Preparing Your Camper
Camp Chief Ouray is tucked away in the picturesque Rocky Mountains. We sit at an elevation of 8,700 feet above sea level, with 360-degree mountain vistas. While it may be beautiful, spending time at altitude can come with challenges. Things like altitude sickness, sun exposure and weather changes are all common experiences here in the Rockies. So, let’s look at these items and see what you can do to help your child acclimate to the climate and conditions of our elevation.
Altitude sickness is generally caused by thin air and not enough water. Symptoms we commonly see are nausea, bloody noses, headache, and in some cases vomiting. We have a particularly dry climate and recommend campers bring two water bottles that they can fill at different times of the day to help stay hydrated. We also suggest having your child drink plenty of water the week before camp, to start properly hydrating their bodies ahead of time.
What you can do: have your camper(s) start drinking a full water bottle before and after lunch at home the week before camp. This will help their bodies acclimate better to our environment.
Sun exposure manifest as sunburn. We ask parents to pack sunscreen so we can ensure that each camper puts it on. Spray sunscreen is easy to use and counselors can spray down the campers then ask them to rub it in. If we have lotion sunscreen, we will still make sure they put it on, but then ask other campers to help each other get the hard to reach places.
What you can do: ensure you pack enough that it can be reapplied 2-3 times per day. Also a hat and sunglasses will help cut down on fatigue over a long, sunny day.
Our location does get its share of rain, typically in the afternoon. But beyond weather patterns, we also see some big changes in temperature, sometimes 20-30 degrees between mid-day and midnight.
What you can do: think in layers. Shorts are great, but having sweatpants to put over them helps when the sun starts setting will help a lot. T-shirts can be fun, but a light jacket or sweatshirt helps in the morning and evening with the lower temperatures at those times. Our staff will make sure your camper has what they need for the day in their bags, and even pack with them (“everyone show me your water bottles, great, put them in your bags”), but having names on items never hurts either.
In the end, we want each camper to have an experience that is great. These little steps will help set your child up for success in our mountain environment, which in turn makes the counselors jobs easier in watching over the cabin. Do you know if your child is ready for camp? Check out this article from Colorado Parent that features helpful information from CCO.
-Michael Ohl, Camp Chief Ouray Executive