OCO News

Camp Bristol and OCO Cancer Prevention Program Promoting Sun Safety

Oswego County’s newest residential youth camp, the New York Elks Camp Bristol, will be opening to campers in August – and Oswego County Opportunities is teaming up to help keep those campers safely having fun in the sun!


Located at 54 Elks Way in West Monroe, the New York Elks Camp Bristol, formerly Camp Near Wilderness, will offer an abundance of outdoor activities and an adventure-based learning and recreational experience for youth ages 10 through 13.


Youth at summer camps spend hours outside every day,” said Christina Wallace, program advocate with Oswego County Opportunities Cancer Prevention Services.

“While campers are enjoying the many outdoor activities at Camp Bristol they may not be paying attention to how much exposure they have to the sun. Exposure to sunlight is one of the contributing factors to developing skin cancer. Sunburns in childhood significantly increase the risk of developing malignant melanoma later in life. 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. Limiting exposure to sunlight in children and teens is the best defense against skin cancer,” she explained.


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 Wallace. “With everything there is to do at Camp Bristol we felt it was an excellent opportunity to establish a sun safety policy that will help protect its visitors.”



As part of the policy all outdoor staff and volunteers will receive skin cancer prevention and sun safety training to practice sun safety behaviors while on the job and be role models for use of sun-protective equipment. Additionally, Camp Bristol will post the Environmental Protection Agency’s UV Index daily for employees.


Visitors to Camp Bristol will be encouraged to practice 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

– 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 Bristol with portable sunscreen dispensers and sunscreen, drawstring backpacks to carry personal sun safety supplies, and a shade sail for its waterfront area.


“We greatly appreciate the assistance we received from OCO in establishing our sun safety policy and its generous donation to help get the policy underway,” said Camp Bristol Board of Directors President Michael Bloss. “The topic of sun safety continues to be an important aspect of general wellness throughout one’s lifetime, and whatever we can do to instill that awareness in our campers and their families is in everyone’s best interest.”

Pictured here from left are Camp Bristol Board Member Scott Hirst, Board President Michael Bloss, OCO Program Advocate Christina Wallace, and Board Members Robert Wheeler and Mel Oliveira. OCO provided drawstring backpacks for campers, sunscreen dispensers, and a shade sail for Camp Bristol’s waterfront area.


“Sun safety is paramount in preventing skin cancer and melanoma,” said OCO Coordinator of Community Health Leanna Cleveland. “OCO’s Cancer Prevention in Action program focuses on policies that serve as catalysts for environmental changes.

I appreciate the willingness of Michael and the board of directors to collaborate with us and we are happy to be partnering with Camp Bristol in establishing a sun safety policy to help protect visitors and staff at its park.”


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, please visit takeactionagainstcancer.com.

Translate »