Philadelphia-area summer camps coping with the heat

PHILADELPHIA - July 18, 2012

At the YMCA in South Philadelphia, camp staff were keeping a close eye on youngsters under the blistering conditions.

Often children do not recognize the symptoms of heat related illnesses, so it's important that staff members can.

"All the counselors are first aid and CPR-certified," said staffer Kellan White. "With that they learn the signs of dehydration and over-heating. And so they keep an eye on the kids. At this point they know all their kids, so you can tell when your kid is acting a little different than he normally does."

The YMCA has a system in place when temperatures soar. Outdoor activities are limited to the morning and afternoons are spent in the gym or pool indoors.

"At the YMCA once it's above 92 degrees we have to bring the kids back in, per DPW regulations. So what we have here is a schedule we designed just for hot days," said White.

On the Widener University campus in Chester, Pa., youth soccer camps are underway.

Temperatures on the turf can be 10-20 degrees hotter than in other places. Hydration is key.

Trainer Keith Hnilicka, or 'Doc' as he is known, is in charge of making sure campers stay safe.

"On a day like today we are looking for any signs of heat exhaustion: weakness, tiredness, headache, dizziness," said Hnilicka.

And of course the water boy was a popular guy at this camp Wednesday. The camp is also providing towels soaked in ice and cold water. The campers put them on their heads to try and beat the heat.

The staff also makes sure campers get more frequent breaks and emphasize quality hydration.

"One gulp, one ounce," said Hnilicka. "You have to have a minimum of 8 gulps on very break."

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