OSWEGO — Summer is finally here. People are anxious to get outside to enjoy the warm weather and abundant sunshine. For youth in Oswego County one of the destinations for summer fun is Camp Hollis.
Located on the shore of Lake Ontario in Oswego Town, Camp Hollis offers youth an abundance of outdoor activities. The grounds include a swimming pool, basketball court, playground, nature trails, a pavilion and plenty of green space for games.
“Hundreds of youth visit Camp Hollis over the summer months and they spend hours outside every day,” said Coordinator of Community Health for Oswego County Opportunities, Leanna Cleveland. “When they are playing in the park they not paying attention to how much exposure they have to the sun. Even on cloudy or hazy days unseen ultraviolet sun rays can cause unexpected sunburn and skin damage. Many do not realize the amount of lasting damage sunburn has on their skin. Experiencing sunburns as a child can lead to skin cancer later in life.”
OCO’s Cancer Prevention in Action program focuses on educating community members on what they can do to prevent cancer. “We want children and their families to enjoy the summer months but understand the importance of sun safety,” said Cleveland. “With everything there is to do at Camp Hollis we felt it excellent opportunity to establish a sun safety policy to help protect its visitors.”
Cleveland reached out to Camp Hollis Director and Coordinator of Recreation and Youth Development Zach Grulich to discuss the possibility of implementing a sun safety policy at Camp Hollis as well as other parks and camps in Oswego County.
“I met with Zach and Executive Director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau Brian Chetney to create the policy,” said Cleveland. “We did some research on the risk of sun exposure and the lasting damage that sunburn has on your skin and then determined what we could do to educate and promote sun safety to both visitors and staff at Camp Hollis,”
Through signage and verbal reminders visitors are encouraged to follow the following sun safety tips:
- Wear sunglasses that protect 100% of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays;
- Seek shade when needed;
- Wear full brimmed hats;
- Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants when exposed to long periods of sun;
- Apply full-spectrum (UVA & UVB) sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater) to exposed skin 30 minutes before going outside in the sun;
- Play in shaded areas, when practical; and
- Seek shade when outside in the sun
With most youth wearing T-shirts and shorts in the summer sunscreen is essential to preventing sunburn. To ensure that visitors and staff have access to sunscreen OCO’s Cancer Prevention in Action program presented Camp Hollis with two portable sunscreen dispensers and will supply the camp with sunscreen throughout the summer.
“Sunscreen dispensers are a perfect complement to our sun safety policy,” said Grulich. “Thanks to our collaboration with OCO’s Cancer Prevention in Action program we are able to have sunscreen accessible free of charge. We are committed to promoting sun safe practices to our visitors and staff and are encouraging them to practice sun safety while participating in outdoor activities. Sunscreen will be available free of charge whenever needed, and with the dispensers being portable we can position them in high traffic areas for easy access.”
Grulich added that the sunscreen dispenses arrived just in time for the opening of Camp Hollis’ day camp program. Day camp is now available for campers ages six-14, daily from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (extended care option from 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m.), Monday - Friday. The cost for day camp is $100 for the week ($125 for extended care) and includes daily lunch and snack. For more information on the Camp Hollis day camp call 315-343-3241.
“I appreciate the willingness of Brian and the Oswego County Parks and Recreation Department to collaborate with us in establishing a sun safety policy,” said Cleveland. “The Cancer Prevention in Action program focuses on policies that serve as catalysts for environmental changes. Sun safety is paramount in preventing skin cancer and melanoma and we are happy to be partnering with Oswego County on its sun safety policy and providing them with dispensers and sunscreen to help protect visitors and staff at its parks.”
Oswego County Opportunities is a subcontractor of the St. Lawrence Health Initiative to deliver the Cancer Prevention in Action grant locally in Oswego County. To learn more about the Cancer Prevention in Action Program, which is supported with funds from the state of New York, visit takeactionagainstcancer.com.
OCO provides 50-plus services that people can access safely and securely. Check their website for updates on program schedules and community resources to help people get through this difficult time: https://www.oco.org/covid-19-updates Call the hotline 1-877-342-7618 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday for assistance with basic needs. -OCOHere4You