Kenzie Rhoads: Hey. This is Kenzie Rhoads with Camp Loughridge sitting in with Michael Staires our programs director for our summer camps Tulsa.
Michael Staires: Are we going to talk about summer camps Tulsa today?
Kenzie: I think we are going to talk about summer camps Tulsa. If that’s okay with you. Wedding Venues Tulsa
Michael: It’s fine with me.
Kenzie: We’re going to talk a little bit about safety at Camp Loughridge Tulsa Oklahoma, you never know what you’re going to encounter. Anything from a tornado to a flood. [laughs]
Michael: Right. Yes. You think about it we’ve got about a hundred and fifty campers that come during the week. We’ve got about 70 high school and college age kids. We’ve got a hundred eighty acres with three legs. We’ve got woods with snakes and we’ve got bugs and all kinds of things. What could go wrong? I mean and then you add the Oklahoma weather on top of that, yes it’s an easy thing.
Kenzie: Yes. Well, let’s start there because I know we had a pretty big tornado warning last summer. What was your plan there, what happened?
Michael: Well, we do have a — we go over a lot of this training summer staff training where what do we do if there’s a fire. What do we do if there’s a tornado. What do we do if we realize that a camper is missing. We go over all of these and we train to that so that procedures are in place and we have a plan on what we would do in those eventualities. Now oftentimes, tornadoes happen in the late afternoon after kids have already gone home but we still train just in case and yes, last year it was right about lunchtime and there was a tornado seen on radar pretty close to camp.
Well, at Camp Loughridge, every single bathroom facility at camp is a storm shelter. It’s been reinforced and it’s approved as a storm shelter. The policy is just get the kids into the bathrooms and every tribe, which is what we call the groups of campers with their counselor, every tribe is instructed to go to the bathroom that’s closest to them. We have as you could imagine, we’ve got bathrooms scattered throughout the campgrounds and you’re never very far from one. This was not hard. Every counselor is connected with a walkie-talkie. It was easy to get the word out to get to a bathroom facility. Wedding Venues Tulsa
Now it’s especially easy last summer because the kids had already come into the dining room to have lunch and the bathroom facilities are inside that dining-room building. We just were able to get the boys all in the boys bathroom and the girls all in the girls bathroom and they wrote out the the main part of the storm there. Then when the warnings were lifted, it was still lots of rain and hail and it was not safe to go back outside. We were in the dining room which is a beautiful facility where Loughridge also has wedding reception. It was fully equipped with a big screen and a DVD player. They watched the Disney movie and while the storm rolled through after the severity wore off but it was still too — there was some lightning in the area and things like that.
We have — this is a mini summer camps Tulsa have the same kind of policy but if you hear lightning or hear thunder or see lightning, kids got to come out of the pool, no hiking. You’re getting under some kind of cover somewhere that’s just our policy. We also do during usually Mondays, so it’s early in the week, we’ll do a practice fire drill so that all the kids know where they’re supposed to go and their counselors will lead them and that they all line up and we do a head count to make sure everybody’s safe and everybody’s there.
I think obviously a parent wants their child to have a good time. Have a great time at camp, do a lot of fun activities, maybe meet God in a special way. But the bottom line is they want to pick up there child safely and securely and that the child had a good experience. We put a lot of emphasis in our training on how we handle some of these surprise events that you never know if it’s going to come or not but you have to be ready. Wedding Venues Tulsa
Kenzie: Yes. I guess that’s my next question is if I’m a parent sending my six year old to camp for a week, just how do you ensure that the kids are safe and and I know that camp Loughridge is a private property and that maybe it requires gates to be closed anything like that?
Michael: Yes, we have what’s called a closed campus. There are ways with electronic gates over our property for those gates to be closed during the day when kids are there. Certainly we have food service deliveries and we have from time to time visitors that come out. There are ways for people to get onto the property but our counselors are all trained during the middle of the day if they see a car drive by on a road, that car’s not supposed to be there because not only do we have gates but we have during the central — for the central part of camp we actually set up barriers in the road.
If they see a car it means that, that car has gone through the gate and gone around a barrier to get where they are. That car needs to be approached and asked who they are and what they’re doing on the campgrounds. We have policies in place if a mom or dad or grandparent needs to come early to pick up their child, we have a whole process that they go through to pick up their child. We also are very very intentional about the procedure. You think about we have a hundred and fifty kids a week and you’ve got to make sure every one of those kids gets in the right car at the end of the day. Just because of the way things are in our world today not everyone is watching out for their health and safety and we have a whole procedure in place that ensures that kids get in the car they’re supposed to get into and they don’t get in a car that they’re not supposed to get into. Wedding Venues Tulsa
Kenzie: Okay. That’s great. Those kids definitely need advocates. Oklahoma summers are hot obviously and when you’re sending your kid to a summer camp Tulsa, how do you keep the kids cooled down?
Michael: Yes. One of the ways that we could do that is we could just keep him inside a lot but that kind of defeats the purpose of being in camp. We stay outside as much as we can. We have misters around camp where kind of homemade misters with garden hoses that are strung between two trees or two light poles that are perforated so that they spray out water and the kids are all, the tribes will hike through those misters to get them soak down good. Sometimes even when it’s not their particular tribe swim time, they’ll hike past the swimming pool and just do a quick dunk in the pool just to get cooled off.
All around camp, there are water stations and every kid has a water bottle and so they fill their water bottles. We’d really drill that into them, don’t forget to hydrate.That’s a big deal. Then lunch time, everybody comes inside the dining room and it is air-conditioned and we are in there for an hour. Arts and crafts cabin that is air-conditioned as well so they’re going to be inside during that time. Wedding Venues Tulsa
But the old-fashioned way, if your t-shirt is wet your hair is wet and you go sit under a shade tree with a nice breeze, it really does act as kind of a old-fashioned air-conditioned. Does cool you down quite a bit. We have a nurse on staff and all of our current counselors are trained to know what that kind of overheating looks like and so we can easily get kids inside if they need to. We even have a kiddie pool full of ice water if a kid needs to be cooled down rapidly, we can do that as well.
Kenzie: Okay. You mentioned a little bit of counselor training maybe first aid, CPR that kind of thing, is that –
Michael: Yes. We do that. We spend some significant time on that during training camp but the other thing is what? Five miles from two or three emergency clinics in Tulsa hills. That’s our go to. Obviously we’re on the phone with parents or grandparents whoever sent the kids to camp to make sure and really to say we have your child, there’s been an injury, do you want us to bring him to you, do you want to come out here. The parent is in the loop. Yes that’s one of the huge advantages. I’ve worked at camps before that were really pretty remote and you had to do a lot of on hand first aid because it was going to be 30 minutes, 45 minutes, an hour before an ambulance or emergency personnel could get there but it’s just not that way at Loughridge. We’re close enough that we can handle things pretty easily.
Kenzie: Yes. Absolutely. Just touch on real quick food allergies. If someone or someone just has a problem or anything. Is that a common thing? Wedding Venues Tulsa
Michael: Yes. Every single week we have some kids with food allergies and that’s just a simple check off on the medical form and then we know that, that particular child can’t be around peanut oil or whatever the allergy is.
But I will say this, if you’re a parent of a child with a food allergy, you know that there are no guarantees. There’s no one that can guarantee you a hundred percent that your child is going to be safe and not going to be exposed to some of these things. We do expect — we do everything we can, but we do expect parents to take on some of that responsibility if they feel like they need to, and send some of their own food or we’re happy to talk with them about what we would be serving that week. We want the mom and the dad, the grandparent, whatever to be comfortable in our procedures. But most of these people have had to deal with this, with their child, sending their child to school and school lunches and things like that before. We usually have a solution that presents itself.
Kenzie: Okay. The bottom line is that there’s no excuse to not send your kid to camp Loughridge. I’m I right?
Michael: That’s right. It’s one of the best summer camps Tulsa around.
Kenzie: I agree.
Michael: Thank you Mike for your time today.
Kenzie: Thanks Kenzie.