What Happens When It Rains?
If you are in the forest while it's raining, does that make it a rain forest?
With the crazy weather we have been having in Central New York lately, it has had me thinking about one of the most common questions we get in the days leading up to a child’s week at camp. This time of year, I get lots of questions about the kinds of activities we have at camp, bus routes, how staff are hired and trained, and if Camp Talooli is a good fit for their child. However, in the summertime I often get more phone calls from slightly panicked parents asking, “What do you do if it rains,” after they have looked at the weather forecast for their child’s camp week and seen a potential for precipitation. So, here is my answer…
If it is raining lightly outside:
When it is raining lightly, we continue camp activities as usual. Most of our activities are not affected by a little rain, aside from potentially slippery surfaces, which we monitor. Jeff has a couple of catch phrases for days like this, including:
- “If you go swimming in the rain, do you get more wet!?” To which the campers shout, “No!”
- “If you are in the forest while it’s raining, does that make it a rainforest?”
While we encourage campers to bring rain gear and stay dry when they can, the truth is that most campers are unaffected by a little bit of rain and enjoy being out in it.
When it’s raining harder and there is some thunder & lightning:
On days when it is raining harder and we have some thunder and lightning, we work harder at keeping kids dry and out of the weather. However, our activity schedule remains the same so the program directors adjust the
activities. All the program areas have designated indoor/covered spaces to go to and here are some examples of how they adjust:
- Swimming: Lifeguards carefully monitor weather to ensure good visibility and safety. Swimming is permitted during light rain and at times when there are breaks in the rain. They follow specific protocol to wait 30-minutes after thunder is heard before campers can reenter the water. During extended periods of thunder or rain, lifeguards take campers to an inside location to play games, do crafts, and watch movies.
- Boating: Like swimming, the Boating Director monitors the weather and does not permit boating when rain impedes visibility or following thunder. When rain is light or intermittent, boating may be limited to half of the lake. Boating also has an assigned indoor space to use for games and activities.
- Art: The Art program is primarily run out of the Art Barn, therefore activities resume as usual.
- Nature: Some nature activities may need to be changed/postponed during thunder (e.g. going to the bog, using the seine net to catch fish). However, the Nature Director has many activities and games that can done in and around the Nature Den (covered building) while it’s raining.
- Challenge Course: All the activities at the ropes course can be done during light rain, however, the Challenge Course Director may limit certain elements during heavier rain when they become slippery. The director also listens for thunder and will remove campers from the wooded course when thunder and lightning become a concern. When this happens, she leads team building games and ice breakers on our covered stage.
What happens during extreme weather situations and emergencies?
Camp Talooli has specific emergency action plans for potential weather crises, and the entire staff is trained in these plans during staff training. In the event of an emergency administration can quickly communicate the plan to the entire staff. The whole camp will be directed indoors and we will have inside activities planned, while we monitor the storm and emotional well-being of campers. We also do our best to keep families updated on our safety plan, by posting on social media.