends! Let’s talk about masks.

We have all heard or read that the CDC recommends wearing masks to slow the spread of COVID-19. It has even been proven to work in other countries, as well as communities around the US, where we have seen numbers of new cases go down when everyone works together. Some countries are opened up and back to normal (or as close to normal as they cautiously can be). Meanwhile, here we are in Wisconsin with people testing positive more and more each day. More people are getting sick, and sadly, more people are passing away than most areas of the country. When you look at the map of hot spots, Wisconsin is bright red! What can be done? Wear a mask if you go out in public, and stay home if you can. It’s pretty simple actually.

Think of the Campers with Compromised Immune Systems

You may have heard that we cancelled camp for the summer – it was one of the most difficult and awful decisions we have had to make. All of us that work at camp do so because…well, we LOVE camp. We love when camp is full of happy campers having the time of their lives in the pool and singing songs around the campfire. Taking long rides on the tractor wagons. Many of our campers have compromised immune systems and could get very sick if they came in contact with the virus. We knew we wouldn’t be able to follow the social distancing guidelines and make sure everyone was safe in places like the pool or tractor wagons while at camp. We definitely knew we couldn’t control what anyone did outside of camp, so we decided to cancel to keep everyone healthy.

Moving Forward

Now it is October and the virus is still spreading rampantly in Wisconsin. We are committed to doing what we love and started offering camp on the weekends again. As we rethink everything we do at camp to keep our campers and staff members safe while they’re here, our biggest concern continues to be what happens to our campers and staff while they aren’t at camp. Who are they coming in contact with? Is everyone they are around wearing masks when in public areas? Is everyone we, as staff, come in contact with getting tested and quarantining when needed?

Wear a mask!

This brings me to my plea. Wear a mask! It really isn’t difficult, and they really aren’t that expensive. There are disposable ones you can just wear once and throw away. Now you can even get cool masks from many of your favorite retailers representing sports teams or other things you love. They are the new, cool t-shirt, if you ask me. Some of us have a mask that grandma made out of one of grandpa’s old shirts – cool! Check out the CDC website if you want to review guidelines or have questions. We’ve been hearing about this for a while. By now wearing a mask should be a common thing, but strangely and sadly it isn’t.

Why the plea?

To be honest, I am not afraid of getting COVID-19. I am fairly healthy, and those I live with and around are all healthy. What I am afraid of is bringing this deadly virus to our camp, and passing it along to one of our campers. It would take just one case and we’d have to close again. And it isn’t even about us. The hard truth is that someone could die because someone brought the virus to camp. It is that simple. While you who are reading this may be thinking “I don’t work at camp, it doesn’t affect me and I don’t need to wear a mask,” you know what? You may come in contact with one of us who does work at camp! Or maybe someone who works at a day services program, a group home or nursing home, a hospital, or someone who lives with loved ones with compromised immune systems – the list could go on. Out of respect for all of us who just want to do our jobs and provide the services we love providing – please, wear the mask.

In camp spirit,

Carissa

Be Aware of Tickborne Diseases in Wisconsin A message from Dr. Cornell

With the summer months comes the eagerness to be outside and enjoy outdoor activities. This is especially true now with the COVID-19 pandemic and having been cooped up in the house for several months. However, we must remember that there are other diseases that we can contract outdoors.

The most common disease is Lyme’s Disease. But they also can carry anaplasmosis and babeosis. Lyme’s disease and anaplasmosis are caused by bacteria. Babeosis is caused by a small parasite. These bacteria and parasites are transferred to humans and pets through the tick bite.

Click here to read the full article from Dr. Cornell!

Be Aware of Heat Related Illnesses A PSA from Dr. Cornell!

Heat Related Illness

People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies cannot properly cool themselves by sweating. Sweating is the body’s natural air conditioning, but when a person’s body temperature rises rapidly, sweating just isn’t enough. Heat-related illnesses can be serious and life threatening. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs, and can cause disability and even death. Heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable. Heat Stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It happens when the body’s temperature rises quickly and the body cannot cool down. Heat Stroke can cause permanent disability and death.

Heat Exhaustion is a milder type of heat – related illness. It usually develops after a number of days in high temperature weather and not drinking enough fluids.

Heat Cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during demanding activity. Sweating reduces the body’s salt and moisture and can cause painful cramps, usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion. Because heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable, people need to know who is at greatest risk and what actions can be taken.

Who is at risk? Those at highest risk include the elderly, the very young, people with mental illness and people with chronic diseases. However, even young and healthy individuals can succumb to heat if they participate in demanding physical activities during hot weather. Other conditions that can increase your risk for heat-related illness include obesity, fever, dehydration, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug or alcohol abuse.

How to Prevent Heat-Related Illness

Here’s how you can protect yourself from heat related illnesses:
  • Drink plenty of non-carbonated liquids like water or electrolyte-enriched liquids to replace fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Avoid liquids that have alcohol, caffeine or lots of sugar because they will speed up fluid loss.
  • Stay in air-conditioned areas such as malls, libraries, movie theatres and community centers. Even a few hours can cool your body’s temperature.
  • If you feel very hot, cool off by taking a cool bath or shower. Opening a window or using a fan may not prevent heat-related illnesses.
  • Do not cool children in alcohol baths. Cool, plain water baths or moist towels work best.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, such as cotton, so sweat can evaporate.
  • NEVER leave anyone in closed, parked cars during hot weather. That includes all pets.
  • Do not bundle babies in blankets or heavy clothing. Infants do not tolerate heat well because their sweat glands are not fully developed. If you must be in the heat, here are some things you should do:
    • Drink plenty of liquids such as water, sports drinks but no alcohol. Limit physical activity to early morning and evening. Avoid physical activity or exercise between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. – typically the hottest part of the day.
    • Wear a wide-brimmed, vented hat or use an umbrella because your head absorbs heat easily.
    • Put on sunglasses and sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
    • Rest often in shady areas.

Warning Signs of Heat Stroke

Signs of heat stroke vary but may include the following:
  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F, orally)
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness

What to do for Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. If you see someone with these warning signs have someone call 911 for immediate medical assistance and begin cooling the victim:
  • Get the victim to a shady area.
  • Cool the victim quickly using whatever you can – put them in a tub or shower of cold water; spray them with cold water from a garden hose; sponge them with cold water.
  • Monitor body temperature, and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102°F.
  • If there is vomiting, make sure the airway remains open by turning the victim on his or her side.
  • Do not give the victim fluids to drink.
  • Get medical assistance as soon as possible.

Heat Exhaustion

This is the body’s response to losing a lot water and salt that’s in sweat. People most likely to get heat exhaustion are the elderly, people with high blood pressure, and people working or exercising in a hot environment. Warning signs of heat exhaustion include:
  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Fainting
Also, the skin may be cool and moist. The victim’s pulse will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may develop into heat stroke.

What to do for Heat Exhaustion

Seek medical attention immediately (call 911) if the symptoms are severe or the victim has heart problems or high blood pressure. Otherwise, cool off the victim, and seek medical attention if the symptoms worsen or last longer than one (1) hour. The victim can cool off by doing the following:
  • Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages.
  • Rest in a cool or air-conditioned place.
  • Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath.
  • Put on lightweight clothing. Heat Cramps Heat cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during demanding activity. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion.

What to do for Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are muscle spasms and pain that occur during heavy sweating during intense exercise. If medical attention is not necessary, take these steps:
  • Stop all activity, and sit quietly in a cool place. Remove unnecessary clothing i.e. jackets, sweaters etc.
  • Drink water, clear juice or a sports beverage.
  • Do not return to demanding activity for a few hours after the cramps have stopped. Further activity could lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  • Seek medical attention (call 911) for heat cramps if they do not subside within an hour or if the person has heart problems or is on a low-sodium (salt restricted) diet.

Sunburn

  • Painful, red, and warm skin
  • Blisters on the skin
How to treat a sunburn:
  • Stay out of the sun until your sunburn heals
  • Put cool cloths on sunburned areas or take a cool bath
  • Put moisturizing lotion on sunburned areas
  • Do not break the blisters. If the blisters become more inflamed suggesting an infection seek medical care immediately or if a fever develops. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be used for the discomfort. Ice packs may also give relief from the pain. Be sure to put a towel between the burn and the ice pack.

Heat Rash

  • Red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin (usually on the neck, chest, groin, or in elbow creases) blisters
  • Stay in a cool, dry place
  • Keep the rash dry
  • Use powder (like baby powder) to soothe the rash

Sunscreen

Sunscreen needs to be applied approximately 20 minutes before going out in the sun. Use a sunscreen that is at least a SPF 30. It needs to be re-applied about every two hours especially if swimming or sweating a lot. Also wearing a hat and sun shirt also helps prevent sunburn.

When applying both insect repellent and sunscreen, apply the sunscreen first. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends applying sunscreen before insect repellent, and letting the sunscreen fully absorb into the skin for 10 minutes before putting on insect repellent. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every couple of hours to remain effective. Yet insect repellent only needs to be reapplied every three to six hours, depending on the product’s strength.

Source of material: CDC (Center for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization)

Social Stories Using social stories to explain 2020 summer camp.

With the announcement of cancelled summer camp sessions, we realize this may be difficult for some campers to comprehend. They may feel “Why me?” or “Why is our camp impacted?”. There have probably been lots of questions so we have created social stories (one for each camp) as a source for those who may be struggling with the news. Choose your camp below, where indicated insert your camper’s picture and name if desired, and share the story!

CAMP WAWBEEK CAMPERS    or   RESPITE CAMP CAMPERS

COVID-19 & Summer Camp Updates What's happening with summer camp and how you can prepare!

Dear Camp Friends,

We have been intentionally waiting to make any decisions about our summer sessions, due to the Covid19 pandemic. The longer we wait, the more information we have so we can make informed, solid plans. Please know that we want to have camp, and are fully aware how much YOU may need camp right now. This is why we are waiting and haven’t cancelled the entire summer; we want to have camp if even for a few weeks.

There are many things we need to consider, from staffing (many of our counselors are from other states and even other countries, will we have enough staff to work at camp?) to the cleaning and disinfecting that will have to be done after every single activity, to obtaining protective equipment for all of our staff, to handling mealtimes, etc. The CDC is expected to release guidelines for summer camps in the near future, this may alter our plans, as well.

What we know right now:

We will not be opening camp at all until at least July. As of today, May 5, staff would report on July 5, with campers able to attend sessions beginning July 12.

Camp Wawbeek and Respite Camp will be adhering to state guidelines concerning group sizes, meaning we will most likely have a group of campers and staff members no larger than 50. All staff members will be required, and campers encouraged, to wear face masks.

When our camps open, we will be doing things differently. We most likely will NOT be opening the pool or the ropes course. Because there is potential for so many tourists in Wisconsin Dells, we will NOT be offering town trips, Duck Boat tours, Tommy Bartlett, bowling, and other trips we have taken into town in the past.

We expect to make a more concrete decision on our summer schedule in mid-May. All of the plans throughout the state and country are based on data, not  on dates, so things can change very quickly.

What can you be doing now?

Is camp right for you…right now? Please contact your primary healthcare provider to see if camp is right for you! Any campers or staff members with compromised immune systems or respiratory issues are strongly discouraged from attending camp this summer.

If you need to cancel: Please contact our office right away to cancel your session if you are choosing not to attend this summer.

Getting your physical for camp: We are aware that many healthcare facilities are not open for general physicals at this time. If your camp physical was done within the past 18 months, you will be allowed to attend camp.

Please choose only one session at this time. If you are currently signed up for two sessions between July 12 and August 9, please cancel one session so that other campers who had their session cancelled in June will be able to attend. If you don’t choose a session to cancel, the camp directors will choose for you.

Please prepare your campers for camp to be different! We are well aware that many campers have the routine of camp in their blood, and that is what they look forward to. We are preparing social stories that will be available on our website for you to use in advance. You can be helping a great deal to make this change a smooth one.

Practice wearing face masks at home. There are campers who will hate doing this; if you start wearing them at home for short amounts of time, they may be more inclined to do so at camp. Also, please prepare your campers to be ready to see their camp counselors and other staff members at camp wearing masks.

Camp Billing

Renita Link, Billing Specialist, will be contacting your funding sources to inform them of this change. Please call 608.237.1372 or email her at rlink@eastersealswisconsin.com if you have any billing questions.

We miss you, but safety comes first!

Know that we miss all of our camp friends dearly, and can’t wait to see you at camp! We will be continuously evaluating the status of this situation, and will keep you informed if there will be other changes. Please refer to the State of Wisconsin, Department of Health Services website for more information: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/outbreaks/index.htm.

In camp spirit,

Carissa

We Are In This Together! A note from the director.

Dear Friends,   Sunny days make me miss camp the most! As I have taken on different roles at camp, I find my time to actually work at camp and take part in the magic has gotten less…but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it the same. Being able to spend time at camp makes me work harder behind the scenes to make sure our staff and facilities have what they need to make camp the best it can be for all of you.

Brighter Days are Ahead

We all know these are uncertain times, and we are right there with you in the feelings of uncertainty. WE ARE PLANNING FOR ALL OF OUR SUMMER SESSIONS, for right now. We are also thinking of every contingency plan and scenario, so that we can make camp happen in a different way, if needed. We are waiting to see what our Governor says on April 24th and will be following any mitigation and suggestions from the DHS. We are also continuously monitoring the CDC guidelines, as they are starting to have guidelines for camps. Continue readingWe Are In This Together! A note from the director.

Preparing for Your First Time at Camp

Make it a Smooth Transition

Sending a loved one to camp for the first time can be an overwhelming experience, especially when your loved one has differing needs than their typically developing peers. Here at Easterseals Wisconsin Camps, we want to help make that transition into camp as smooth as possible! Camp is a place where people of all ages and abilities foster relationships, find independence, and enjoy recreation with peers. Camp also provides a much-needed respite for families and caregivers who have loved ones with a disability. Continue reading “Preparing for Your First Time at Camp”

Covid-19 cancellation updates Camp Weekends & Events

In light of recommended guidelines to help contain COVID-19 (coronavirus), and after consulting our Camp medical advisor, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), Easterseals Wisconsin has cancelled the following camp sessions and events:

  • April 17-19: Camp Wawbeek session
  • April 24-26: Respite Camp session
  • May 1-3: Veterans Family Camp weekend
  • May 9: Camp Clean-Up Day — But there are still ways you can help! Click here for details.
This is a fluid situation which we will be diligently monitoring. Our #1 priority is the safety and health of our campers, staff, volunteers, and rental groups. Please refer to our Covid-19 webpage, as we will keep information updated.