NewsCovering Kentucky


Beating the Heat: Parents, camp directors juggling outdoor activities

Posted at 5:00 PM, Jun 21, 2024

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — With temperatures expected to climb to their highest point of the season so far, the city’s splash pads and pools figure to be very busy places over the next several days. We arrived at the Whitaker YMCA camp just as the campers were about to hit the splash pad.

“It’s like a big sprinkler, like when we would go out and play in the sprinkler as kids,” said Dana Ensley.

Ensley has two at-risk groups at her facility and needs to be aware of the signs when the heat gets this intense, especially as the kids aren’t going to monitor themselves.

“Red face, or just lethargic. They might become irritable. Those are the things we are looking for, and cramps can be caused by heat exhaustion as well,” Ensley explained. “We take a lot of proactive steps so it doesn’t get to that stage,” she added.

Being in the water can also provide a false sense of security as it pertains the sun and heat. You might think it’s keeping you cool, and your body temperature from overheating, but water attracts the sun.

“Pools, lakes, ponds, streams you still have to make sure you’re hydrating even if you feel cool. As adults, limit caffeine and limit alcohol intake too,” Ensley said.

The new splash pad at Charles Young Park is also a popular spot. It’s for the really little kids, and canopies cover most of that pad.

“This is our new favorite splash pad,” Savannah Guthrie said as her two-year-old daughter splashed around. “It’s not too big as she’s just getting introduced to the water,” she added.

Ensley is running a camp for older kids who love the water and would be in it all day if permitted. She does need to make sure the kids are getting out of this camp what they came for, but intense heat does make it a juggling act.

“The parents love when they come home dirty and tired, so we aim to do that every day,” Ensley said.

Getting them to that point before they get sun burned and sick is the trick.

“We rotate them inside and depending on the heat index there is a limit when the kids would have to stay inside throughout the day,” Ensley added.