Oco News

Camp Hollis and Camp Zerbe make Sun Safety a Priority

Sun Safety Camp

OCO’s Cancer Prevention in Action program (CPiA) has recognized the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau County Parks and Recreation department as a “Community Champion” for its efforts to raise awareness of skin cancer and the importance of sun safety.

With the safety of the children, staff, and visitors at the forefront of its parks, Oswego City- County Youth Bureau Parks and Recreation partnered with the Cancer Prevention in Action program last year to implement sun safety policies at Camp Hollis and Camp Zerbe. With the positive response the policies received sun safety will again be a priority at both camps.

Pictured here, from left, are Oswego County Coordinator of Recreation and Youth Development Zach Grulich, Coordinator of Community Health for Oswego County Opportunities Leanna Cleveland, and Executive Director at Oswego CityCounty Youth Bureau Brian Chetney.

“Our staffs are very appreciative of our emphasis on sun safety,” said Grulich. “Sun safety can easily be overlooked. You may not think about how long you have been in the sun and how easy it is to get sunburned. Thanks to our partnership with the Cancer Prevention in Action program we have sunscreen dispensers on site to help remind campers, visitors, and staff of the importance of sun safety and provide them with the opportunity to apply sunscreen, free of charge, whenever needed. We want to ensure that our staff members are safe and have everything they need to do their jobs successfully and give the campers a great summer camp experience. That includes sun safety and access to free sunscreen.”

Camp Hollis will be welcoming many children this summer and is placing an emphasis on engaging in sun safety practices “Hundreds of youth will be visiting Camp Hollis this summer and will spend several hours outside every day,” said Cleveland. “We want children to enjoy the summer months but understand the importance of sun safety. When children are playing in the park they’re 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.”

With Camp Zerbe being a popular site for families and adults, the Cancer Prevention in Action program provided the camp with sunscreen dispensers in 2020 that will keep Camp Zerbe supplied with sunscreen all summer long in 2021. The portable dispensers ensure that visitors and staff at Camp Zerbe will have access to sunscreen free of charge whenever needed.

In addition to sunscreen dispensers, signage and verbal reminders will encourage visitors to follow other sun safety tips such as:

  • 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

“We appreciate that Oswego City- County Youth Bureau Parks and Recreation department and Executive Director Brian Chetney chose to partner with us and implement the sun safety policies at Camp Hollis and Camp Zerbe. Their efforts at Camp Hollis and Camp Zerbe have made the Oswego County Parks and Recreation Department a true Community Champion of the Cancer Prevention in Action program,” added Cleveland.

Camp Hollis opens their first full week of camp starting June 27. Camp Hollis will also be available for rentals. Out of abundance of concern for its campers and visitors, Camp Hollis will adhere to all New York State COVID-19 guidelines. For more information on Camp Hollis, including registration for day camp and overnight camping, visit the Camp Hollis website at youthbureau.oswegocounty.com/parks_recreation/camp_hollis/index.php.

Located at 253 State Route 104 in Williamstown Camp Zerbe is 542-acre park that features an interpretive nature center, a pavilion, a playground, a picnic area, and a lodge. Camp Zerbe is open to the public daily from dawn to dusk. “There’s a lot to do at Camp Zerbe,” said Grulich. “People visit Camp Zerbe to enjoy the outdoors. Whether it’s to have a picnic with family and friends, explore our nature trails, fish, canoe or kayak in Lake Lorraine, attend an event in the Patrick ‘Paco’ Malone Meeting Center, or just enjoy a relaxing day in the sun. It’s the perfect spot to spend a summer’s day.”

To reserve the meeting center, pavilion or lodge at Camp Zerbe call the Oswego County Parks and Recreation Department at 315-349-3450.

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.

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